Antonia Aslh

Biography:

 

My art work is very much linked to my inner life and experiences I have lived through and people I have encountered throughout my life. I have lived in many different cultures so far, which has created a richness inside, but also some confusion. I make sense of my emotions and impressions by making collages, it’s also a cultural expression and how I look upon being human.

One of my biggest inspirations is surrealism because I am fascinated by combining things that seemingly don’t belong together and by taking things out of its original context. I love Max Ernst, for example, he has made a lot of morbid collages by using vintage illustrations and his paintings are also impressive. I studied his works in high school and he has been part of my life ever since. Every time I look at his art I get new ideas.

In general, it fascinates me to produce a result, which cannot be understood immediately  because it does not exist in reality. I feel as if the viewer is forced to think more subconsciously rather than rationally when looking at an image, which is a fantasy or abstract.

 

 

My life has been very colourful both with positive and negative experiences, which motivate me to create.

I have a multi-cultural background, which adds a lot of layers to my personality, but it also made it difficult for me to find an ‘identity’.

I was born in Sweden, but I grew up in a small village in the South of Germany. My mom is Croatian from Dalmatia and my dad is Swedish.

I spent my childhood in Germany and finished high school there, and after high school I moved to Milan in Italy to study business and to learn Italian.

All my life I had very little self-confidence and I was very shy, so looking back it was a little bit too much for me to move to Milan, all alone (I didn’t know anyone) and coming from a village. I wasn’t ready for big city life, but still I went and I don’t regret it, but it took me some time to find myself, so to speak.

Growing up my life was calm, like you would expect it in the countryside and also very boring and uninspirational.

I have a sister who is a little younger and unfortunately we couldn’t connect as kids, as we were always in different phases of life, so we started developing a relationship later in life. We also have different temperaments, she is a little more Scandinavian and I am a little more Mediterranean.

She ended up settling in Sweden and I, well, I spent four years in Italy, some time in London and then I went to Croatia. I cannot say that I have found my base yet, but as of now I am staying in Zagreb. I will see where my art and my opportunities will take me.

After spending a year in Split in Croatia I am pretty sure that I can only be in a big city.

I have always been very creative, I was creating different stuff as a teenager, such as videos, collages and taking a lot of pictures, but I didn’t believe in myself enough to pursue a creative path. So, I decided to study business, and later in Rome I found my way into a fashion academy, which helped me to open a door to my creativity, but it took me long after to actually start ‘creating’. Or better, it took me long after to start believing in myself, as I really had zero self-confidence.

It was always my dream to be an artist, but I didn’t know how to pursue that path. After uni I was too confused and anxious to take an internship or job, and also I missed my family. I did have good friends in Italy, but I didn’t have my family there and most people were kind of negative when it came to finding a job because of the economic situation. Moreover, I was way too impulsive to be able to focus on building a serious life. After uni I tried to start my career in fashion in London, but I fell in love and focused only on the relationship, which ended quicker than expected, so I had kind of missed my career opportunities and I had to leave again.

A few months later I made it back to London, but I decided that I wanted to live in the Mediterranean again, so I moved to Split in summer of 2016, my mom’s home town, and decided to discover my roots.

That period in my life was one of the most difficult in my life, but also one of the most fruitful. My whole life I was running away from my anxiety and myself, but once I came to Split I was kind of stuck there and I had to deal with myself. The city is not big, so there are not many distractions. The economical situation there is bad, so I decided to focus on my art instead, which is one of the best things I ever did, but like I said, I kind of had to hit rock bottom first to get there.

Being in Split gave me a lot of perspective because I finally started to see all opportunities a big city gives you.

There is a lot of truth to the saying that you really start appreciating things once you experience the lack of something. The brain is kind of stupid in that way, but what can I do, I am very stubborn, sometimes I have to hit my head in a wall to gain understanding.

So yes, the past year has been very transformational because I found enough courage to start creating and I started publishing my art on Instagram. Back then it was such a huge step to me. Now I am starting to see that it wasn’t much of a big deal, it’s just one of many steps.

I am a lot more mature now than I was when I was 19. Now I understand why a lot of kids take time to travel before they study because it’s impossible to know your path when you are in that age, or have the courage to pursue it for that matter.

After high school I went straight to uni without giving it any thought. Two schools and fours years later, I needed some time for myself to put everything into perspective. I found a lot of perspective during my time in Split.

I also realised that you will never build a stable and successful by yourself. You need a lot of emotional and mental support. My family was able to help me with finances, but they could not provide me with the emotional support that I needed, and I was a pretty lost all by myself in Italy. I had friends that I was with but I didn’t have a parent that could help to nourish me and guide me.

If you want to get somewhere you really need to have a sharp focus, and most definitely believe in what you do, preferably do it with passion.

In the end I am thankful for the opportunities I was given, the hardships that caused a lot of pain, and my failures, for in the end I have grown and been able to move forward. And now I finally make my art, which feels like hitting the lottery because all my life, all I ever wanted was to express myself and create.

Now I want to create a life with this and collaborate with a lot of other artists, and continue to grow.

 

 

Extra note:

 

There is another important part to my life, which is an integral part of my biography and explains a lot, but it is very personal and concerns my family, so at this point in my career I don’t feel like publishing that. I don’t mind talking about it, but it concerns other family members, so I think it’s better to keep it private for now, but it explains a lot of things, e.g. my anxiety and lack of identity.

 

Basically my family is dysfunctional and my parents have very particular personalities. I think my dad has undiagnosed Aspergers, which is why he has trouble showing his emotions and lives in his own world. He is highly intelligent, but lacks other skills that most normal humans have.

His behaviour has impacted me a lot because growing up I never got a hug from him for example as he is very uncomfortable with close physical contact.

Because he does not understand emotions he was not able to nurture, understand and support me. This goes back a very long time, but I think these things are ultimately the reason why I create because I have all these experiences of ‘abuse’ and ‘neglect’, which I process with my art.

On top of that my dad is also a little narcissistic, so instead of helping me to nurture my own interests, which are all of creative nature, he only monologued about his obsessions and other stuff that I don’t like.

I didn’t know anything else growing up, so it took me really long to get to this understanding to be able to see that I am normal, it’s my environment that isn’t.

I don’t think my mom has Asperger, maybe slightly. I think she might be borderline or just hurt from her difficult childhood, which she still claims to me that it was great. But I know it’s not. That is also the real reason why I moved to Split because I was fed up having to second-guess why my mom is so abusive towards me and my sister. Nobody in my life has hurt me as much as my own mother, so coming to that realisation was a lengthy and tough process.

My sister was always less attached to our parents and not living in their fantasy world, so she left home when she was 14 years old.

So, all in all I can say that my immense anxiety comes from the neglect and emotional abuse that I experienced from my parents.

 

 

 

 

Also another thing, growing up we had more than enough money, but instead of investing it, my parents spent everything to the point were they were out of jobs and had to sell everything, which is why they left Germany and moved to Split, which okay I don’t mind, but they didn’t tell anyone they were broke. They basically just broke all relationships with everyone and pretended that they wanted to start a new business in Split, lol.

This happened within the last two years, when I needed emotional support to grow into an adult and start my career, but they couldn’t provide me with that.

Around that time I started realising that something is seriously wrong and I started investigating and later I realised how upside down everything is.

This experience is something I cannot quite put into words because I idolised my parents my whole life and my whole life was always about them since they are pretty narcissistic. I thought my family was great and my life was too despite the fact that I was suffering and miserable. I always put the blame on myself, which is why I felt so much shame and guilt, which is the root of my anxiety. Waking up to the reality of things and the fact that my family is dysfunctional was terrifying, but obviously a necessary step in my development, to finally start building my own life.

 

This has been my whole life so far, and now after doing a lot of healing, research, going to therapy, taking care of myself, I am strong enough in myself to follow my dreams, but I had to put a lot of effort into getting there and it was the most difficult thing I ever did.

 

Thanks to my dedication to wanting to understand my suffering I am finally able to enter a new phase in my life where I can focus on creating and building a great life based on love and good energy, and I have set myself free.

I still didn’t totally forgive my parents, but I started forgiving myself, so I am finally able to let go of shame and guilt, and build a healthy self-confidence.

 

I am very motivated by this life experience because I don’t want anyone to experience this kind of pain, so I really just want to tell people how beautiful life is, how important it is to express all emotions, both good and bad and how important it is to love onself.

 

So, since you are going to represent me on your website, you don’t have to talk about this experience (sad though that this is my whole life lol), but I think it will help you to gain a better understanding as to how I think and function.

 

I mean I would like to be a positive voice for mental health issues and people who grew up with abuse, but I cannot do it now. If I would just talk about a bully from school, fine, but these are my mom and dad and it’s my whole life. I don’t want to put my own suffering in the forefront I would rather focus on my inspirations.

Well, I guess time will tell how I deal with this in a public way, but I think it’s a little difficult to make sense of my biography without knowing what really happened, but maybe we can find my a common thread, something like multi-culturism, curiosity, etc.

 

General thoughts about art and how I got started:

 

I am very interested in the development of people and their growth, it is something I find very inspirational. Through my art work I want to inspire people and I would like to share my vision of beauty. I like the ethereal, surreal, magical and unreal yet real. I also want to provide people with an experience of something like a state of meditation, serenity and tranquility when they look at my art work. I want to give something positive to people in the form of visual art.

 

My art is also about discovering who you are and living the journey called life in the best way possible. It’s about self-acceptance and exploration of the self. As I have mentioned in my biography I am very much inspired by own life and the cultures I grew up in, and also because of my parent’s unawareness of communicating differences, which caused an inner conflict for me.

 

Misconceptions about art:

I have observed that many people feel that art is obscure and unreachable. For example, a few months ago I had a discussion with a friend, and he told me that art is pointless. I don’t think so, I am a creator myself and I have a lot of respect for others who also create. I think it’s a very noble thing to do.

In general I have a passion for art and all kinds of creations. In my opinion it’s a very empathetic endeavour and an important way of communication. We can understand each other better because of art and we are able to have different types of conversations with each other. Furthermore, I think art can be very powerful and a constructive tool to create change and awareness around different topics. I am convinced that the world is a better place because of art and beauty in general. We have to elevated our senses. These ignorant opinions, which one of my friends had, is also one of the reasons why I am an artist. It’s a general misconception because people are uneducated about art and in many places in the world it is seen as something unnecessary. I grew up in a small village and art was generally seen as something not to be pursued and artists generally had a reputation of being freaky. Yes, creativity is a little bit unpredictable and the brain does connect differently, but it does not make you strange or a freak. Building your own world and sharing it with the world is an honourable thing to do, it’s definitely not a waste. I want to be a positive voice for art and I also want to show people that art is a wide spectrum, it’s not just paintings and drawings.

 

Moreover, people are often not aware of how much work actually goes into the creation of art work. It’s not just the act of creation in itself, it’s also everything around it. You have to be very courageous to look within because ultimately what you create is something that you take from inside of you. Once you start looking within you won’t like everything you find, so you need to find a way to deal with that too. You also need to think about how other people will perceive you.

For me, this process has been very tough because I did not have any creative confidence at all and I had no clue who I was. It was always my dream to create and to be an artist, but I was paralysed, I simply could not create, until I reached a point and said, fuck it, I’ll just start now.

This crucial step was inspired by people along the way, who are artists, and being in their presence just rang a bell inside of me. That helped me to reconnect some parts inside of me that had been disconnected before. When I started creating I was surprised that I got a lot of very positive responses from people and I was even more surprised that people who knew me were surprised that I was creating art. This just shows that often we perceive ourselves totally different from how other people perceive us. Sometimes not, but often it is the case.

 

You don’t have to know how to draw to be an artist:

I started creating collages with a real dedication a little over a year ago. Already ten years ago I was making collages, when I discovered that technique in high school. Back then I liked it and it just clicked with me, but I was blocked creatively and I was thinking, well it’s just collage, what will I did with that? And also my environment was just really uninspiring.

Ever since I was introduced to the technique I have been doing collages every now, but I decided to dedicate myself to it last year only. Another reason for being creatively blocked is the fact that I don’t like to draw, I never learned how to draw nicely and I thought I can only be an artist if I know how to draw, which is a total misconception. People generally think that if you are an artist you need to be able to draw, which is not true. You can be an artist without drawing. I think it’s time to stretch the meaning of an artist a little bit. There are so many ways we can create, which does not involve a pencil.

Inspiration:

 

My life:

 

Generally speaking I have to say that I draw a lot of inspiration from my life including all sad and great experiences, encounters with people, falling in and out of love, cultures I have lived in and languages I have learned, my own mind, and I how I relate to all my experiences.

 

People and relationships:

 

I love people and meeting people gives me a lot of energy. I would not think and act the way I do today if I would not have met amazing people along the way who have supported me and by whom I have been inspired. There are several key people in my life that have definitely altered the course of my life and they are in a way part of my creations. I would like to start telling stories about them in future and interpret all their different colours, which I perceive.

In that way I have many muses that I draw inspiration from. I am very interested in different aspects within a person and how someone expresses his or her emotions. I love the physical beauty of people too, but ultimately it’s their personality, style and energy that makes them a muse for me. I am especially inspired by other artists.

 

Self-criticism, anxiety and depression:

 

I experienced a lot of anxiety in my life, especially social anxiety and for most of my life I have been very critical towards myself, which is also a reason why I could not focus on making art earlier because I simply did not believe in myself.

In the past few years I grew a lot, but it is only within the past two years that I got better with my social anxiety and it is within the past year that I have been changing my inner critic towards a more positive voice. Last year I was depressed because I felt as if I had lost a sense of direction in my life, so I started focusing on my art, which helped me to start a new conversation with myself.

I think that feelings like anxiety and depression contain a lot of energy, so if you are able to rephrase them and create a constructive story around it, I think that it can be an opportunity. However, I know how difficult it is because when you are depressed you don’t even want to get out of bed and when you are socially anxious you are scared of everyone around you, so that also does not help you to move forward. I guess never giving up hope and still staying optimistic in a way helps to turn those thoughts into something more positive step by step.

Due to these emotions I did not take a lot of opportunities because I was simply to scared, but now I am using this as fuel for my art.

Experiencing difficult emotions is part of life, so I make it part of my art work. Making collages helps to take apart anxiety because anxiety is essentially based on the illusion of perfection. By making surreal images, actually by taking seemingly perfect images apart I rephrase this notion in the head. I want people to see that things are not necessarily how we think they are and the way we treat a subject and the perspective around it can change.

I find beauty in everything, even in pain.

 

Femininity:

 

I love women and female beauty. I think women are incredibly beautiful, very delicate and poetic. To me every woman is a flower and I am fascinated with femininity because it can be expressed in so many different ways. Depending on one’s personality, body and style a woman can be edgy, romantic, classy, masculine, tomboyish, like a princess, like a queen, androgyn, curvy, etc.

There are no limits in how femininity is expressed, and that is a concept I find very exciting. I mean, of course, if we look at models and actresses there is a general standard of beauty, which is considered more desirable than others, but I think we live in times when this is slowly changing and the notion of beauty becomes less rigid and starts embracing the fact that true beauty comes from being oneself. I am not against beauty standards in that sense because I find a lot of inspiration there too. I use a lot of images from models to create my collages, but I do think it’s more exciting to find the uniqueness in each individual, which can be found in their humanity and the way they express their emotions, needs, desires, passions. Most of my collages contain something feminine because the female body inspires me and I also find it mysterious.

 

Poetry and music:

 

I write poetry and I am very inspired by music. I was making collages before I started writing poetry, but writing poetry is what helped me crack my creativity open. This means that without my poems I would not be able to create the images I create today. Poetry gives me the opportunity to express my emotions in a very authentic way. I am poetic, so I like to write in a romantic and mysterious way. This quality can also be found in my collages. I like to tell the story of a sentiment by combining different colours, shapes, creating layers and new connections.

I seek to always add something light and ethereal.

Also, like in writing poetry, there are no rules in collages. I don’t have to follow grammar to write a nice poem. I also don’t have to follow reality to make a collage. I think there are a lot of connections between poems and my images.

I have several collages that were directly inspired by a song. I especially like rap and hiphop because I like good lyrics, storytelling and beats. Some of my main inspirations are Kanye West, Eminem, J. Cole, G-Eazy, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z. It inspires me that musicians are able to create art, which is so biographical, which makes it very authentic. Moreover, I also listen to a lot of electronic music. I see myself as a DJ, but instead of working with music I work with images. I take digital images and remix them into something new. Naturally I love a lot of remixed music. I just love to connect parts that are from different sources and create something beautiful out of that and see how surprisingly nicely it can fit together.

 

Isolation:

 

As much as I love people and parties I also take a lot of inspiration from being with myself. When I create I have to focus. I cannot be talking to someone at the same time, I really need to focus all my attention on the act of creation, I can listen to music, but that is about it. If I want to create something really good I need to be silent by myself. I don’t necessarily need to be alone, but I need to be for myself, at least in my head space.

Furthermore, I also use the time of being by myself to recharge my batteries, connect with myself and to feel serene. Ultimately I need to have a balance between solitude and socializing.

All in all, I do think that isolating yourself sometimes brings out a lot of creativity because you are not distracted. I like to work with zero distractions.

Also, I was kind of isolated when I started making my art in Split because it’s a really small city, so you don’t have the same distractions like in other big cities. So, in a way I was lucky that I found myself there because I put me in a situation where I had to start creating.

Also, I isolate parts of images because they contain something I like and put it together with other isolated parts. Isolating something helps to put attention to a certain part and tell a story around it.

 

Transformation:

 

I am passionate about change, evolution and transformation. I believe that many of us undergo transformations throughout our lives, which helps us to grow and gain more depth as individuals. I like to use the collage technique for that because I can take humans, silhouettes or parts of bodies and change them or put them in a context, which is surreal. Every time we are in the middle of a transformation, I think that we are experiencing something surreal. This moment of silence, yet profound change is incredibly foreign, yet naturally human.

For example, all of us experience puberty, when we change from child to man or woman, it is new to us, yet our body knows how to handle it and if we let go and just accept what the changes bring, the process is smoother.

I think most transformations that we undergo as adults are of a mental and emotional nature, and it is very much connected to our perspectives and of we see things. We might change a belief about ourselves, which helps us to move on, or we might enter a new love relationship, which transforms us. Either way, whatever transformation we go through, I do believe that each one of us does stay the same at the core, in some way, we will always be ourselves, but certain changes help us to show more of who we truly are.

Every time I create a collage I transform something. For example, I transform a static silhouette into something that contains more depth, more emotions and more mystery. So, I find it more interesting because when I look at it I don’t necessarily understand it with my rational brain, but I  still find it beautiful. I like to challenge what is possible and see what results I can get.

Surrealism:

 

I love surrealism. One of my biggest inspirations is surrealism, which makes it obvious why I make collages. The connection of different realities that seemingly don’t belong together makes me ecstatic.

My life has been full of contrasts and very different experiences. Making collages helps me to synthesise all of that. Much of my life has been dominated by deep emotions I didn’t know how to handle, so my collage work is based on bringing the unknown to the known. I am fascinated by human life and emotions, as well as the way they can be expressed.

I prefer to create surrealistic images because I feel that they force the viewer to look at the subject in a more subconscious way rather than rationale way because often what can be seen does not make sense. I also believe that as soon as you tap into your subconscious you have to let go of conscious control because the subconscious has its own intuitive way of working. I think it’s a good idea to let go of control sometimes because it allows us to trust ourselves a little more, and trust in what we already know.

Max Ernst is one of my main inspirations and I love his morbid collages, as well as paintings.

 

Fashion, beauty and aesthetics:

 

I love high fashion and avant-guarde, it makes me very emotional. I am so sensitive that beauty touches me in a way that I feel it physically, I am moved by it. When I hit the right composition my collages touch me too, that is when I decide they are done. I am alone when I work, but really, my collages are about other people and their outer and inner beauty, which touches me so deeply that I have to express it in a way. I like unusual stuff, so I rather work with surrealistic, magical, mysterious and sometimes morbid beauty than classical beauty.

I also love clothes, which goes hand in hand with my love for women and people in general. I think we can express incredibly many and different messages through the way we dress. It’s also very emotional. Researching clothes through transforming them in collages also gives me a lot of satisfaction because it allows me to see things in a new way.

 

Curiosity and uncertainty:

 

I am curious to a point were it becomes extreme and I embrace uncertainty. When I start creating something I almost never know what the result will be. A lot of my work is based around improvisation, and I love that process of spontaneous creative expression. You feel the moment, you live the moment, you accept it and make the best out of it.

Of course, with the course of time I have developed certain styles, so I tend to follow a certain style when I create, but the result is still something new. I always want to make something new. I want to be innovative otherwise I get bored. I get restless very easily and creating something new keeps me entertained. I create for myself because I have a need to express myself, but I also create for others because I want to make the world more beautiful.

I think we experience anxiety because life is uncertain and we cannot control everything, and by making collages I am uncertain all the time, but I am still able to create something nice out of it, so it makes me more certain in life, ironically.

 

 

Contradictions:

 

I am very intrigued by combining elements that are contradictory in nature. I very much like images that are a little morbid like x-rays and skeletons, and combining that with a part of a beautiful women, which is soft and beautiful, and still being able to create a beautiful result inspires me. Or sharp objects, for example, combining a woman with a knife or scissors.

I also like to experiment with soft structures like skin and hard structures like stone or buildings.

Furthermore, I like to combine religious and spiritual symbols with the vanity of fashion. I am very inspired by the tranquillity of religious images and images related to prayer.

 

Not thinking and no limits:

 

I like to make collages because when I create I often don’t think. I just follow my instinct, pick out images and intuitively pick out what I think should be combined. Ultimately I am all for freedom of expression and freedom of being oneself, and to me, making collages is something that has no limits because there are no rules, I am the one who sets boundaries, and all images that exist are my playground. Like a painter who uses colour, I use existing images to make a ‘painting’.

 

Conclusion:

 

I am an artist who draws a lot of inspiration directly from my own life by meeting a lot of different people and having lived a very diversified life, so I talk a lot about myself and my own mind. I have deep emotions, and I channel my anxiety into my art, which also helps me to decrease it and ultimately build a healthy self-confidence.

I love being human and I have a big love for humanity, and it fascinates me how each person carries him or herself through life. Therefore a lot of my work is based on processing the experience of being human with all emotions that can be experienced by it into my art work. Beauty and women fascinate me in a way that I am physically moved by it, so my visuals go towards an avant-guarde aesthetic, which can be found in fashion. I like the unknown, I like the new, I like mysteries and I like creating images that don’t exist in reality.

Also, I want people to ultimately be themselves and totally embrace who they are, doesn’t matter how ‘different’ that is. I believe in supporting the individuality in each human.

 

Working method:

 

At the moment I mainly work digitally and my laptop is my studio. I mostly use photographs to create digital collages with the help of Photoshop. The majority of raw materials that I use are not mine, so I spend a lot of time researching images online. I like Photoshop because it’s a good tool when manipulating and cutting images, it also allows me to work very fast.

I have done several manual collages, I love working with my hands, so eventually I will get a studio, but I wasn’t as pleased with the result as much as with Photoshop. Manual collages have a different feel to them, which was a little too rustic.

I use a lot of photographs from the fashion world, but also nature, architecture, vintage illustrations, etc. I don’t limit myself when I search for digital raw material, but I do mostly go for fashion imagery. Then I add different layers, colours, effects etc. in Photoshop to create the desired result.

. I haven’t found the perfect medium yet, but so far I am going for classical art prints, which are framed and canvas prints.art workThe collages are digital, which are then printed onto different mediums to create the finished.

I was wearing 

The artwork is available for sale

 

 

Blues mountain

The artwork is available for sale

 

 

Gospa 

The artwork is available for sale

 

 

Balance act

The artwork is available for sale

 

 

Tranquillity

The artwork is available for sale

 

 

 

© 2023 by No Name Collective Gallery  

Art. Leaf Group Commerce.

All rights reserved.

Virtual Gallery West London

W7 2Jb UK  London UK 

 

Legal head Office

Amsterdam

info : info@nonamecollectivegallery.co.uk

 

London 

  • Google+ - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • no name collective facebook
  • no name collective instagram