Our guest, Lea Laboy, is a luminary in the realm of fine arts. Coming from a distinguished lineage of Austrian nobility, with a heritage steeped in scientific achievement and civic duty, she carries a legacy of distinction and brilliance.
Lea is not just a fine artist but a scholar and a published author as well, with notable contributions such as her 'Dissertation on the color blue', 'Flight as an ecstatic experience of freedom', and a co-authored 'Discourse on French painting 1610-1789'. Her breadth of knowledge and exploration of varied artistic domains is impressive, reflecting in her eclectic collection of certificates. From the Art of Watercolor, Old Masters Drawing Techniques, to Islamic Art and Russian Avant-Garde, her artistic proficiency is indeed profound.
Your extensive educational background spans many areas, from Old Masters' techniques to Islamic Art, and from the Russian Avant-Garde to a variety of binding and coloring methods. How do these varied influences come together in your art?
Each training I undergo is chosen very carefully. I have learned that in order to gain knowledge, you must already have knowledge. I think that with each training my awareness of perception expands. The image is born in the head, but the more you see different things, consciously or unconsciously, you start to modify it under their influence. This was the case with the calligraphy training, I suddenly discovered many objects within my sight, which in some way referred to it and became an intriguing inspiration for the creation of my painting.
As a published author in the field of art, how do you see the connection between your writing and your painting? Do they influence each other, or are they separate expressions of your creativity?
Writing and painting are two separate expressions of creativity. Firstly, I am a painter and painting is my obsession that sets the rhythm of the day. I paint every day since 6 in the morning. When I see that I stop "seeing" and errors appear, e.g. in the inconsistency of the colors of the objects in the picture and I start to paint "what I know and not what I see", I cover the picture to "forget" it and move on to the next one. It's more than a job, it's a passion. Painting allows me to explore, I have certain tools and I try to use them in such a way as to get the most sensual picture of reality processed by my mind and eyes. Here the world is governed by rules that cannot be broken: proportions, composition, color. This “construction” is a base on which the image is created. Writing, on the other hand, is related not only to sharing knowledge, but also to a constant commitment to deepen one's knowledge.
Your family background is quite intriguing, with a lineage of nobility and significant contributors to science and society. How does this heritage inform your work, if at all?
I think that my family home had a huge impact on who I am and how I perceive the world. I realized that there is a part of me not only of my parents or grandparents, but also of my great-grandparents and all those past generations. In my blood flows the blood of people who fought for freedom, people who lost their lives for it, helped others altruistically, acted for society, made scientific discoveries, this awareness is a commitment to always be an honorable man. My grandmother's words "Live so that no one cries because of you and then you will know that you live well" have become my credo.
You've studied and mastered a variety of painting techniques, such as those of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and El Greco. Can you share how these different techniques manifest in your own work? Are there any particular works where these influences are most apparent?
Rembrandt is the closest to me, out of the above-mentioned artists. This is mainly due to the fact that the characteristic feature of his works focuses on light and deep shadow as well as building the atmosphere of the image in which the artist easily leads the viewer to the central point of the image. These three issues also intrigue me as a painter. As for the technique he used, impasto, I think it's the exact opposite of what I do. My goal is not and never has been to imitate or copy anyone. In my opinion, it is necessary to learn as many techniques as possible in order to know what can be adopted and at the same time be aware of what can be rejected. Certainly, an important element of all studies in this area was getting to know the technical side, i.e. we are talking here about the preparation of the base surface and paints and other materials, but also the way of thinking of a given artist because every painting is not born first on the canvas but in the artist's head.
Your book, "Flight as an ecstatic experience of freedom", suggests a deep interest in the themes of freedom and transcendence. Can you talk about how these themes find their way into your art?
Thank you for this question. In the field of my interest freedom is the most emphasized which manifests itself through the possibility of acting in accordance with one's own will, values or ideals. I always asked myself the rhetorical question not if I am a free, but to what extent. Since people say black is white and white is black, they are discrediting someone based on their origin, religion, social status, skin color, age, gender, disability, etc. and tries to impose it on me thereby violating my freedom because these are not my values. Of course, we can say that a man functioning in a certain environment is never free. There must always be some dependence. So theoretically we are free, but in the above situations it turns out to what extent. I will always fight for my freedom for the freedom of those who need support to regain this freedom or those who do not have the strength to do it themselves. As a painter, I made a number of works dealing with the theme of freedom related to all the above topics, as a human being, I took part in protests where people fought for freedom. That's why I'm talking about freedom not only in a purely theoretical way. Someone from France once wrote under one of my works "You are our conscience. Continue!" I think it is not only one of the most beautiful comments I have received, but also an appreciation of my principles, values and ideals.