Matti Duda-Szot (15) and Lila Oruč Whiston (16) are two young and aspiring artists thrilled to be taking part in Oxfordshire Artweeks for the first time.
Like many young people, Matti from Kidlington and Lila from Oxford have had to face much uncertainty about their future; feeling stressed and anxious about their GCSEs and exam assessments.
In a year like no other, it is art that has kept them going, making them stronger and more determined to fulfill their dreams.
Their art is about shared emotional experiences; to reach out to their own generation, currently deprived of normal social interactions, through the world of music
Both mainly focus on portraiture, their paintings rendered primarily in acrylic. “People’s faces fascinate me, and how every face is different and beautiful’, says Matti.
She is particularly interested in the layering of colour and the way artists use tints of blue, green, yellow and purple to portray white or add a realistic touch to skin.
Lila’s fascination with portraiture began with her study of the works by Lui Ferreyra, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and says: ‘Mixing colours takes up the majority of my time, finding a skin tone or background colour I like.’
“Art is a way for me to both focus my mind and calm my thoughts if I feel overwhelmed,” matti
Like many artists, Matti and Lila strive to express emotion through their art: a way to de-stress. But it is also about shared emotional experiences; to reach out to their own generation, currently deprived of normal social interactions, through the world of music. Examples of this effort are their portraitures of Billie Eilish (Matti) and Harry Styles (Lila).
Matti was born in Poland, and spent most of her life living in different countries, experiencing different cultures and changing schools, before eventually settling in Kidlington, where she attends Gosford Hill School. “Art is a way for me to both focus my mind and calm my thoughts down if I feel overwhelmed,” she says.
Realism attracts her most, to enable her to portray and evoke emotions in her work.
Lila, who is at Oxford Spires Academy in East Oxford and lives in Summertown, also comes from an artistic background; her maternal Bosnian grandmother was a talented artist and writer.
these two young artists hope their work provides a positive, aesthetic experience to help anyone stressed, anxious, lonely or just struggling to emerge from the pandemic crisis
She interprets and depicts emotion in her paintings, by leaving the face blank: no mouth, nose, or eyes so that the viewer decides on the feelings invoked that fits the painting best.
In other words, Lila wants to encourage curiosity and imagination in the people who see her art, ‘and to make the art really feel like their own’.
And while their concept is still developing, these two young artists hope their work provides a positive, aesthetic experience to help anyone stressed, anxious, lonely or just struggling to emerge from the pandemic crisis.
Either way, Oxfordshire Artweeks has provided Matti and Lila with a sense of community, motivation, and an arena in which to present their paintings and the ideas as an antidote to Covid.
To see Lila and Matti’s work at Oxfordshire Artweeks go to https://www.artweeks.org/artist-profiles/2021/matti-duda-szot
Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival runs until May 23. Enjoy 250 covid-secure venues to visit, an on-line multi-artist taster show, 500 virtual exhibitions & studios on 23 themed art trails in the art showcase, a free webinar at 6.30pm on 12th May and other events. Go to https://www.artweeks.org for all the details.