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The sublime void

Interview with Joana Braguez

Background and art journey:

I graduated in Digital Arts and Multimedia in 2008 from ESAD, Matosinhos, followed by a Master’s degree in Visual Arts Education from the University of Aveiro in 2010. In 2017, I completed my PhD in Contemporary Art at the College of Arts, University of Coimbra. My journey in art has been a blend of academic pursuit and practical experience as a freelance designer and visual artist since 2008. Teaching has also been an integral part of my journey, enriching my practice and allowing me to share my passion for art with others.


A normal day as an artist:

A typical day commences with an early morning review of ongoing projects, ensuring a clear focus for the day ahead. I then dedicate several hours to the creation of new artwork or the refinement of existing pieces. My work sessions are predominantly in the morning, as I find this time most conducive to creativity and productivity. To maintain an uninterrupted workflow, I meticulously prepare all necessary materials beforehand, allowing for a seamless transition into the creative process. To enhance concentration and minimize distractions, I play calming music and turn off my phone, creating a serene environment that fosters deep focus and artistic flow.

Theme and inspiration:

My art explores the interplay of abstract forms and vibrant gradients, reflecting a meticulous research process. Themes often revolve around the sublime void and moments of bliss, capturing fleeting emotions and the dynamic relationships between color, shape, and line. Inspiration comes from nature, personal experiences, and the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Impact on other parts of life:

Art is deeply intertwined with my daily life, influencing my perception and interactions. It encourages mindfulness and a continuous search for beauty in everyday experiences. This creative process fosters resilience and a unique perspective that benefits both personal and professional relationships.


Difficulties and hardships:

Balancing a career in art with personal commitments and my responsibilities as a teacher has been challenging. There were times of financial instability and moments of self-doubt. Combining the demands of teaching with the dedication required for my artistic practice often proved difficult. However, persistence, support from loved ones, and a relentless passion for art have helped me overcome these hurdles. Each challenge has taught valuable lessons and strengthened my resolve, reinforcing my commitment to both my students and my art.


Best experience in the art world:

My best experience was having my work exhibited in a renowned museum  in the city I was born, where it received positive feedback from both critics and peers. This recognition validated years of hard work and fueled my enthusiasm for future projects.


Worst experience in the art world:

As someone who is naturally shy, attending exhibition inaugurations has been particularly challenging and often feels like a bit of a nightmare. The social interactions and the pressure to engage with a large audience can be overwhelming. Despite these difficulties, I have learned to navigate these events by focusing on the positive aspects, such as the opportunity to share my work and connect with others who appreciate art. Each experience has been a learning opportunity, helping me gradually build confidence and improve my ability to handle such situations.


Practical advice for fellow artists:

Stay persistent and adaptable. Embrace both success and failure as part of the learning process. Network with other artists and professionals in the field, and never stop experimenting with new ideas and techniques.


Is the artist life lonely?:

While the creative process can be solitary, it doesn’t have to be lonely. Engaging with the art community through exhibitions, collaborations, and social media can provide valuable connections and support. Balancing solitude with social interaction is key to a fulfilling artist life.


Current work and pcoming events:

Currently, I am working on a new series exploring the dynamic interplay of light, color, and abstract forms. This work continues my exploration of the "sublime void," a theme that has captivated me since my PhD studies began in 2014. The concept of the sublime void remains an endless source of inspiration, and I am uncertain when I will move beyond this theme, as it continues to offer profound creative possibilities.

I am excited to announce that I have three exhibitions scheduled for 2024. These exhibitions will showcase my latest series and provide an opportunity to connect with fellow artists and art enthusiasts. Each event will be a platform to share my artistic journey and engage with a broader audience, further enriching my experience in the art world.


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