This is a short interview with Sonja Böhmer (84). You can learn more about our blog posts here.
Sonja Böhmer lives in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. She has a degree in art pedagogy, later she studied art history. Apart from several other exhibitions, her artworks are permanently on display in Banska Bystrica (Art Lubica, BB Art Gallery) and in Banska Stiavnica (Diela a dielka). You can read below her answers to our questions.
My path to art
My first encounter with the art was an opera - there was music, singing, beautiful dialogues, costumes, decorations, dance... All the things that I admire to this day. I still play the piano and my performance, even though possibly imperfect, makes me happy. I have always admired Marc Chagall, Vasilij Kandinskij, Adolf Born, and the artworks of other great artists. It was during my studies that I came closer to the fine art, but I didn’t feel I could express myself by it. During my professional work as an art teacher, I was constantly in contact with the fine art and the artistic expressions of the others in the art class. I could inspire and encourage children, students and myself to the love of art and creativity, to the boldness in the choice of motives and colors. I started creating myself almost by chance, when I was around forty years old. I had to decorate large areas of a school atrium. It was how I made my first own paintings with fairytale motives, and this brought me to my own art.
Motifs and inspirations
I wish that the beauty, harmony, poetry, were not only on the paintings but everywhere around us. That’s why I paint ladies from a different world. I paint my beloved Banska Stiavnica - it’s an amazing town with its own character, where I spent some really beautiful moments. I paint birds, trees, flowers, suns… and unite them with decorations, violins, pianos… Each of my paintings tells a story. The inspiration for it may come from an experience, an event, a beautiful object, or an interesting location. I narrate the accompanying stories, write them down on the backside of the painting or even on a separate sheet of paper for those who wish it. It would be great to present my paintings together with the stories on an art platform caring about the details and offering a wide range of presentation possibilities.
Creating and mediums
I work mainly with acrylic paint, pastel, ink, and combined techniques. It takes me approximately one to two weeks to paint one painting. Sometimes I start with a very specific motif but it can change in the course of my work so that only the basic theme remains. It also happens sometimes that I have to put the painting aside because I don’t like it, I don't know how to proceed with it. But after a while, I pick it up again and suddenly I know exactly how it’s supposed to look like and I finish it. I like when my paintings talk, so I paint one motif or theme several times so that the story comes better through.
Art and your community
Thanks to art I have many friends. We meet at the plain-air events, exhibitions. I admire their works and they inspire me. I am happy to be an active artist myself, it brings me joy, satisfaction, good health. I can still enjoy my life.
Difficulties and challenges
As an amateur artist, I don’t face any problems. My artworks are of a specific style: naïve and decorative art. As there are nowadays many abstract, often depressive, artworks, my paintings find their fans and buyers. The financial effect of this is pleasant. But what is really inspiring is when someone likes my painting and wants to look on it every day.
Ambitions and dreams for the future
I love painting and enjoy putting the stories I see around me onto the canvas. I wish that the future brings me enough energy and ideas to keep creating. My dream is to install an individual exhibition in the Jozef Kollar Gallery in Banska Stiavnica.