Interviews

Artist Spotlight #35: Aida Azin

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Aida Azin

Art is made all the more profound when the artist uses personal experiences to inform their works, and this is exactly what Aida Azin communicates in her abstract drawings. Themes such as class and identity are explored in her works which you can see at her Mother, Tongue exhibition at the Adelaide Town Hall until November the 25th. In our latest spotlight, Aida tells us about her love for MOMA and her favourite films.

Q: Hello Aida! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: Hi Collage! I’m 27 years old and I’m an Australian born Filipino-Iranian painter living in Adelaide.

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Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: I feel motivated by getting to know my roots and seeing other artists that are paying homage to theirs too. I like to bring my opinions into my practice. But it’s not all serious… I also love satire in art, vintage porn tumblrs and MF Doom.

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: I’d say I’m more of a drawer than a painter. That is, I don’t paint in a typically traditional technique of oil to canvas. I paint because it’s an accessible medium and if I don’t like something I can just paint over it.

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Q: How would you describe your style?

A: It’s a bit naïve, abstract-expressionist, very colourful, sometimes dark (in themes) and always personal.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: I guess I’ll be reading a book or listening to a song that inspires a thought or opinion on one topic. That topic spontaneously gets reinforced the next day when I’m randomly watching a movie or having a conversation.

I keep a notebook with me so I can write down my thoughts and draw little doodles that I develop into whatever painting or project I’m working on next. When I get to the studio I’ll chuck on some music and flip through my notebook and just paint.

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Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: A house with a pool.

Q: What is your favourite gallery and why?

A: The Museum of Modern Art in New York because of its permanent collection. I researched and referenced so many artworks that they have at MOMA while I was doing my degree. Seeing an artwork in person always evokes more feeling.

I was at MOMA last year when they were showing One-Way Ticket by the African American painter, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). His paintings document the mass-movement of African Americans from the South to the North. Not only are his paintings visually beautiful but they’re also an important reflection of African-American migration. I think I liked them so much because it demonstrated to me the importance of narrative in recounting history.

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Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: I’m a lover of the 80’s and 90’s, so I’m definitely going to pick Jean-Michel Basquiat. There’s commonalities between our influences – jazz, graffiti and activism. He was an individual and the topics he brought up (class, identity, colonisation) are all really interesting to me. On top of that, his approach to painting, his style and composition just can’t be compared to anyone else.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: At Adelaide Town Hall.  Mother, Tongue is an exhibition of paintings and photographs by Emmaline Zanelli and myself. I also have a website, Facebook and Instagram.

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Q: If you could screen any three films in your personal cinema what would they be?

A: More than just three…

1) Crooklyn by Spike Lee. The soundtrack is so funky and it makes me feel like a kid again.

2) Coonskin by Ralph Bakshi. It’s a super controversial animation about crime, corruption and race in New York during the 70’s.

3) Higher Learning by John Singleton. Like Spike Lee, John Singleton makes movies about African-Americans for African-Americans so his movies come with deep messages on society, identity and progression.

4) Charlie’s Country by Rolf de Heer. David Gulpilil plays the main role, and in some ways it portrays Gulpilil’s own story of alcohol abuse. Like I said, I like art that is personal. Charlie’s Country depicts post-colonialism and cultural identity in a way that feels very real.

5) Dark Days by Marc Singer. It’s a documentary on people living in the underground railway system of New York. It really matches my taste for aesthetics – DJ Shadow did the music so it’s got a hip hop soundtrack and there’s graffiti throughout the film. It’s totally makeshift DIY and they shot it on a 16mm camera with B&W Kodak film. Watch it.

– Masya Zabidi

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