Although I did not have the pleasure of speaking directly with this month’s featured artist, I have found that her work speaks volumes on it’s own. Catherine Van Giap is a mosaic artist, whose work holds a great deal of symbolism, movement, and meaning.
Personally, I see a great deal of religious symbolism in her mosaics, but I also find that her shapes and color choices add more to her work as far as creating an overall mood. One of the questions I posed to Catherine was to name a few of her favorite artists. Influence from two of the artists she named, can be readily felt.
When Catherine named Cleo as one of the artists that she has been influenced by, I could immediately see this in the overall lines of Catherine’s work, and I also sense it in the story telling aspect of Catherine’s images. Symbols can evoke immediate emotion/reaction from the beholder. I feel this when I view Catherine’s mosaics, and hope that you can enjoy the same peacefulness and joy I find myself experiencing.
The second artist’s influence, which is also very apparent to me, is Georgia O’Keeffe’s. The color palettes Catherine chooses to use, remind me very much of O’Keefe’s tonal choices; muted colors with touches of brightness and dark outlines, bold in subject yet simple and symbolic as well. These factors lend themselves to Catherine’s work in a very pleasing manner.
Although I can see the influence of these two prominent artists in Catherine’s work, she still has an artistic voice all her own, which comes from combining the elements she chooses into her own artistic vision. A harmonious and rhythmic movement, soothing yet playful color combinations, and interesting elements all add to the style which is distinctly her own.
I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do!
LMA: How long have you been creating art?
Catherine: 12 years
LMA: How did you get started in mosaics?
Catherine: I previously went to art college and after having my two children I wanted to try something new and get back to doing something creative with a new medium.
LMA: Your work has a bit of a symbolic feel to it, where do you find inspiration
for your imagery?
Catherine: I find inspiration by living near the coast, surrounded by beautiful countryside.
LMA: Do you practice any other art forms on a regular basis
Catherine: Mosaic is my sole art form.
LMA: What is your favorite subject matter?
Catherine: My favourite subject matter is birds and fish.
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists in your work?
Catherine: Georgia O'Keeffe, Cleo Mussi, and Antoni Gaudi
LMA: Who is your biggest supporter/fan?
Catherine: My mother and daughter.
LMA: Tell us a little about your studio and attach a photo or 2 of your studio space.
Catherine: My studio has my own work bench and various work surfaces for cutting glass with a main table where my students work at, from where I run regular weekly classes which I have been doing so for around 8 years, and wall space for displaying mosaics.
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings?
Catherine: “To create ones world in any of the arts takes courage” - Georgia O’Keefe
LMA: What is your favorite art style? What do you like about it?
Catherine: My favourite art style is art nouveau because I like the fluid lines and soft shapes and the use of lots of nature in its imagery.
LMA: Where do you find creative inspiration?
Catherine: I find inspiration by translating objects around me into glass and interpreting that in my own style. I also find inspiration from ceramic pieces such as a vintage plate which I then incorporate into my art using that piece as the focus along with other accent pieces such as dichroic cabochons and millefiori. I love iridescent glass for its depth of colour and also mirror glass for extra shine.
LMA: Where do you see your art leading you in the future?
Catherine: To keep developing my ideas, each piece is bespoke, I rarely repeat a piece so as to keep my work original. I often work on commissions or an individual piece a customer may request.