Monday, July 26, 2010

Artist Interview: Brikena Boci

What is your name:
Brikena Boci

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:
I received my Bachelors of Art from “Western Michigan
University”,Kalamazoo Michigan in 2006. I continued my
graduate work at “Northern Illinois University”, Illinois and recently
graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting.

What is the style of your pieces:
I call my style: Abstract/ Conceptual

What is the medium in which you work:
I work with mixed media, fibers and repurposed materials. In
paintings I mix oils, watercolors, graphite pencils, and charcoals.
In my 3-d work and installations I use mostly repurposed fibers,
cardboard, threads, and other materials. Recently I am also
incorporating sound and video as part of my installations.

What started you on your path as an artist:
In my homeland of Albania I attended an art/music elementary/
high school which clearly exposed me to art at a young age and
got me started on drawing and painting. But what really had a
great impact on me when I was 16 years old was my encounter in
1998, with a photographer from Kosovo. During the war in
Kosovo many kosovar-albanians fled their homes and were
hosted in refugee camps and peoples houses in Albania, and I
had the opportunity to meet the kosovar photographer when he
was hosted in my house by my family during the war. In the many
conversations I had with him about art and the role of artists in
society, what really struck me and influenced me to pursue the
path as an artist, was what he said about his work:
“ I left my home burning behind, and the most important treasure
I had- my photographs documenting the war , I buried them
quickly in my garden, as I was trying to escape from the serbian
soldiers getting closer to my house”

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to
your life:
Making art has made me more sensitive and attentive to what
happens around me, and has given me the opportunity to address
and bring up personal, social or political conflicts that I
experience/experienced to the larger community, open for

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:
Baroque because of being such a dramatic style that evokes
strong emotion and Art Brut for its rawness and purity of

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:
I have shown in formal gallery settings, as well as apartment
galleries, union league club, charity events, and art fairs.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
Just comfortable clothes, not really a specific set of clothes.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
Starting a new body of work, which I think is challenging for most
artists, especially when you explore on new materials.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
Greek gyro , especially the ones I had in Greece.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so
what are they:
I am working on a new body of work, which involves embroidery,
sound and light possibly incorporated inside each piece.
Embroidery, as well as incorporating light and sound inside the
piece is something new that I working on right now.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:
I really like the work of colombian born artist Doris Salcedo and
Chicago artist Leon Golub, even though their styles are very
different from one another their work which is based on their
personal experiences brings up issues of race, of the
marginalized innocent victims of violence, war, and human

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in
Jeremy Deller: It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq, at the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2009. The museum
gallery was transformed into a space for open conversations
between veterans, journalists, scholars, Iraqi nationals and gallery
visitors to hold discussions about the present circumstances in

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:
I have a cat who is 2 years old who loves my work. My cat loves
to sit and play with my thread and fabrics, she likes hiding inside
my 3-d sculptures, she thinks its her playground.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share
with us:
I am showing at the ArtPrize in Grand Rapids , Michigan which
runs from september 22nd- October 6th.

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