Looking through Apolonia Sokol’s art work is like jumping into a time machine and going all the way back to when art was first incarnated. In her oil paintings, the work of French-Polish artist Balthus meets that of Japanese artist Hokusai and Whitney Houston deals with Salomé, the feminist heroine of the New Testament. With a particular talent for creating a dual feeling of strangeness and familiarity, the young French artist loves to portray her friends, lovers and even strangers she meets in her everyday life in her work. Her latest exhibition from October last year, Heartbreak Hotel, was presented during the inaugural FIAC art fair in Paris and featured a selection of new paintings on Apolina's interpretation of women, a running theme in the artist's work.
My approach to painting is animalistic, almost like a predator.
Didier Semin, the author and professor of Art History at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, says I'm carnivorous and haunted... My aim is to keep painting without compromising.
I love the people I paint.
It’s essential for me to travel and chance upon the right people, discover their history, unearth the perfect combination of lust and disturbing strangeness that exists within each of us. I embrace these qualities in others and the empathy and passion that arises from this can be felt in my work, but a good painting is more than just the model itself. Hockney painted his lover by the pool - he needed that specific body but now we only remember the pool and Hockney's art, barely the lover. Same goes with Caravaggio, Matisse or even Morandi’s bottles.
Music is the ultimate highway to a state of trance.
I can listen to the same tone over and over again when I paint. I have huge respect for performers and musicians who are capable of transmitting emotions directly. I love abstract sounds as well as pop from Steve Reich, Whitney Houston and Wagner to Bonnie Banane and Walter Mecca. My best friend is an amazing singer, she inspires me with her lyrics & experimental sounds on an everyday basis.
Scent is a powerful force in my life.
As I paint with oil, I'm constantly around the toxic fumes and fragrance of turpentine. That poison is elevating but it destroys my skin, hair, general health, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world – it is fundamental to my art.
Art is an intuitive language.
It’s so exciting to practice it's vocabulary by referring to other pieces from the dead as well as the living. One of the best ways for me to learn about history is through the art by the masters such Henry Taylor, Elisabeth Peyton, Jules de Balincourt. Balhaus is a sweetheart of mine at the moment.