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Insights of an Eco Artist

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In conversation: Bianca Turner

Insights of an Eco Artist Team

Bianca Turner is an artist whose work explores the evolving essence of life and nature, while also bringing awareness to societal issues. Her compositions aim to inspire hope and success for the future, encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their actions and be a catalyst for change.

2 May 2023

Turner is a self-taught artist; she holds degrees in economics and biology. Her paintings hang in private and corporate international collections, and at Haegeumgang Museum in South Korea. Her work has been featured in various art publications. She received the Woman Art Award from MUSA International Art Space in 2018 and 2020. In January 2020 she was awarded with the Leonardo da Vinci International Prize - The Universal Artist, which she received in Florence, Italy.

In June 2021, Turner was part of the curatorial team who organized the art exhibition of HRH Archduchess Gabriela von Habsburg, in Romania. Turner was also one of the main media sponsors, along with Forbes magazines, of this European cultural event.

In January 2022, Turner became an IAVA-UNESCO artist. Turner is an Associated Professor at the University of West, Visual Arts Faculty in Timisoara, Romania. She is the author of "The Business of Art" - lectures and seminaries.

Turner works from her home studio in Los Angeles. Her 2023 art projects include a solo exhibition at The Artists' Gallery in Los Angeles, two solo exhibitions in Europe, one of them being at the opening of the Modern Art Museum in Alba-Iulia, Romania and a solo exhibition at Sasse Museum of Art, Pomona,California.

In January 2023, Turner was nominated as one of the "Top 30 Women Leaders To Look Out For in 2023" by The NYC Journal.

Artist statement

The art that I create is deeply inspired by nature and its vivid colors, and by the societal issues that surround me. I see art as “the definition of infinity”; my work explores the continuous transmutation of the evolving essence of life and nature. Visions and words turn into colors and textures to create new narratives in this dimension of infinity.

As an artist, I feel that it’s important to bring awareness to the world regarding various problems that affect us, as a whole; therefore, I focus on sending out a message to everyone, about real problems that the regular people have, trying to make each person think about what an individual’s impact in this life is. I am convinced that we all must leave a legacy behind us for the future generations and my job is to transpose this concept from my art to my public. The purpose is to make my fans and the ones who see my work understand that Future, Hope and Success of the next generations start with every one of us. We should not say “I hope” - we should always say “I am hope” – this is at the foundation of my compositions.

As someone with degrees in economics and biology, how do you think your background in these fields has influenced your artistic practice, and do you see any intersections between them?

I know that for a lot of people it seems strange to say that I find a lot of connections between economics, biology and visual arts. However, this interdisciplinary intersection exists (or at least, I found it and put it into practice). From marine biology, I've learned how to draw the flora and fauna that exists in the water. I found a lot of calmness and relaxation when I was drawing every creature that lives in the depths of the ocean. Spending hours underwater, where I explored the beauty of that field, gave me a lot of inspiration. All the colors, the marine vibes and the underwater surreal world gave me a lot of ideas and made my imagination go wild from the point of view of an artist but also as an anthropologist where I imagined new species appearing thousands of years from now, either by the interbreeding of species or by the genetical mutations generated by the climate change. At some point, I had enough art inventory created based on the theme explained above; therefore, I had to do something with all that valuable work. That's how I started to create my own marketing campaign - by applying everything that I've learned from the economics field. I knew that I had to sell my artwork. In the beginning, it was time-consuming to put together all the items that were needed for my marketing plan. Fortunately, having a PhD in economics helped me with doing research about what is necessary for an artist to become successful.

Your work often explores the relationship between nature and societal issues. How do you see these two themes intersecting, and what do you hope to achieve through your art in terms of raising awareness and prompting action?

Lately, I've been giving a lot of thought to how the war in Ukraine is affecting the climate, nature, ecology, and the universe in general. I asked myself questions like: is it possible that all the bombings produced by Russia in Ukraine shook the tectonic plates so much that there were devastating earthquakes in Turkey and the surrounding areas? Or how was the constant noise of the shelling affecting the animals? How many creatures died in the carnage produced by the cruel war brought upon Ukraine? How is the ecology going to be impacted by this war? And of course, I think of the future and the way people will deal with this primitive and barbaric invasion from a psychological point of view. We have a clash between what's old and new, what's freedom and anarchy, what's right and wrong, what's beneficial for society and what's traumatizing for a group of people. There is an ethnic cleansing practiced by Russia against other cultures. Of course that this tragedy will have an impact on the whole entire world including nature, ecology, psychology, etc. Everything is interconnected on Earth and the domino effect will touch all of the biological creatures. However, it is every individual's duty to raise awareness about these issues. That's the message that I want to send through my art to the entire world - you and I are the hope for future generations. I don't like to say "I hope". I believe in the notion that "I am hope" and "We are hope".

It's Complicated by Bianca Turner. Image courtesy of Bianca Turner.

You have won numerous awards and been featured in various art publications. How do you balance commercial success with the integrity of your artistic vision and message?

First and foremost I am always interested in sending my message to the public. Then, if my work creates strong emotions and the potential art collector has the impulse to buy my art due to the feelings that my paintings inspire, I feel that I did something good. My work ethics makes me focus on the message that I create and then I think about how to commercialize my art. I am more interested in being known as the artist with a bold statement shown on the canvas than the artist who is after making sales and transforming her work into a brand. That's definitely not me. However, I found out that being honest about the way I approach art generated sales of my works. I know that the most important tool that a salesperson should use is sincerity and transparency.

How do you approach the process of creating a new piece of art, from ideation to completion, and do you have any specific techniques or rituals that help you stay focused and productive?

I am very disciplined with my time and how many hours per week I allocate to my own marketing; for me, the most important thing is to create a good "product" - if the art I create is good then it sells. Part of my weekly routine is as follows: on Monday I have an office day when I spend almost 60% of my time answering emails, preparing my materials for the upcoming exhibitions, scheduling my posts for social media, updating my website, etc. Every Wednesday I apply to approximately 20 new "Call for Artists" that I find online and appeal to me. During the rest of the days, in the morning, while I drink my coffee I answer my social media fans, I post on Instagram and Facebook and the rest of the time I spend in my studio developing my artistic skills for more than 10 hours per day. I can say that I focus 100% on my career daily because I do not have a "9 to 5 job". I also wrote a book about "The Business of Art" (lectures and seminars) to help other artists with creating a ritual and be disciplined. I wrote the book during the weekends when half of the time I spent writing and the other half, painting. When I start a new painting, most of the time I do thorough research about the subject/theme that I have in my mind. I've noticed that my artistic process is probably different from the one that artists who graduated from Visual Arts schools have. They start creating based on their emotions, whereas I start creating based on an idea, a word, or a concept - I analyze and research before I start a painting because I bring out the abstract of everything. So I need to think before I create.

Diversity is the key (the love story between a sea slug and an octopus) by Bianca Turner. Image courtesy of Bianca Turner

Your work often features vibrant colors and intricate textures. How do you choose your color palette and materials, and what role do these elements play in conveying your message?

I love and respect nature. I steal from nature the vibrant colors; nothing can be more beautiful than what our planet has to offer us. That's why I recycle a lot; I feel that we all need to do a better job to protect the Earth. Most of the materials that I recycle end up on my canvases; I use a lot of mixed media because I do not like to waste supplies of any kind. By doing this I would like to believe that I send the message that I care about the world we live in and that other people will follow my example. The intricate textures appear in my art as a leitmotif because I like to analyze the world through the lens of a microscope and there I am totally immersed in a different "huge microcosmos". I have two microscopes in my art studio and many times I get inspired by what I see under the lenses.

As an Associated Professor at the University of West, Visual Arts Faculty in Timișoara, Romania, how do you balance your teaching responsibilities with your artistic practice and other commitments?

I have to admit that this is harder than I've imagined because I work with galleries, artists and students located all over the world, so adjusting my time based on different countries and continents is kind of hard. However, I still stay disciplined and I use every free moment that I have to create art. So less free time, no more Netflix and just painting when I am off my academic duties.

You have been named one of the "Top 30 Women Leaders to Look Out For in 2023" by The NYC Journal. What does leadership mean to you in the context of being an artist, and how do you hope to inspire future generations of artists?

When I used to work in corporate America I was aware of the fact that people do not care about how much you know but people know and appreciate how much you care. Being a leader for more than 25 years, I see leadership as being a mentor, a coach, a team builder and a supporter, of surrounding myself with people who make me become better and of promoting others. I don't consider myself a successful leader if the people from my team do not grow and/or advance in their careers. I apply the same principle to my job as a professor and also to my job as an artist. Although most artists work just for themselves, I am always the one ready to help and empower other artists. In this way, I discover more things about myself as an artist and I become a better critic of my work.

Diversity by Bianca Turner. Image courtesy of Bianca Turner.

In addition to your solo exhibitions, you have also been involved in curating and sponsoring cultural events. How do these experiences inform your own artistic practice and outlook on the art world?

As I previously mentioned, I like to work with other people, mentor them to become better in what they do and overcome the obstacles that arise many times when I am in charge of an event. I know that from every experience, even if it's a challenging one I learn something new and it will help me in the future.

You have authored "The Business of Art" - lectures and seminars. Can you give us a glimpse into some of the key themes and takeaways of this work, and how it may be useful for aspiring artists and art professionals?

During my artistic career, I've noticed that a lot of self-taught artists or artists who graduated from the Visual Arts schools, do not have any contact with the pragmatic side of the art world. Everyone was just accepting the myth of the "starving artist". Doing some research regarding the well-known artists from the past five hundred years, I found out that most of them had a very stable financial situation either inherited from their families or accrued throughout their careers. Therefore, my book focuses on how to become a successful artist, what marketing tools you need to conceive a good marketing campaign, how to build your artistic reputation and how to balance your time between becoming an entrepreneur in the art world and still spending most of your time creating art.

Lastly, is there any artist, podcast, book, or platform you would like to recommend?

I will always be a Banksy admirer due to the cleverness of his art and the message that he sends to the world. I also admire Henri Rousseau because his career was similar to mine - he was known as "Le Douanier" because he was a tax collector and a self-taught artist. Ernst Haeckel is also an inspiration to me because he was a biologist and a fantastic painter, creating one of the best collections of drawings of mostly underwater micro-organisms. The last two artists that I've mentioned, bridge two different disciplines (economics and science) with art.

Cover Image:

Love without Borders by Bianca Turner. Image courtesy of Bianca Turner.

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