Anna Belleforte

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first paints to paper in Budapest

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 18, 2018 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I usually explore more than one path at the same time, inspired by the things I encounter. So drawing out details, collaging, doing watercolours of urban greenery, and painting acrylic scenes... Like this view from my window: I don’t know whether to confess this or not, but every time I start painting after a while of not painting, I look at the results and think: I don’t know HOW to paint – and now I’ll have to tell everyone. Ok, so it’s rough impressions I’m doing in a morning or afternoon. They don’t have to be perfect. I realize now that, at home, I’ve created a very useful environment and I have all my tools within easy reach. Makes me aware that I need to respect the creative process and its time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good art doesn’t suddenly emerge. It takes hard work and practice. This first painting step allowed me, in any case, to ‘feel’ the shapes and planes of the urban landscape.

greenery theme

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 16, 2018 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the things I wanted to look at in Budapest was the relationship between greenery and urbanism. There are many small parks within the urban grid here, but none of the spaces are very green yet. The grass is green but most trees are still bare. I’ll have to wait a bit for more exciting scenery in this regard. There are some dark evergreens and I’ve been photographing contained greenery. The concrete ‘pottery’ sort of have playful shapes but are also inconspicuous and often a bit sad (which isn’t to say they don’t speak to me). There are little triangles of greenery, or as the Dutch like to say, postage stamp gardens. Not sure anyone cares for them (other than the dogs and some birds). And there’s the rows of trees that line the main thoroughfares, those on Karoly krt being nicely pruned and bright green. Why is it that trees/bushes trimmed into ‘unnatural’ shapes are so appealing?   #BARTR #artistinresidence2018 #Budapestartresidency


Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 12, 2018 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Put a bunch of lines together and you soon get a pattern. I don’t know anyone who isn’t attracted to a pattern. We love repetition. And then there’s Victor Vasarely who took it a step further through structure and colour, amazing totally saturated colour. The museum in Obuda says this Hungarian/Parisian painter researched the best colour dynamics and came to the profound idea that art could be an integral part of any urban space and any community. Once art was reduced to a kind of formula, which he did, it could be multiplied and endlessly varied. He called what would result from this the Polychromatic City of Happiness. Okay, very 1950s/60s, the notion that communal interests would be best served by standardization and mass production, with only minor tweaks. But it’s interesting that he associated happiness with colour, and ideally, colour with the city. A lot of urban pictures are usually greys and browns (not including advertising). It just takes a lot of stone and concrete to build a city. But I don’t want to represent a city without colour, or pattern for that matter. So Vasarely was right: if the perceptions of our cities can be ‘polychromatized’, we might all be happier.

#artistinresidence #BARTR #Budapestartresidency #artistinresidence2018 #Budapest

Line up

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 10, 2018 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Right now I’m just looking at the basics: the simple line. Lines are always of interest to me because they are so versatile: they can define objects, they guide sightlines, they are something you can (almost) grab hold of, they represent travel & going places, as well as continuity… and so much more. I like working with line and making lines. So I’ve been gathering a collection of lines found in Budapest. Especially lines that seem insignificant when viewed in terms of scale: proportionately, the thin electric wires that drive the trams are barely seen in contrast to the larger volumes of the city. Yet these tenuous lines carry the weight of an entire urban infrastructure. And the lines that tell us to stay off the road, that mark boundaries and carry fumes up to the sky… I’m always looking to develop ideas that play with or say something about scale, whether it’s as simple as representing something as massive as a city on a postcard, or the small lines that stand for something bigger, or something more conceptually complex. These lines I’m collecting may turn out to be nothing, but they are a good way to focus on small details (my natural inclination anyway) in a big environment.

new approaches

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 8, 2018 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

There’s just so much to see in Budapest. And I’m pretty greedy when it comes to looking. Fear of missing out on visual stimulus… It’s exhausting. In art I still struggle with doing more than ‘documenting what I see’. I suppose this may have something to do with my conservation background and the value I see in recording historic buildings, making a record of time (for future generations, for decisions on interventions, etc). I have to force myself to deconstruct so that I can rebuild. Cutting up existing images and then reconstructing is an easy way to do that. But I’m beginning to think that using/manipulating pictures of Budapest or Hungary (I’ve also been in search of old photo books for this) may not be the way to go. It may not result in work that’s very different from previous series. A step in that process needs to change. I think drawing out my own images to cut up offers multiple translations: the seeing is interpretive, the drawing is an interpretation, the reassembling too, and then the pulling together of the whole. It might become a hodgepodge. Or maybe I’ll just start with some drawings and see…

talking buildings

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 6, 2018 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Anyone who has studied architecture understands that buildings speak to us and tell us something about ourselves. Our preferences in style or form are tangible expressions of what we feel is good and what makes us happy. Of course, few of us can actually commission a building, and living in a city there is little personal choice about which buildings we converse with. But there are choices in: which neighbourhood you frequent, which routes you take, where you have your coffee or just sit to admire the view. Going in search of the shapes, patterns and atmospheres in a city makes me happy and meets my penchant for ‘bearings’ and overview. I may have a split personality (the buildings tell me), in that I am drawn to both curvaceous aristocratic architecture and the angles of decline and collapse. I can’t decide which to focus on as I walk through Budapest. Obviously the two opposites speak of the history of Budapest, and tell us about the transition it is undergoing now. Both are interesting themes and spark ideas for painting/drawing out. But one is more likely to give me more layers to work with.

Residency in Budapest, April

Posted by Anna Belleforte on April 4, 2018 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

First impressions of Budapest: grand proportions, lots of intricate ironwork and high reliefs, playground parks on empty lots, and the massive river. The impressive scale of things here can feel overwhelming (at least in contrast to Holland, where everything is small-scale). And I’m curious what effect it will have on my usual way of working small. Will I still be detail-oriented or focus on a bigger picture? Ideas are brewing about urban greenery, lines particular to Budapest and blocky overviews.

The theme of the BARTR residency this year is Urbanism/Regeneration, so right up my alley. We’ll be meeting local project developers, lecturers, officials… people that are making creative spaces happen and revitalizing rundown areas. So I’m also curious to hear about how they go about it and what they discover about their city (and fellow inhabitants) in the process of place-making.

just do it, then you'll connect

Posted by Anna Belleforte on March 14, 2018 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I read an article about how a therapist discovered early on in his career that many patients benefitted most (so said the patients) from seeing their process visualized. He drew horizontal lines to describe the levels of happiness and pain in one’s life and how the line of processing a trauma zigzags through that. For the patient it puts things in perspective and provides an anchor of understanding. This is interesting to me because it demonstrates how drawing things out can help to come to grips with complex things. Like a simplified city map or schematic illustration of its public transport. In some ways, my ‘painting it out’ is a way to understand urban complexities. Perhaps my drawing will provide an anchor in Budapest; I hope recording the places and spaces I see in this artist in residence experience will both ground and elevate me. Now I think about it, that's kind of the ideal for the making too: to make art that touches a viewer as well as lifting them in some way.

residency for creative development

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 28, 2018 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (1)

I’ve been hibernating a bit. But it’s time to come out and test the air again. And I feel very lucky to be able to go do that in… Budapest! I’ve been offered an artist residency in the wonderful capital of Hungary. Very exciting! Almost 3 months of creative exploration in a place I’ve never been, with new contacts/friendships to explore and a chance to exhibit at the end. I expect my brain to be in overdrive, not just sorting out what to take, but which ideas to develop. There’s clearly enough architecture to see there and I feel my hands itching for intricate pen drawings. Also curious about the parks there and any art in public spaces. Residencies are such a great opportunity to open your eyes to new things, meet people with other perspectives and skills, and devote full days to art (though that can be a bit daunting!).

when your art is appreciated

Posted by Anna Belleforte on January 18, 2018 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (1)

Lovely words from a collector in England who bought and commissioned work: I think that what draws me in with your artworks is the quirkiness and originality of your style. I like the way you piece things together in an unexpected way, mixing mediums and shaking up perceptions. We enjoy telling people about the artworks because they represent places and feelings that were an important part of our life. I like the way that you take inspiration from all sorts of different sources and that you change what you are doing - you do not get stuck into one style, but constantly experiment with new and varied mediums and techniques. I love the way you put things together, marrying the unexpected to get unusual and intriguing results. It keeps your artworks fresh and challenging. So it’s fun to follow your work.