We’re so excited to introduce you to Nova Scotia artist Monika Wright. Monika is based in Halifax and believes that “art has the power to be transformative, to rearrange our vision of the world and create bridges to connect us, to lead us to a greater understanding of the world we share, and those we share it with”. We couldn’t agree more and hope you enjoy getting to know Monika and her abstract art a little more. Let’s dive in!
Halifax Abstract Artist Monika Wright
How would you describe your artistic style?
Most of my art is non-representational abstract, an expression of emotion rather than of a specific object. I also create very abstracted seascapes, wild waves and cosmic skies. But oh, those emotions…they have to come out of me unrestricted by logic and measurements.
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
My inspiration comes from both within and without. I’ll explain. I feel that I’m a conduit, a channel through which the energy of the universe passes, is processed and then spills in full colour and stroke onto the canvas. That’s why the non-representational works are the most powerful. They are pure, uncontrolled energy interpreted by me in the studio.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
That’s easy! The absolute best thing I can do with my art is to evoke a visceral reaction, a spark of emotion that lights up the viewer with a sense of wonder and passion. What is it? What do I feel? What do I see? That’s when I know I’ve created a work of art, not just a painting.
What’s your favourite thing about being an abstract artist?
Freedom. I’ve never been good with rules and dogma. Abstract art lets me do it ‘my way’. Of course, I’m still using my own sense of design and balance. I like the challenge of ‘figuring out’ what will make it work once I get past the initial stage of mark making. When there’s no visual reference like a scene or photo, it’s up to my innate senses to kick in and make it a good work of art.
Why abstract art and not other mediums? Have you always created abstract art or did you start out creating other styles?
I used to paint portraits, very realistic ones, you know, like all of us at an early age. Then I transitioned to photography, which you would think is even more realistic, but in fact I made it abstract with digital transformations. That actually lead me back to painting and that’s when my mind opened to abstraction, to shapes and values, movement and colour.
If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Vibrant, Powerful, Emotive.
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
I came to abstract art through photography. It was photography that opened my mind and allowed an evolution from realism to abstraction. It seems contrary to the inner journey that happens when I paint. The experiences all feed each other, though. They create a richer whole.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
Initially, I wanted to be a writer and travel the world, interpreting what I saw. Then life in the big city took over and it wasn’t until I moved from Toronto to Nova Scotia that I had the opportunity to focus on my creativity. Thank goodness for that!
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
Fearlessness. One must not fear risk taking, and instead be bold and persistent. One must not fear rejection, ‘failure’, and criticism by others or more important oneself.
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
Develop your own unique style. Be original and recognizable. Go ahead and play and learn from others, but make it yours. Stand up tall to stand out.
Do you have any favourite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
I’ve listened to podcasts, watched videos and shows, taken courses, but at the end of the day, there is nothing like experience as a teacher. I learn best by doing. Although I must say, watching “Blown Away”, a glass blowing competition, was pretty fabulous.
What’s your most fulfilling and enjoyable experience as an artist so far?
This is going back a while. I had a follower who wrote to me telling me that she was chronically ill. Seeing my artwork did a better job of carrying her out of her pain than her medication did. Now, that’s intensely meaningful.
Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?
Hopefully, I will continue to evolve and expand my repertoire, but definitely in the direction of abstraction. I want to connect more strongly to that universal energy so that I create firstly from the heart – every time. Being so open that it is totally intuitive, that requires exercise, like a muscle that needs to stay fit.
What do you love most about abstract art?
Do you have any favourite quotes?
“I am the Universe. The Universe is within me.” It’s a message that came to me years ago when I was on a retreat, walking on coals in the middle of a farmer’s field. And no, I was not on drugs. ☺