Harper's BAZAAR Thailand, MAY 2018 print edition
BAZAAR ART featuring WIDE BIG EYES artist MICHELLE VELLA
Harper's BAZAAR, Flowers in Fashion
BAZAAR ART INTERVIEWS WIDE BIG EYES ARTIST MICHELLE VELLA
What inspired you to create Wide Big Eyes that has become your signature? Early on I admired the artist Francesco Clemente, the large eyes in his portraits struck a cord with me and influenced my style when I started painting in 2015. Determined to find my personal style, painting a portrait everyday and posting to instagram, looking and analyzing my previous portraits, I saw that the eyes started to protrude outside the face in a few of them and it suddenly occurred to me that this was my signature.
Do you think eyes do the best expression for human? I do. Eyes draw you in to the soul of a person, expressing an emotion, telling you a story.
Why you love doing portrait? In addition to the reasons above, I love painting portraits because it connects me to the person, learning about them and their story and I get to express it visually.
You normally paint western people but this time you have a chance to paint Thai actress. Are there anything different or difficult for you? Because I paint many custom commissions I don’t always get to decide on my subjects as I would like to have more diversity. In saying that, I have painted some wonderful Asian woman and I don’t find it too different but I do my best to get the eye shape and eye-lid just right.
Did you know of Davika Hoorne before? I did not know of her and I was delighted to be introduced to such a beautiful woman.
Do you develop some new technique in your work or have some experimental things? Since starting my Wide Big Eyes Portraits in 2015, my painting technique has evolved from a loose brush stroke with a lot of texture to a very defined brush stroke with flat 1-dimensional paint surfaces.
And how about this work of Davika Hoorne? Can you share us about the process, how long you paint it or are there any special technique? Davika’s portrait took about 3 days to paint. I normally paint portraits of the head and shoulders on a square canvas, but since I was interpreting the cover photo, I decided on a rectangle canvas. I always paint my subjects looking straight at the viewer to better portray the Wide Big Eyes. For Davika, she was looking sideways in the cover photo, so I found another photo of her looking straight at the camera, so that I could capture her beautiful features.
Since when you started drawing? I started drawing when I was a child, then studied Fine Arts at University, but I had other careers, and I started painting again when I turned 50 in 2015. I had a graphic design business and was looking for something new. On a soul searching walk I made the big decision to pursue my art career full time and upon arriving home I received a call to go to New York City for Fashion Week, and then to meet and deliver my portrait of the legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg... and that was just the beginning.
Can you show me some examples of famous people that you used to paint? I enjoy painting POP Culture and influential icons. I have painted Prince, Twiggy, David Bowie, Iris Apfel, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Brigitte Bardot, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, to name a few.
Are there anyone else that you would love to paint? My list is long and ever changing, but a few that come to mind are Malala Yousafzai, Yoko Ono, Bono, Yayoi Kusama, Maya Angelou, Drake and Princess Diana which happens to be my next custom commission.
How do you feel to have a collaboration with Harper's Bazaar Thailand? This collaboration with Harper's Bazaar Thailand is a highlight of my career as an artist. I am so grateful to be introduced and tell my story to all of you.
I would love to hear from you, @michellevellart Who you would like to see me paint?
©MICHELLE VELLA 2018