orly-in-my-bonesI truly believe that the need to be witnessed by the self and by others is a human core need to be fulfilled by the act of creating. Therefore, a compelling part of my journey is the teaching of art making and visual journaling. As a young adult in Israel, I had studied Fine Arts in an artists’ village nestled at the foot of Mount Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and later, in the Netherlands, Graphic Design at the University of Arts in the contemporary yet history-drenched city of Utrecht. Now living by the beach of Southern California with my family, I take in all the magnificence of the landscapes that shaped me and of the visual languages I have acquired along the way. I am passionate about the process of marrying multiple media to create a unique visual experience for both the eye and the spirit.

I have never experienced a thing in my life without being influenced by its look. I am an avid collector of words, memories, sights, colorful people, experiences and more.

I am here to express the inexhaustible mine of mine of inner and outer landscapes, languages, cultures, and of personal and close to heart matters. I hope that each spread, consisting of two corresponding pages, will provide you with visual excitement, inspiration, and even amusement—creating an ongoing gallery for you and me to enjoy.

To learn more about Orly Avineri,  her art retreats and workshops or to see even more of her beautiful art journals, follow any of the links below:

… and now for our exclusive interview with Orly Avineri

How would you describe your art?
I’d say my art is vulnerable, raw, emotional, honest, and brave. It’s abundant and attentive to texture, lines, color, story, and mystery. It’s constantly struggling to unite its dualities.

In addition to creating beautiful and authentic journal spreads/pages, you are also a really gifted writer. Did your passion for writing come before you started creating art or as a result of it?
I started writing just a few years ago to accompany images I posted onto my blog. Before that, as a graphic designer, the written and printed word was important to me in that context. I always considered art making as a visual language where I feel most comfortable in. I surprised myself in how much I actually enjoyed the verbal language as well, in my art and outside of it.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
As a little girl growing up in the desert in the southern part of Israel I used to carry with me a ruled notebook along with pencils, and later on, colored markers. I’d draw, sketch, color, and doodle in it, whenever I found myself somewhere with a lot of time on my hands, alone at home, plain lonely, or needing an excuse not to mingle with others. I don’t like to call myself an artist, not for a lack of confidence, but because I feel that to create was and is a necessity for me in order to feel that I matter in this world. It always felt safer than anything else.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of myself for finally being able to overcome my painful shyness so I can share my passions with others, connect and give and feel love. For my understanding that there is no room in my life for someone or something that brings me down. I am proud of me finally finding the world I belong to and leaving all that doesn’t behind me.

Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
Truthfully, all that I create has meaning for me, mostly while I create it, so the process itself brings about meaning. I detach from my journal spreads once I decide they are done. All have similar process of layering, adding and contracting of tactile and visceral information. Going back and forth, veiling and unveiling, that process moves me and as such brings meaning to my creative practice. I usually refrain from “translating” the visual language to a verbal language as it takes away from that meaning. Once I have a grasp of it I try not to diminish it.

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
I am always looking for unconventional tools and materials, a paper party umbrella pulled apart and used as collage paper and inker, rubber bands to “launch” ink onto the pages, papers buried in pots to be processed by wind, rain, and decay, etc. I am sure there are many many more discoveries awaiting for me.

Do you work exclusively in art journals?
I used to be a graphic designer, a fine artist, a muralist, a textile designer, an illustrator, etc. Since I discovered visual journaling a few years ago it became all that I do. It is very different for me from all other art forms as it focuses so much more on the process of creating than on any other aspect of art making. This is the main draw for me.

How do you make time for art?
Creative times present themselves to me when my heart is open, and my hands are itching, or when I find myself in a space full of kindred spirits who are interested in throwing some paint around.

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
When these elements are present: inspiring space, lush nature, like hearted people, and I am not bothered by emotional challenges.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why?  What would the two of you do?
Robert Rauschenberg. We would cause some major paint spills, get some skulls, bones,  black and white photos, large pieces of decayed textiles and papers, and create a majestic installation. We’ll be laughing and crying in intervals. There will be some dancing involved. Perhaps.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
You don’t want to be aspiring, you want to be doing, making, moving your hands. If you have never made art before you are in the best spot possible. You are an empty vessel, ready to absorb the magnificence that art making can offer you. You are primed to receive, explore, and discover. Art journaling is an act of total surrender, not resistance. The sooner you relinquish the control over your art making process and detach yourself from the outcome, the more free and prolific you’ll become in your visual expression and it will spill over to other areas of your life.