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Interview with expressionist artist Vian Borchert

Updated: Jan 3

Vian Borchert is an established award winning expressionist artist. Borchert has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions within the US and internationally in museums and key galleries in major cities such as: NYC, LA, Washington DC, London and Berlin. Borchert's artwork has been on display in prestigious venues such as Times Square on Broadway in NYC, United Nations in NYC, The SAM museum in PA, The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia,The BMFA Museum in Texas, along with world embassies, hospitals and corporations. Vian is a graduate and "Notable Alumni" from the Corcoran College of Art & Design George Washington University, Washington, DC. Borchert’s art has been vastly featured in press / interviews such as the esteemed Museum Week Magazine, ARTPIL, VoyageLA magazine, SHOUTOUT LA, The Washington Post, OFF TOWN Magazine, and on the front covers of “ROIDX”, “MOEVIR” and "FIENFH" Paris based French style magazines, and literary journals like "PENSIVE” and others. Borchert is also an art educator teaching fine art classes to adults in the DC area. Borchert's work is in world marketplaces with auctions "1stDibs" and "Artsy".

Vian Borchert
Vian Borchert

Your painting "Serenity" is currently showcased in The Painting Center's invitational exhibition. Could you share the inspiration behind this expressionistic abstract piece and what it means to you to participate in this event, which also supports a great cause?

I am grateful that I am part of the Painting Center's artists since the prestigious NYC gallery has a history in showcasing serious painters and artists. The Painting Center is a non-profit art gallery in New York City with strong roots in the art community and a reputation for integrity in its programming. My painting titled "Serenity" encompasses the painterly and expressionistic style of my earlier abstracts, minimal yet textured, capturing a dreamy quality that takes one to a serene place where calm and peace reign. These in an essence sum up my aspiration of what I seek to bring to the viewer upon them viewing my work - A feeling of serenity to take over and a sense that all is OK. The world is a good place for you and me. We all can co-exist together in peace and harmony and in love. The colors of the painting are also some of my favorites. Cool tones of teal, blue and aqua are spread all over the canvas to bring through the serenity feeling as if one is looking at the sea and almost diving in its blue tealness and beauty. There is a sense of blurriness to the painting alluding to the unknown and mysterious that awaits us all in the future, but not to be afraid to sail on calmly through the journey.

I also was invited to last year's fundraiser benefit exhibition as well, and the painting that I had which is also on "Artsy" is titled "Blue Woods". The painting was created in 2016 embodying my quintessential abstracted textured woods' series that I did at the time which went on to create new waves and trends in the art world influencing budding and accomplished artists alike. Here is the link for "Blue Woods" also priced specifically for the fundraising cause to help support artists in their artistic career.

Transitioning from painting to photography, one of your photos is exhibited at Emerge Gallery's "Snap" exhibition. How do you approach the medium of photography differently from painting, and what themes or messages do you aim to convey through your photographic work?

I am first and foremost a painter. Photography is more like a side gig. I took photography back in art school and studied it the traditional way, a roll of film, dark room, chemicals and spending lots of hours in the lab to look at negatives to produce one decent photo. I've seen photography evolve from its film days to its current digital days. In a sense, I feel considering how easy photography has become and how smartphones are equipped with great cameras that almost everyone is somewhat a photographer in our day and age. I believe though what makes a good photographer from someone who is an average photographer is the angle and what they capture. I heard once that good photographers are artists, since visual artists know what to look at and what to capture - I believe there is truth to that. One does have to have a good eye to be a good photographer. Photography after all is a snapping of that moment in time and a press of a button. My photo in the "Snap" exhibition is titled "Visible vs. Invisible" which was captured this past Summer in my beloved LA on a drive in Santa Monica where I partially grew up. For me, LA and especially that drive reminds me of my childhood and the many rides on those curvy roads by the Pacific ocean. The photo was captured at dusk where the light was just right, and I decided to take a photo of the ups and downs of what laid ahead of me. Bizarrely, as I checked the photo later, I noticed almost a skyscraper in the background of the landscape. Hence, in a sense the camera captured the invisible within the visible. The photo with zero manipulation seems to be telling of what is to come in my future and what is waiting for me at the horizon line. Thus, this photo captured a certain magic that the visible eye couldn't see and that's why I feel it is so special.

With your David Bowie portraits set to be featured in the "Bowie Bash: Amplified” exhibition at the National Liberty Museum, can you discuss your artistic process in capturing the essence of such an iconic figure, and why you chose watercolor as your medium for these works?

I am honored to have five of my David Bowie portraits in the upcoming Bowie Exhibition at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. Ever since I was a teenager, I was fascinated with David Bowie, his music, his deep voice, his looks, his eyes, his bone structure, I could go on and on.... I loved everything about David Bowie and I have been making David Bowie paintings since 2012 on big murals in venues and events such as Washington DC's Georgetown waterfront. Thus, David Bowie was always there for me in his music and a source of inspiration for my art. When David Bowie died from cancer in 2016, upon hearing the news, I was so crushed and heartbroken and I quickly started painting a watercolor portrait of him - very weirdly and until now I can't explain this strange occurrence of what happened upon finishing the painting, I saw star dust surrounding the work.... It was so bizarre, unreal yet so real.

Another unusual happenstance involving David Bowie, is that when I drive to NYC, before I enter the city's Holland Tunnel, I am always met by a huge mural of David Bowie as "Ziggy Stardust" on the facade of one of the nearby building almost as if David is welcoming me to NYC which I strongly feel is the right city for an artist like me. Albeit I mainly work in abstraction and the acrylic medium; yet I am academically trained in anatomy. Figurative and portrait art is my forte. I am also an art educator teaching fine art class to adults in the Washington DC area, and the watercolor medium is one of the fine art courses I offer as well. I've been teaching for seventeen years already. I chose watercolor for the Bowie portraits since watercolor has a transparent dreamy quality to it. I wanted to also through the haziness and lightness of the medium to hint that although Bowie has been gone for some time now; yet his memory is very much alive via his music and persona. Overall, the David Bowie portrait paintings depict my love for Bowie in a painterly style. The paintings capture the late singer's essence in an expressionist take. Through strong usage of brush strokes and emphasis on the facial expression, I aimed to bring forth the dreamy but determined character of David Bowie. Songs such as "Heroes", "Wild is the Wind" and "Let's Dance" are some of my favorite songs. The portrait paintings highlight my deep appreciation of the singer with special attention to the rendering of Bowie's eyes that I find to be whimsical and magical. The eyes after all are the windows to the soul, and it is through the eyes of Bowie that one can enter the artwork and get a glimpse of the wonderful soul that Bowie radiated. Moreover, growing up listening to David Bowie's hits, I've always felt guided by his artistic spirit and wonderful voice and lyrics. Bowie's creative and avant-garde approach to everything art, makes him so special in my eyes along with the fact that he is a legacy not only in the music world but also in the art world as well.

Title: "David Bowie Forever'' Medium: Watercolor on archival watercolor paper Size (HxW): 12" x 9" Inches Year: 2023
Title: "David Bowie Forever'' Medium: Watercolor on archival watercolor paper Size (HxW): 12" x 9" Inches Year: 2023

February 2024 seems to be a significant month for you with a solo exhibition at The Arts Club of Washington and your participation at the Lichtundfire gallery in Manhattan. How do these exhibitions reflect your artistic journey, and what can your audience expect from these showcases?

I didn't plan it this way. I guess the universe did - when it rains, it pours! I know one thing: I will be very busy in February. For the Washington DC solo art exhibition at the prestigious and historic "The Arts Club of Washington '' I will have a body of work that reflects my latest creations which are abstracted cloudscapes, skyscapes, seascapes and landscapes. The artwork that will be presented will all have the color blue in them which is my favorite color since it is the color of the sky and the sea which I find to be so soothing. Also, blue is one of my favorite colors since I was born by the Mediterranean sea. Thus, the sea is an integral part of my identity as a person and as an artist. When I close my eyes and I meditate, I automatically go right away to the sea. So, as you can see, the sea is part of me. Thus, the paintings that will be presented will be an ode to my love for nature and the environment. The artwork also will reflect my meditative sentiment along with elements of enlightenment where the intention is for the work to elevate one into a higher realm of consciousness towards a Zen state of peace.

The Licthundfire exhibition will be a group one, I will be creating new works for the nature phenomena themed exhibition about thunder. Hence, around the holidays I will be busy creating this new series. I am envisioning my trademark bluesy colors to take prominence in this new collection. I have some ideas flying in my head, but I guess the audience has to wait and see in February what the final work will look like. Come by to Lichundfire in Manhattan in February to see it in person and see the final results. :)

Looking ahead to March 2024 and your exhibition in a world-class museum in Spain, how do you feel about taking your art to an international audience? Additionally, with your artwork available on platforms like 1stDibs, how do you think online marketplaces are changing the way art is viewed and purchased?

I feel very grateful and fortunate that I am invited by a world class museum in major countries to exhibit my artwork. This acknowledgment makes me feel so appreciated as an artist that my vision and art are held in high regard and treasured by esteemed art institutions. I am definitely humbled and full of gratitude to see this recognition during my lifetime.

I am also very grateful that my artwork is sold and internationally collected through world leading marketplaces with Auctions like "1stDibs" which is located in NYC, in Manhattan where I also exhibited at a few years back. A number of my paintings spanning over the years are represented in "1stDibs" from my color field woods’ abstraction to my latest skyscapes and seascapes which are currently on Auction - You can find a good number of my work at this link. Also, keep an eye at the "1stDibs" link to see additional new work that is occasionally added to the platform. What I like about "1stDibs" is that they help the buyer with their purchase and one can place offers as well on the works they fancy. Here is the link for my paintings that are available via "1stDibs".

I am very delighted to have my iconic figurative painting titled "MAN" to add to the fantastic history of Times Square, by having it showcased digitally on Times Square on the most special time of the year for NYC & Times Square this upcoming Sunday 31st December 2023 / NEW YEAR"S EVE DAY. This billboard is located at 1560 Broadway, New York, NY (between 46th and 47th streets).

This exciting exhibition will be taking place on Sunday 31st December 2023. New Year’s Eve in Times Square is an iconic spectacle where millions gather beneath the glittering lights to witness the famous ball drop, marking the culmination of a year and the dawn of a new one with unparalleled excitement. It is a tradition that has been welcoming new years since 1907 and presents the enthusiasm of the crowd, coupled with the dazzling lights, making it one of the most iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations worldwide.

The digital group display is presented by artist talk mag. I am very grateful to be part of this. Thus, keep your eyes glued to the TV for the Times Square coverage to catch a glimpse of my "MAN" painting. ;)

This painting titled "MAN" representing the everyday Man is available for purchase at "1stDibs"

Title: "Man" Medium: Acrylic on canvas Size: 36" x 24" Inches Year: 1998
Title: "Man" Medium: Acrylic on canvas Size: 36" x 24" Inches Year: 1998

"Man" is a painting that embodies my signature figurative expressionist modern work. The artwork is historic where it represents a milestone in my art journey and signifies me as a pioneer in the abstract expressionist figurative style. I am primarily a figurative artist in training. With this piece, I aimed not to create a likeness but to capture the psychological aspect of the figure - his gaze towards the viewer and creating an intellectual and thought provoking dialogue between the figure and the viewer. The painting represents the “everyday” man. Expressive facial features in the portrait exude depth and portray a thinking man. Much like Rodin’s “The Thinker” the painting not only represents deep thoughts but engages the audience through a deep cognitive level.


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