Conny Golla is a contemporary artist, born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Since 1961 she has lived in Hesse, Germany, during which the most important and memorable part of her life happened. In 2018, she registered for her first class with an Austrian action and abstract artist that gave her a life-changing experience and unleashed her true self not just as an artist but also as a woman. Conny is curious about new things and likes experimenting with various materials and techniques to expand her designs. Her ideas and inspirations arise from many journeys, a mixture of order and chaos, vibrant colors, improvisation, and emotions. Between 2002 and 2021, she participated in various National and International groups and solo exhibitions, including in Germany, Italy, Spain,
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I was born in 1956; I have two younger siblings. My father used to be a creative person, but unfortunately, he neither trained nor supported me in my desire to paint. He was very demanding, and nothing I did was good enough for him. So I decided never to pick up a pen. And I did for many, many years. When I raised my daughters, my creativity came back. I painted a lot with them, did modeling paste, silk painting, and much more. They often brought friends over who wanted to do artwork with me. Especially shortly before Christmas, my kitchen would be filled with kids who desperately needed something homemade for their parents.
How did you get into what you do creatively?
In my mid-forties, I had a friend who took me to my very first painting class, although I insisted I wouldn’t be good enough, there it was, the same old feeling and the inner critics. But one of the characteristics I learned in life is not to give up and grow beyond myself. So I painted for years with ups and downs (my inner critics came through much too often) in watercolor but soon changed to acrylic paints. For about 15 years, I painted still lives in acrylic and joined various artists’ classes.
Your expression of creativity began with silk painting and modeling clay. Later you painted in watercolor and acrylic. For many years the technique was representational. Why did you decide to change your artistic statement to abstract art, and can you tell us the process of adjusting to change?
Silk painting and modeling clay were just a few years when my kids were small. When I became a hobby painter, it was years later. The still lives became some kind of comfort zone. I knew what I had to do: take a photo or brochure, and copy it to the canvas or paper. It already reflects shapes, composition, value, contrast, and even the color combination is ready to bring to your white canvas or paper. But after about 15 years of painting still lives, I didn’t feel in the right place anymore. I was ready for new challenges. I decided to retire at the age of 60 years and concentrate on my art. The right decision for sure!
What was the first painting you were happy to complete? How did your opinion change about this piece from when you first looked at it and now?
In 4 weeks, I had booked two different art classes with Austrian action and abstract painters. I must admit I was a bit scared in front of the white canvases, and no, let’s say `blueprint‘ on hand. I’ve never worked with so many different materials and techniques. I created abstracts I really, really liked. I was infected with abstract art and the almost countless possibilities of materials, and creating abstract art, I called my first large abstract outbreak. This was the real me, and I knew I had to continue this path of creativity. It was wild with vibrant colors. It took a few days before I really loved it.
You describe yourself as a creative soul all your life. Do you think that creativity should involve putting your heart and soul into your work? Or is it more like letting your mind flow freely to witness a surprising result?
How do you execute your projects to ensure that it ultimately ends up being the work that only you have created? What memorable responses have you had to them?
My art is definitely not unique. I don’t have “the one” style, as you can see in my gallery. And to be honest, it‘s not my intention to repeatedly paint in the same style. I’m far too happy with experimenting and creating a wider variety of art.
About execution: First, I decided on the technique, whether it be a mixed media or acrylic painting. The next decision to be made is the color palette. Then I start wild and free with marks, drips, pencil lines, splashes, and pouring of color, turning it upside down. That’s the easy and fun part. With the following layers, I see what parts I like, which one had to go, set the darks and contrasts, and maybe start again. Sometimes it takes ten layers and more until I’m satisfied or even happy with the result. I definitely wouldn’t call any finished piece of art outstanding! For sure not! I leave it up to the eyes of the people who look at my art. I’m trying to create interesting art with mostly vibrant colors. I leave it up to everyone to interpret it with their eyes and feelings.
What is the most relevant part of the painting, especially if it is an abstract? Would the piece have the same impact if it were done in a different style? Why or why not?
For me, it should reflect positive vibes in the viewer‘s eyes. There should be some kind of path which leads through the painting. If a painting is done in mixed media, it will look different in oil or acrylic, even when using the same colors.
You are using various materials in your artwork like structure pastes, flour, sand, bitumen, shellac and objects found in nature. Is there anything else you wish to use aside from these? Why would you choose these mediums for expressing your creativity?
Yes, I love to use texture and structure in my paintings. On the one hand, it gives me so many possibilities. On the other hand, you must make sure you manage the structure, meaning you need to think about where to put the structure at an earlier stage. Sometimes I look at a painting for weeks or even months and then recognize a small detail I never realized before. That is what makes it so interesting for me.
What else would I wish for? Well, I’ve got nothing special in mind. I think artists perceive their environment a bit more precisely than others. I always notice when we’re out with people, and I pick up something from nature I think I could use in an artwork. Or I take a photo of something which is not interesting to others, but I see, e.g., an interesting shape in it.
I saw on your Instagram account that you have a new ongoing project. Can you share a bit about what you wanted your viewers to feel from this piece?
Well, this was a painting I didn’t really like as it was too realistic. I put it aside for a year. But I still wouldn’t say I liked it whenever I looked at it. So, why not use the canvas and do some other art? I’m still unsure if I create an abstract background and do an expressive portrait or if it becomes abstract. Three others are waiting for me to make up my mind.
When embarking upon a project, do you pre plan your entire endeavor, or do you follow where your inspiration takes you?
I definitely follow my mood and my inspiration. Sometimes I just decide on the final color, e.g., I would like to create something greenish today. To say it with Cindy Sherman’s words: “If I knew what the picture is going to be like, I wouldn’t make it!“
Looking at your website, you are using Canvy to showcase your work. How was your experience so far and can you tell us a bit about how it helped with your abstract paintings?
Yes, I’m happy to use the Canvy rooms to display my paintings. People can much better realize how it looks in the room.
What words of inspiration were given to you that you would like to pass along to others?
Apart from many others, I like this one very much: “There is no MUST in art because art is FREE.” - Wassily Kandinsky.
Find Conny Golla and her artwork here.