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Apollonia Saintclair: Beyond Pleasures

A Parallel Planets piece by Erin Nøir - old account

Parallel Planets presents Apollonia Saintclair
in Beyond Pleasures
Interview by Erin Emocling

Mentioned: the marvel of graphical expressions, monochrome expressions, and contemplating eternity

* * *

Erin Emocling: Hello, Apollonia! Tell us something about yourself as an artist and before you became one.

Apollonia Saintclair: I would rather someone else paint my portrait as an artist. I’m not really sure I’m one, to be honest. The main thing is that I enjoy creating pictures for the pure pleasure of seeing my imagination turn into an image. So, for the viewer, I’m my drawings. This is the only thing that counts. My life outside or before my work isn’t very interesting and I don’t really feel the need to share anything about that.

EE: When/How did your inclination with drawings/illustrations begin?

AS: I have always been attracted to art, particularly to ink drawings. I remember looking in awe at Leonardo’s illustrations as a child. But between liking and doing there is a big step. I’ve been more or less constantly drawing on a doodle-fun level but was never fond of the results. A very very long time ago, I was pushed by friends to show something to an art critic, who was so kind to qualify my sketches as “fine but decorative”. He was obviously right. I guess I wasn’t just ready to really start with something I really care for, with an authentic project.

EE: What defines your artistic style? What are your “trademarks”?

AS: I’ll let that to others who are more qualified than me. I do not try to have a specific style. I’m not even aware to have any trademarks since I look very often in the work of great masters like Finlay, Moebius, and of course Manara. I think it’s normal – and a good thing too – not to be self aware of your own style. The moment you know your style is the point of no return where you stop evolving.

EE: The muses in your drawings are very erotic. Some are even entwined with zoophilia. What influences your work? Who inspires you?

AS: The dark and/or playful side of my soul, maybe... My main motivation - beyond pleasure of course - is the marvel of graphical expression. How is it possible that your brain can make sense out of dot, lines, or disparate objects which are, per se, absolutely abstract and neutral elements? How does it work? How can I make it work? If I draw a woman with a cat's head, is that a scene of bestiality, a superhero or an Egyptian goddess? Or all that at the same time? I use the grotesque as an alphabet, as a bestiary deeply rooted in our unconscious. A spider or a cow's head are more than simple accessories in a role play. Basically I think that one sees in a drawing what he’s prepared to see. These are archetypes developed throughout history of mankind, totems which activate feelings, associations and a whole submerged world, which is an integral part of our collective memory.

EE: What’s your work process: from conception of your ideas to the inking of your thoughts?

AS: I would call it compulsive. I see something, a situation or a photo, and my brain put another picture together I try to catch and put on paper as soon as possible. To get to the final draft I use everything I can get my hands on. I put a collage of photo references, observation, and imagination together. Sometimes it lasts just a couple of hours, sometimes even weeks or months to get to something which feels right. Once I’m happy with the composition, I go the "inking," which is meanwhile a way to talk since I work now mainly digital because "dry" ink is so much convenient. I can work wherever and whenever I want. However, if I had enough time, I would also like to go back to analog big formats, something like 1x2 meters.

EE: Most of your drawings are in black and white. Why is this so? Have you ever considered creating coloured illustrations as well?

AS: Mainly because I'm a novice and working black & white helps me focus on fewer parameters to control. I can't deny that I always have been drawn to monochrome expression. One of my first esthetical and sexual shocks was discovering Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations. Black and white fits perfectly with the way reality print itself on my retina. Though I would like to expand my work using color but right now I'm still exercising and I need to restrain the field of my explorations.

EE: Have you ever been in the “hot seat” because of your works, especially since you belong to the female species?

AS: I’m a very private person and I avoid to land willingly in the “hot seat”. But yes, some people do not like what I do and sometimes try to express their opinion in a rather unpleasant way. These are also not often the smartest remarks I’ve heard, btw. I couldn’t care less. I’ve decided long ago not to try to second guess unqualified comments - whether they are gender related or not.

EE: What did you use to draw as a kid?

AS: Do you want to psychoanalyze me?... ;)

EE: What’s the meaning of your name, Apollonia? Which is very cool, by the way.

AS: Thank you, very kind of you. A name - given or chosen - always get its significance through what it's filled with. Since I'm not eager to exist publicly, my pictures fill this space. With each new drawing, my name is gaining substance.

EE: How do you deal with the so-called “artist’s block”?

AS: Not a problem I know. I just wish I had enough time to draw every drawing roaming through my mind...

EE: What is your mantra in life?

AS: I’m not very “mantra-ish”. I distrust sentences full of wisdom. The closest to a philosophy of life would be: life is short, try not to make it shorter with useless bullshit ... but don’t forget to do useful bullshit.

EE: Aside from drawing, what other creative pursuits are you interested in? Tell us more about the other side of you.

AS: I would like to write a novel. I’ve a great story in store – as every wannabe writer has - a really great tale spanning more than 10,000 years. But this is a long-term project I still have to find time for. Aha.

EE: Mention three of your favorite things in the world.

AS: Beside drawing, the usual ones: sex, food, and videotapes. If possible in combination.

EE: Do you have any weird habits? Strange desires? Unlikely fetishes? Surprise us.

AS: I’m very, insanely food of almond perfume. You could obtain everything from me with this fragrance.

EE: What project(s) are you currently working on? Any upcoming shows soon that we should watch out for?

AS: I don’t think you will see any show soon. My only real project is to learn more about drawing.

In this planet that we're thriving in—
What is your power animal? Why?

A squid - ink is my blood - a very very smart animal.

Who is your alternate ego? Why?

Leonardo da Vinci. He was a real humanist and he still remains after hundreds of years an enigma.

In an alternate universe where art/illustrations do not exist—
What would your name be? Why?

Zardoz. One of my favorite movie from the past. Such a great blend between future and past. And Sean Connery looks quite impressive.

What would you be doing instead? Why?

Contemplating eternity. That seems relaxing.













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