Artist Interview with Marta Baricsa

Marta with Om natural green.

This blog starts out with a long overdue thank you to large scale painter and ARC artists in residence Marta Baricsa who very kindly had my most recent Body of Work six week workshop class into her home and studio to tell us a little bit about her process and share with us several of her bodies of work. Marta, Thank you so much for having us all over! 

 Marta with my workshop students, showing them her portfolio

My first burning question is about the title under you bio of "Founder of Directivism in art" I've never heard of directivism and would love to know what this is and how you came to found it and other artists that follow this... 

After painting for many years I came to notice that my works and the way I was doing my works were different than much of what I had seen and had been taught about in school. 
While all forms of creation are great I realized what some of the key differences for me were when painting. 

I knew that and was taught to cover my mistakes but I never did very well at hiding them. I also realized I wasn't making any "mistakes"... i.e I wasn't correcting anything in my work. And I wasn't building a surface and removing it to discover what I had put down previously mixed with what was fresh. And I wasn't building layer upon layer upon layer and covering up previous areas.

 Like I said not that there is anything wrong with that. Because there are lots of incredible artists doing paintings just that like that....but I just noticed my way was very different. I became outrageously confident in the marks I make and let what is there be there. It is like I am just allowing what is meant to be flow through me and how dare I be the judge of it?! 

So, I welcome the energy that is to be and I surrender myself to it. Basically if you x-rayed my paintings you would see what is only what has been there. 

Plus Directivism is also about a visual clarity. It is direct and to the point without being controlled. It is a point where I am conscious but have left the controlling logical mind behind. Those little voices saying...."change this"  or "that doesn't look right"  don't exist for me anymore. That is Directivism. While there aren't other artists I know of following this way of working....I can identify Directivist works. For example my partner Roy Mackey made a steel man called "naked man" which he literally built out of air. There is no armature, no building upon, removing....and his works have a real focus to them- so I would have to say he also is a Directivist for the most part.

"I consider myself a Directivist and I paint with deliberate intent.
The works are direct fluid movement that stem immediately from a source.
They can be linear or sculptural - concrete or random in composition.
I use minimal brushwork and the purist clean, clear paint.
Done with no corrections and only over painting where it is intended.
Because it is exact as it is meant to be."

"I am the founder of Directivism in art."
Marta Baricsa

Carbon line. 2006. Ink on primed canvas. 12 x 24"  

Going back a bit here, can you please tell us how did you passion for painting began?

My earliest memory is from kindergarten....having my hands in the paint and the exhilarated feeling of joy I felt - I knew from that moment what I was going to do in life is paint. As a teenager I attended Central Technical Schools art program and then later went to OCAD where I graduated from the department of experimental arts.


Have you ever had other jobs or passions or have you been a painter since graduating high school until now?

Yes, I have had other jobs some I was even passionate about! ...mainly relating to energy & movement based work. I taught, trained people in fitness, aquatics, stretching and swimming etc. I also was a Certified Fitness Consultant and performed fitness tests and made training programs for individuals. I also ran my own CPR & first aid business in Toronto & Vancouver. I trained - retrained and certified doctors, dentists and fitness professionals in CPR. While I enjoyed much of this I always felt painting was my main passion.

What's your favourite all time favourite art piece of yours and why? 

That is quite difficult for me to say....I have many favourites.  But I will include "Apollo" which I dedicated to my Mom.


Marta with Apollo

What's your favourite all time favourite art piece of another artist and why?

That is a hard one Deb. While I love many works of art I would have to say my partner Roy Mackey's "Flame Chair" stands out. Roy is an extraordinary artist and human being. His work is so new and creative. See for more on his work.

Can you please tell us the body of work you are currently working on and what inspired this series?

I am working on my Om paintings. They are focus meditation paintings. They are about clarity, focus of thought and being present. With many things that pull our attention these days it is my desire that these paintings help bring people back to a sense of awe and Om.

Here is a section I clipped from Wikipedia on Om which I find helps describe these works:

"Hindus believe that as creation began, the divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as sound "OM" before creation began it was "Shunyākāsha", the emptiness or the void. Shunyākāsha, meaning literally "no sky", is more than nothingness, because everything then existed in a latent state of potentiality. The vibration of "OM" symbolizes the manifestation of God in form ("sāguna brahman"). "OM" is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be "Adi Anadi", without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists The mantra "OM" is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, A-U-M represents the divine energy."

with Om new light.                                                                       

For you, what the best thing about being a painter?

Loving what I do. The freedom.... so many new ideas to explore....the paint itself,  the colours, the confidence I have when I have a paint brush in my hands. The excitement and the magic of the paint becoming what it is meant to be....and my hand in helping it become that. It is great feeling. 

For you, what 's the most challenging thing about being a a painter?

Wanting to have more steady income. Believing more in myself.....while I believe fully in the art and my process....I would like to feel the same about myself.

How would you define success for yourself as an artist? What are some success you have achieved thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

Wow! Well, the success of making the work very passionately is really key for me otherwise I think I would have to say I am a complete failure in all the other normal factors of a successful "career". Having a loving and supportive partner that helps and a caring family. Also hearing back from museum curators and gallery dealers mainly in the US that are all very positive and encouraging helps me stay on track. Selling paintings to clients is important too. Plus I am very fortunate to have had so much exposure in the movies and TV shows. 

Another success and actually quite a challenge was painting "Aequilibrium" a  27 x 20 foot tetraptych. Which I made just because I had a vision of it in my mind. My good friend, Rachel Berman, who is an incredible artist had just given me a huge bolt of canvas as a gift. And I knew I wanted to make something memorable with it.

Talking about success I noticed that you have many of your paintings in movies. I am curious how was your work found to be placed in these movies?

That is a bit of a long story...but basically my first rental was around 11 years ago a set decorator bought some small works of mine she saw at a store.  That was the movie "Life or something like it" with Angelina Jolie.

Then "Catwoman" with Halle Berry was going to being shot here in Vancouver. The production crews were going around the buildings with artists in them and they came upon the ARC building and put up a posting. They came in our studio and saw my works. They rented one painting and were looking for another painting to cover over a mirror and had asked me if I had something that would work. I went down to the set to have a look and then painted something specific for the movie. Later they were looking for many large paintings for the scene in Sharon Stone's mansion. I think they rented around 7-8 large paintings of mine for this movie. Carol, the set decorator really gave me a great opportunity. Not only did I get great exposure in the film....they also paid me very well. 

Then I heard from my neighbours who worked in the movie industry about the BC film commission list. So I began mailing off packages to the productions. Since then I have been in nearly 20 movie /TV productions. Most recently my paintings are in "This Means War" with Reese Witherspoon and also in "50/50with Seth Rogen....where he actually says a few words about my paintings.

What recent or upcoming shows/and or gallery representation can readers look out for or go and see of your work?

Some of my paintings can be seen in the Art Rental and Sales program at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Or come to one of our open studios which I post on my website and of course private studio visits can also be booked also.

Marta, Thank you for taking the time to partake in this interview!

Thanks for the interview Deb!

The ARC Uncommon Vision Show


JUNE 8th, 9th, 10th 2012

Fri & Sat: Opening Parties + Night Gallery 7pm - 12am
Sat & Sun: Day Gallery + Open Studios  12pm - 5pm
ARC Gallery:  1701 Powell Street @ Commercial map


The ARC, one of the only live work artist buildings in Vancouver, has been providing provocative "Uncommon" group exhibitions since 2003. It is a great way to see some truly local art.

With part of the proceeds going to Studio 101, an East Side Culture Crawl young artists’ initiative, this is an event that resonates with creativity and community spirit. “The ARC is an integral part of the Eastside Culture Crawl and a much-loved part of the community. It was particularly generous of the residents there to make Studio 101 a recipient of partial proceeds from Uncommon Thread 2011. We are very grateful that they have offered to do so again this year." (Jeffrey Boone, Executive Director of the Eastside Culture Crawl)

During the annual East Side Culture Crawl, the ARC has always been a destination building.  A dynamic residence of nearly eighty artists of multiple disciplines, home to some and a launch pad for others, this environment creates a stimulating culture for new and explorative art.

The Uncommon Vision show is the East Side "crawlers"  fix to get them through the 12-month gap, and the artists are eager to supply, with only their most pure
and potent works.  

Contact: Karen Moe /

Artist Interview: Introducing ARC resident Mir Agol

As pre-lude to the Eastside Culture Crawl this upcoming November 2011 (mark your calendar!) I'd like to share with you some of the amazing resident artists here at The ARC at Powell @ Commercial in East Vancouver ... Join us here and visit this blog from now until November and each month I will feature a new artist. See what we do, where we live, inside our studios, and what we create. Hear our stories. Join us in our journey here at the ARC and leading up to the Crawl.

For August I'd like to introduce ARC Resident Artist Mir Agol (birth name Elia Mishkis). Mir is one of the most capable, skilled, talented, and extraordinary artists and human beings I have ever met. Let me tell you a little bit about Mir and then let's ask him some questions and see some images of his work and go deeper into his creations.

Mir is graduate of The College of Art and Design with Excellence in Kharkov, Ukraine and earned a BA in Fine Arts and Design. Mir describes himself as an experienced artist and designer, a colorful and dynamic individual who possesses a unique combination of crafting skills and computer design experience. He has over 20 years of project experience involving corporate identity development; sandblasting, stained & leaded glass design, exterior design of modern sculpture gardens, teaching arts and crafts, exhibit design; and casting, modeling, and molding. Mir also has training and experience in classical drawing and painting (water color, acrylic, oil), Graphic Design, Photography, Typefacing, and is proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Corel Draw, and Fireworks.

He is fluent in three languages; English, Hebrew, and Russian. And, to top it off, he is a certified ski and snowboard instructor, avid rock climber, and unicyclist.

Mir, please tell us about your extraordinary childhood…about your childhood mentors and share with us some memories of your early experiences as a child growing up in art.

One night, when I was 7 years old, on a *Sylvester night, I wandered across the street from my home in Kharkov, Ukraine to the Design Academy located directly across from me, and befriended a couple of students form Design Academy.

I was a very easy communicative kid and joined them in a night of art, music and dancing. That night one of the artists, named Alyona, was very kind and danced with me. I met her boyfriend later that night when he asked if it would be possible for him to have a dance with his girlfriend. A friendship was formed and I fell in love with both completely.

[* Sylvester night: The night of the Holy Sylvester, the last night of the year, has always been the night of fools and a funny good time. The saint of this day, Pope Sylvester I, according to legend is the man who healed from leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.]

Eugene Zavarzin and Alyona - Each one was a personality – they let me follow them around the Art Institute, help out, and learn from them as they went about their studies and projects. I managed to become their small brother, apprentice, little colleague… I started by washing his paint brushes and then moved into helping to build small miniature 3-D building models because at that time there were no computers. They taught me how cut paper with exacto knife, use an air brush, juggle, play guitar… and later – how to make stained glass panels. It was an amazingly rewarding experience for me…. How lucky was I – it was an indescribable world of fun with two amazing human beings who were happy to have me around.

In your studio I notice many small metal sculpture which you said were models for your bigger installations, can you please tell us about these large metal installations that you do…

The first sculpture I would like to share with you is called Unity. It stands nine (9) feet tall and is made of steel and stained glass. This Piece was positioned on the patio of “The Perch” The ARC Cafe for 2 years. Then it was relocated to Peace Arch for the 13th annual Peace Arch Sculpture Exhibition. Here is a You Tube video showing other sculptures at that exhibit. Currently it’s displayed on the campus at University of British Columbia. Unity was also included in Public Art in Vancouver - Angels among Lions A book about Vancouver Public by John Steil and Aileen Stalker.

Unity was created from the inspiration of an infinite beauty and flow of opposite natures. The indescribable of an unknown from within a vortex of coexistence of feminine and masculine beginnings. It all comes from relationships through out life. With myself growing within relationships with many amazing friends I’ve been lucky to have in my life. It is a tribute to all those who generously shared with me some beautiful moments. Also – it is about Twin Flames.

Looking back, once I started to build this piece here in Vancouver… I realized that the very first sketch was made in Palestine in a little village of Sa-Nur, which was once an Artist Village where I lived, and in ruins now…

The first model was made of black and white paper. It was 8” tall. As I say this it brings tears to my eyes as so many of the people I knew back then aren’t alive anymore – I wish this piece to commemorate them too!

Once I have made Unity in its full size and in my the real full scale – my final vision of it - I feel like then I can die peacefully. For now, I have to say that it is not yet made the size I had envisioned it. The current sculpture you see in these pictures was built limited by the size of the workshop doorways… it is always a way of thinking with sculpture… how you can make it happen, with what you have around.

What is it like to work with metal?

I have these moments of an inspiration flow, as I get to play with little pieces of steel. Once I would get to weld – the pieces would just appear - much themselves…and there is that amazing feeling that you co-create… you let the creation flow through you… this is where art begins I believe… you are most happy being if you can just let it happen … through you. So – I call it metal sculpting metal origami often… I gathered a bunch of those smaller models that are in my studio, and I make them into their true size.

Can you tell us about the process of creating a sculpture this size and also how you would go about installing it…

As I mentioned before– I usually begin with a paper model. The very first sketch is a paper. This is where I listen to my inspiration… once it is heard, the rest is a simple magic of leaving the life in this dimension of materials around us…and a bit of a luck of that feeling of ‘resistance of materials ‘… some people have it… than it is possible to play with 3D art.

There is never an easy way – for me there isn’t – I’m not looking for one… I will always push my limits, and the limits of materials I play with – this is my time of pain and glory. And this is how I can hopefully make the viewer to stop and say: ‘ wow – this is cool!’ – and this is my best reward by the end of it all…

What made you choose to do this form -large metal and glass sculpture - of art work considering your broad background and training in so many other areas of art?

Thank you for your compliments, I actually think that I’m not nearly trained enough… but am interested in interconnection of medias…

I majored in Graphic Design and have always been fascinated with Font Building and Calligraphy for example… and I hope it comes through in my work with metal and glass…

Since computers took over - I realized – I cannot be in front of one more than 4 hours… so I had to look for other playground – fire is my nature – so it was quite easy to get to know to weld metal, fuse glass.

For glass I had a long time love… started when I was yet a kid. My first stained glass panel I made (with a lot of help of my blessed mentor – Eugene Zavarzin) when I was about 10 years old. It is an amazing material - latest research suggests – it is not even solid… as we perceive it….if we would of taken a piece of an old stained glass panel – say – a thousand years old… and look at the little piece from a side – we would see that the top is thinner than a bottom… - it is flowing! fact it is flowing in hour hands! We are just not meant to be quite synchronized with THIS flow….yet – we can play with this material, create beautiful things of it – isn’t it amazing?

(Yes, it is! By the way, acrylic paint flows as well, as it’s drying but also afterwards!)

What are art projects are you currently working on?

Just as I usually read quite a few books at a time… - I work on few projects at a time always…

Currently, I preparing to build one of my next pieces “Dialog’. It has a base of a ball about 4 foot diameter, and I am looking for an old Marine Buoy for the base.

I am also working on one commission – it is inspired by my piece which was exhibited in Havana Café – “Tall Ship Shadows”. A collaborated project with fellow artists – Gabriel Morosan and Sol Diaz – it is promising to be big scale and intriguing – lots of photography, nude, motion and…glass.

As well – I’m sketching out a new model – a piece which is about our current situation on the planet – relative proximity of apocalypses with an option of taking care of a place where we live… the name just came to me recently - “Requiem for the Earth”.

If someone reading this blog would like to see more of your work, visit an upcoming art show, or get a hold of you, how would they do so?

Mir, Thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule the to partake in this interview!