ABOUT ANDREA VENTLING
Andrea Ventling is an emerging artist and Quay’s most recent addition to our artist base. Hailing originally from Switzerland, Andrea (who has a PhD in Marine Biology) and her husband came to New Zealand to study the local marine life at Goat Island in Leigh - an experience that saw her fall deeply in love with this wonderful country. “Living in Leigh, close to the ocean – diving in these warm waters, we felt we had arrived in paradise”, she explained when I visited her in her studio in Auckland.
The Ventlings didn’t come to NZ with the idea to immigrate, but upon return to Switzerland found they could not settle, “I thought – New Zealand is a country of possibilities, we can do anything here. I felt I could redefine myself, move away from scientific research and explore my creativity.”
Upon return to New Zealand, Andrea went ‘back to school’, taking an interior design course and subsequently working in design, specializing in bespoke paint finishes. Andrea is now in partnership with her paint and design business and is also moving forward her passion for art.
Andrea explains: “I have always done my art ‘on the side’ whilst channeling a lot of my creative energy into projects for others, now I feel it is time to use my creativity for myself instead of interpreting others ideas. I can delve deeper. Think about what has moved me in the past. Memories from my time as a scuba diver – what I have seen and done in caring for marine life and how I can bring that to my art. I want to invite people underwater with me. Not everyone has the courage to do it, so I can bring it to them! There is something really beautiful about marine life – its fragility is always evident, if we don’t look after it – it will be gone.”
The influence of the ocean on Andrea’s art is remarkable. Her work has an aura and depth that she achieves by using her recollections of underwater life together with her expertise in paint finishes to create art that almost pulses with life. “This foreign underwater world can be so spiritual, broken light, colors, movement – it is very meditative, almost a transcendental experience, I want to bring this to others.”
Andrea tells me a little of her process – “My inspiration is from my memories, from moments under water, pictures of underwater life help to take me back to that moment - the mood, observations and inspiration, light and shadows, what is up and what is down, everything exaggerated as the senses are dulled, sound is limited, currents are moving like curtains in the wind. I want all this conveyed in my work, I want you to feel like you are there, next to me – diving, swimming through fish, surrounded by them, immersed in the moment. That is why I work large scale, so that you can get lost in the painting, step into it, be ‘in’ it.”
Andrea brings her knowledge of paint techniques into her work with astonishing results – silver leaf polished with steel wool creates light and texture with a less ‘sheen’. Blonde shellac, inks and alcohol – sprayed, brushed, blended, colors manipulated – layer upon layer until the ultimate result of light, movement and mood is achieved.
Quay are delighted by Andrea’s stunning work and so very pleased to support her as an emerging artist.