New Haven is full of amazing artists, with unique perspectives and talents. I wanted to start a series introducing some of these artists to you. For our first artist I would like you to meet Petra Szilagyi.
What kind of artist are you? what do you do?
Pretty much whatever I can get my hands on. I’ve done some performance abroad, some welding, lots of video. Most recently I’ve been working in oil paint, lenticular printed GIFs and 3D prints. You can check it all out at my website www.petraszilagyi.com which direly needs updating.
How did you get into this?
My grandmother was a painter, and my mom was very invested in the arts. I thought it was all bull and decided I was going to pursue a law degree and go into politics, until midway through college I began to question my moral ability, and anyone else’s for that matter, to represent large groups of people. I tried art and I liked it, plus I thought art professors would be more lenient than political economy professors regarding my punctuality impediment. Turned out art professors were even stricter about attendance, but I found something that I really enjoyed. Making art, I might piss some people off, but no one’s welfare depends on it but my own. I like that, I hate being in charge of shit, it gives me anxiety.
What inspires you as an artist?
Love and other mysteries.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
Yes! I’m going to have a solo show at Lipgloss Crisis opening on November 14 at 765 Chapel Street. It’s a really cool space that does a lot for local artists, so I’m super excited. This will be my first big show, so I’m in the process of doing a lot of troubleshooting (i.e. What is this ‘picture frame’ thing you speak of, can’t I just tape it to the wall?).
What will be in the show?
Work I’ve done over the past three years. I’m thinking about calling the show Self-Realization, because some of the common themes are plastic surgery, positive affirmations and the divine which all seem to converge around aspiration, and, especially in the case of plastic surgery, a realization of some idea of a higher or better self. I’m realizing (no pun intended) there’s also a lot of subtext about gender performance and especially the female identity (not necessarily as it correlates to biological sex). I’d like to create some interactive pieces for the show as well, maybe like a Faux-tox (as in Botox) photobooth. We’ll see, you’ll have to come to the show! I can guarantee lots of goodies.
How does New Haven inspire your artwork?
I like that I can make artwork here. There’s enough going on to keep me engaged, but not so much that it distracts me from my work. I grew up in Los Angeles and lived in NYC for a while, and there are so many competing interests in a city. I always found it hard to settle into a strong practice. New Haven is relatively affordable, there are great resources, good food and where I live is walking distance from downtown, yet the view from my kitchen window is all parks, trees and rolling hills. Nature is essential to a good life and healthy practice.
After I took some portrait photos of Petra, we collaborated on a project together called Shadow Bathing, here is a sneak peak: