Mouthing Off Artists’ Spotlight
In this series, we will be showcasing the work and experiences of our Resident Artists, who have taken the time to have a chat with us either over Zoom or email. We hope that through these interviews our readers will be able to get to know our artists, what they do, and how they have made their way to where they are now. Our Resident Artists work in a diverse range of media, from painting and drawing to ceramics and film, so there should be something of interest for everyone!
This week we had a chat with Justine Rainer, a Belgium-based artist whose work builds upon the practices of drawing, photography, and lithography. Having finished her undergraduate in Fine Art and now about to undertake a master’s, Justine is looking to expand and develop her skills in her chosen media. Her most recent work includes the Caged Bird series, made up of multi-media ‘frames’ exploring her interest in limits and borders.
Justine also plans to launch a website for her artwork in the near future, so keep an eye on her social media to keep up to date!
We hope you enjoy reading our interview with Justine, and that these chats with our Resident Artists continue to inspire you in your own endeavours. Let us know what you think in the comments and be sure to check in again next week for another interview!
Please introduce yourself to our readers!
My name is Justine Rainer; I am a half Austrian, half French artist. I finished my bachelor’s in Fine Art in 2019 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, where I specialised in drawing. During my studies, I had the opportunity to intertwine different practices such as drawing, photography, and lithography.
I also had projects in practices like sound art, interactive art, video making, and even certain aspects of publishing. For now, I am mostly based in Belgium, as that is where I finished my bachelor’s, but I use every opportunity to make art while travelling.
How did you get into your chosen practice?
It was my first choice, and I got in right away. I chose drawing as it is an occupation I see myself doing for a long time and can continue to evolve with. The field of drawing is so broad, and in art you have the opportunity to mix all mediums. I think the most crucial part of something is the base, and for a painting that is drawing.
What themes do you explore in your artwork?
I try not to stick to one theme. I like to have a few projects going on at the same time, like that I can work on one and then work on another when I feel like I need a break or need to distance myself from what I’m doing. I believe it is essential to take time on artwork and to distance yourself to clear your head and ideas.
I have worked on different themes such as landscapes, the human body, and objects. From all those themes, what interests me the most is the technique, concept, and the meaning behind them. For example, in my series Caged Bird my interest is on limits and borders, such as frames, paper, and polaroid pictures, and with those I created a wordplay with images.
What or who would you say are your main artistic influences?
I think my primary influence is my cultural background. As for artistic styles, I have always loved minimalism and conceptual art. I am also fascinated by the history of photography, where I take a lot of inspiration from as well.
I always start working after having read extracts from art critic’s books and philosophical texts; different words and concepts appeal to me and get my work started.
Have you faced any challenges in your artistic career?
Of course, but to pursue art is a challenge in itself. It is a very mental activity, and I find a positive mental state is essential or else you don’t create well. And on a tight schedule, it can be that on the only day you have time to paint or draw you will not get the results you want, and then sometimes in ten minutes you can create something that you love.
During my studies, I have had quite a few phases where nothing seemed to work out; it was very frustrating, but you need to hold on and keep pushing and not give up. Of course, breaks are important, along with other activities that need to be pursued as well. This is the reason why I started creating different styles and pursuing various projects at the same time; it gives me time to take a break from something while still getting work done.
What artwork or project are you most proud of?
That would be the last series I did for my bachelor, Caged Bird. It was the first series I spent months on and where I was able to actually see an evolution. It feels like the most personal work I have done; I was able to mix my cultural backgrounds and play with language and art, and it still fascinates me as a subject. I want to dive deeper into topics in this direction to understand them even better and hopefully create more art with this.
Do you have any current or future projects lined up?
I do, I am currently working on my website. Once it is published, I plan to share it on the Mouthing Off Facebook group for anyone who is interested. I also have another series in mind that I want to start with my master’s studies this September. After that I finally want to try freelancing. It has had my attention for some time now, and I want to try it out.
There are more projects I could discuss but I am not going to list them all- that would be too long!
What are your goals for the future?
If I look ahead to the future, I would say it is to be able to live from my art and be able to have a decent living doing what I am passionate about. And for that, I think I need to look at my goals in smaller steps.
My goal at the moment is to finish the projects I have started. Once they are done, I’ll move on to something else. I always wanted to plan my own exhibition, so I will probably start from there.
What do you think is the role of the artist in society?
I believe the artist helps magnify the ways and practices of current society, helping it to grow. The artist is not there to create something seen as beautiful by most, but rather create something that pushes the viewer to think differently. I believe art helps people learn and also grow as individuals.
Art is based on the importance of looking at something in detail and analysing it carefully. When you look at an apple and want to draw it in ten seconds, you’ll likely just draw a circle. But give it a few hours, and you will be able to recreate the whole apple. Therefore, attention to detail should not be limited to other aspects of one’s life if you want to be able to create art.
I think as an artist you want to portray your own point of view, as different as it can be from others’. With all those different art styles out there, everyone will find something they like and can learn from.
Can you give some advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in art?
I would say go ahead and do it, there are so many ways to get into an art career. If you don’t feel secure enough to drop everything else, start out with art as a side activity and see where that takes you.
It is not easy, and it takes time- but so does everything else. Everyone has a different learning curve and a different experience with it, so I would say try it. Start however you can and understand that you will always face problems, that is life, and if you want to you can solve them all as well.
There are going to be some tougher times, but if you want it, it is going to be worth it.
Want to see more Resident Artist interviews? Check out our previous one here.