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Published by Herne on March 1, 2014

March Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze
March Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze

I was born into an ethnically Hungarian family in Covasna, Transylvania, in 1984. My parents and I moved to Denmark in 1988 where we’ve lived since, but we’ve held on to our Hungarian heritage. As my mother had grown up in the countryside, and my father used to be a hunter, I’ve always been encouraged to care for and respect Nature in all its aspects. From my earliest years, I’ve been drawn to all the living creatures in Nature and to the special kind of down-to-earth spirituality which you can only experience when walking alone in a forest or on a beach. Also, I’ve been fascinated by art, and drawing or painting the creatures of our vegetable garden or the ones inhabiting the dark forests in my fantasies has always been a natural way for me to connect with my surroundings.

Growing up, I became very interested in the relationship between human culture and the natural world, and I attended university in Aarhus, Denmark, and Budapest, Hungary, studying archaeology and art history. I started painting more seriously around 2005 as a result of a coincidence (or was it a genius strike of Fate?): One of my best friends was moving and she gave me her collection of paints, brushes and canvases to use until she found a bigger apartment where she could fit them in. So, I started to paint and haven’t stopped since. I’ve never received a formal education as an artist, but I think being an autodidact artist gives me more freedom to experiment with materials, techniques and themes. At the present, my favourite medium is acrylics because it’s very quick to dry – I like the idea of working fast in the creation process. What takes most time for me is the thinking process between getting the idea and starting to paint. During this period – which can last from a couple of hours to several months – I’m designing the painting and building up the theme and the final expression in my head.

Fuck Fibonacci Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze
Fuck Fibonacci Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze

As an artist, I still seek to map the various relationships between Nature and culture in their widest senses and throughout human history. I often find inspiration in music, poetry, the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century or old fairy tales and legends telling about the struggles of human beings against the forces of Nature as well as the wisdom such struggles often bring. To me, Nature is not always a harmonious Garden of Eden with bright flowers, fluttering fairies and eternal sunshine (although this aspect is a part of Nature, too); to me, Nature is an ancient living creature with terrible forces which – if not negotiated sensibly – can be horribly destructive and deadly. This duality – light and darkness, creation and destruction – is a recurrent theme in my artwork. Among my artistic heroes are Caravaggio, Salvador Dalí and Marilyn Manson.

The three paintings I’ve chosen to feature here offer a good demonstration of the general themes of my artwork as well as my various sources of inspiration.

The first painting is called I Am My Hair (See the featured image for this article at the top). This is the first picture in a series of four depicting the seasons, this one being spring. It’s a very bright painting with vivid colours and a lot of motion. The background has a touch of Art Nouveau design, and the inspiration as well as the title comes from a song by Lady Gaga about being proud of who you are.

The second painting is called March, and it’s one of the months series which I’m working on at the present. This painting shows a group of hares soaring upwards in an empty black space. I like to think of them as small blue-green flames of creation and growth, ignited at the end of a season of bleakness.

I Am My Hair Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze
I Am My Hair Painted by and © Zsófia Kölcze

The third painting, Fuck Fibonacci! has a somewhat darker theme, representing the shadowy side of Nature. I’ve always been fascinated by mushrooms and other fungi. Living in darkness and feeding off of dead organisms, they are the ultimate survivors. If the beauties of the natural world and man-made culture happen to fade and die, will the fungi keep on growing?

During the last eight years, I’ve been studying and working actively with natural magic. From times immemorial, magic has played an important role in the lives of human beings. It has helped people connect with the forces of Nature, and it’s from magic that our arts and sciences have developed. In one of my future art projects, my aim is to bridge the gap between artwork and magical tool. I’m presently working on some prototypes of small 3-dimensional works of art which I call Magicoscopes©, combining the aesthetics of regular artwork with the directed forces and purpose of magical rituals. They will soon be available through my website, so look out for them.

This feature first appeared in Issue 1 of Wyldspirit (The March 2014 edition of the Wyldwood Radio e-zine)

Sadly since this article was published Zsófia Kölcze’s website has been re-used by someone else and we have no contact details for her.

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