Bringing Organic Textures, Colors & Light Indoors with Zohar Wallach
From her beginnings in an Israeli kibbutz to living in the Great Canadian Rockies, Zohar Wallach’s surroundings have always been the focal point of her mixed media paintings. Her ethereal pieces draw directly from nature, both in inspiration and in the organic materials she utilizes. Zohar’s work has traversed across the art scenes of New York, Las Vegas, Florence, Montreal, and Calgary. Noted for her almost geographic-like work, Zohar explains here about her unique process, relationship with social media marketing, and experiences of merging art with interiors.
Edited by Shai Wallach
Zohar – how did you get where you are today?
My memories picture me as a very young girl always playing with different materials and creating art, including painting on walls that usually got me into trouble. I come from a creative family, as my mom and my grandfather were artists, so it was quite natural for me to head into the field. However, I wanted to have an “actual career,” so I became a handwriting analyst after my BA and worked in human resources for many years while keeping painting as a hobby. I never took myself seriously as an artist and definitely never intended to be one, but the move to a different environment changed all that in a second as I was overcome by the magnificent “Big Sky Country” and just had to paint. Soon enough after, people started to buy my works and I have been a professional artist ever since.
Can you explain your process?
Over the years I have found the need to develop my unique process of work since becoming sensitive to most common materials. I came out with fermented pigments that I allow to develop in water and sugar for a while, which I then layer onto the surface with sand and water based emulsion; a process that takes weeks to form as I constantly add or remove from the surface just before the layer is dry. The fermentation adds a very original sense to the colors as it breaks down the pigment into a variety of undertones, and the long process allows me to reveal the smallest particles underneath all the layers.
I sometimes consider myself a ‘painter archaeologist’ since I disturb the upper layer constantly to bring new and unexpected wonders into view. Due to this unique process, each work is slightly different from the natural structure that appears through the layers. The final result is quite original and I love how it has its own personality.
“The raw beauty and strong colors of the Canadian landscape is so different; the nature is so wild and extreme at times it begs to be painted.”
How has living in Canada inspired your work?
I always painted, but when I lived in Israel, I used to paint still-life, animals, landscapes; much more naive work in oil pastel. But after I moved to Canada, something opened up completely. As I became immersed in the natural setting, it completely overwhelmed me. The raw beauty and strong colors of the Canadian landscape is so different; the nature is so wild and extreme at times it begs to be painted. I get constant inspiration from living in the vastness of Alberta.
Based on your knowledge of the industry, how has technology or social media changed the way artists and designers do business?
Social media and technology changed everything for designers and artists. It lets us be relevant, helps us reach new clients and markets, and of course it’s a major source of publishing and promotion of our work. I think it changed the rules of the game by making us accessible to anyone who is searching the internet, and at the same time helps in staying relevant in today’s market. As a personal anecdote – I became an international artist within two weeks after my daughter, Shai, helped me setup my work on both Facebook and Instagram. I use social media a lot today to promote my work and I still learn on a daily basis the true instant power that connects us to the global market.
How do you typically work with interior designers?
My connection with interior designers started many years ago when a designer chose quite a few of my works for a model home, as she needed to stage it and decorate it. All the works got sold and I received numerous orders from other clients that were referred by the designer. I work with interior designers whenever they need to come up with something fresh and different; they usually pick a couple of works for their clients homes or any private or commercial setting they are working on.
I love the creative connection between designers and artists, the opportunity to think of creative and artistic solutions for any space is a treat every time. For me, designers typically pick a specific painting or commission me for one according to the colors that work best with the space, or they send me pictures of the spaces and ask me to be creative with an original work that will work perfectly with the furniture, light and setting. Working in this way is definitely the most fun way to collaborate, since it allows us to work together and conceive the perfect piece for the space.
“I work with interior designers whenever they need to come up with something fresh and different; they usually pick a couple of works for their clients homes or any private or commercial setting they are working on.”
What are 3 tips of “best practice” you can offer interior designers for choosing the right artwork for a space?
Firstly, listen to your clients’ needs, what colors speak to them, and how they relate to the medium of artwork. Designers need to know what their clients love and who they are in order to pick the artwork that will be the most harmonious with the space but also the client.
My second tip is to always select the artwork last when you are done with all the other interiors. The right piece needs to work perfectly with the space, so always wait until the project is almost done.
The last tip is to not be afraid to be bold with the choice of artwork. Always listen to your instincts; the work that appealed to you the most is usually the right choice.
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