Interview by Renee Phillips, director of Manhattan Arts International
Gaia Orion is an artist living in Ontario, Canada. She has gained international recognition by participating in many worldwide projects that are working toward constructive world change. In March, 2013 she was invited to participate in an international, itinerant, visionary show in Spain and France.
|Gaia Orion painting “Wholeness”|
The artist was also selected to be part of the Galaktic Card Project created by Delvin Solkinson – manager/editor of Alex Grey’s Cosm publication. This project features 144 visionary artists from around the globe in a deck of collector’s cards.
She has collaborated in the creation of a book written by Laurent Muratet with Gandhi International about “The New World Economy” with renowned French leaders and celebrities engaged in the environment, the economy, the political and philosophical life in France.
Suffice it to say Gaia Orion is an artist who is truly a world changer. I appreciate that she is a member of Manhattan Arts International, has won Awards of Excellence from us for her life-affirming, positive paintings, and has agreed to do this interview.
RP: Gaia, you have said you explore many archetypal themes that reflect the interconnectedness of our lives with the elements and cycles of nature. Who or what most influences your work?
GO: I am fascinated by simple and symbolic imagery from various cultures throughout history. I like strong lines, vivid colors and images that defy time, that feel like they always have been here, that have beauty because of their simplicity. I have a fascination for ancient and sacred forms of art. To me they have the same power as the simple beauty we find in nature, perfect symmetry, incredible colors and intricate geometry. This kind of beauty moves me deeply, transforms me, it has an effect that I can’t put into words.
In the truest sense nature is my biggest influence, mentor and source of inspiration; the closer we come to live with nature, the happier we are and the more harmony we feel inside and have in our lives.
|Our Journey, oil on canvas, 24″ x 24″. Artwork is copyright protected by the artist. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the artist’s permission.|
RP: Your artwork exudes a love for humanity, is embraced universally, and its heartfelt messages reach the heart and soul of everyone around the globe. I’m sure you’re received many positive comments about your art work. What do you consider to be the best and/or most accurate comment you have received about your art?
GO: I love what Diane Saunier wrote one day. She is the director and founder Arts de l’Eveil (Arts of Awakening) in France. I feel she really understands how being an artist for me is a holistic manifestation and how every aspect of my life is just as important as the act of painting:
“I commend Gaia for the consistency between her life as a wife, a mother, an artist, and her art; the balance between the inner and the outer, between nature and its reflection on our inner nature. In this sense, she embodies with perseverance and ease the holistic approach applied to all aspects of life. I admire it all, because it is a true talent, her clarity, simplicity and the efficiency of her vision. This gives great balance, which she offers to the mediation between the different expressions of this emerging world; from ecology to spirituality, from well-being to economy.
“We become powerful creators of our lives when we align ourselves to our soul purpose. This is how we can all become an agent of change, which Gaia puts directly into practice!”
|Free, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 36″. Artwork is copyright protected by the artist. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the artist’s permission.|
RP: I agree with her wonderful statement. I know you have many fans and followers. Who has been your greatest motivator/cheerleader for your career and why?
GO: My husband always shows great interest in people’s artistic endeavors. Within the first hour that we met 19 years ago I showed him some sketches that I had in my book and he complimented me so generously about them. From my small sketches he kept encouraging me to go onto large canvas. He always ‘pushed’ so that I spent money on framing my work and presenting it in a professional manner. He is the one telling me to go to the big galleries with my portfolio. Without him I would have never envisioned that my small sketches could become professional large paintings.
RP: What upcoming exhibition(s) do you have scheduled?
GO: I have been invited to a well-established European visionary group show for 2014 (www.chimeria.org) and will be part of another upcoming show with the Dreams and Divinities (www.dreamsanddivinities.com) group in Europe as well.
I have a solo exhibition scheduled for January 2015 in a gallery right in the center of Paris close to the Museum of Modern Art. I need to have at least 30 paintings for this event and I have just enough time to prepare for that! Galerie Espace St Martin, Paris, France. Opening will be January 10, 2015.
|Sacred Change, ink and watercolor, 22″ x 22″. Artwork is copyright protected by the artist. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the artist’s permission.|
RP: Gaia, I’d like to know, how do you define success for yourself as an artist?
GO: The first art gallery I went to see, the curator asked me: “Where are you heading? Where do you see yourself going with your art?” I spontaneously responded “I’m happy with what I have and if it stayed like this but I still have a big vision for it all.”
Success is like the concept of abundance. It has nothing to do with comparison or measurement instead it is really about being happy, content and have gratitude for what we have.
RP: Could you share what the greatest challenge you have had to overcome during your career?
GO: When I first started I felt very uncomfortable when the subject of money came up. With time and experience I found that people that are interested in purchasing art have a budget for it. I found that once I accepted that my work was worth what I was asking and that I presented myself as a professional, I was treated as such by prospective buyers and clients and the money part was never a problem anymore.
|Mother Nature, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″. Artwork is copyright protected by the artist. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the artist’s permission.|
RP: Gaia, I know that you have a busy creative life. In addition to your original oil paintings your artwork and eco-jewelry created from your images can be found in 70 locations across North America and Europe and you have been featured in over 25 different publications in Canada, U.S., France, UK, Taiwan and China. How do you manage your time to be most productive and nourish your creativity?
GO: The most difficult part has always been finding a balance of all the aspects that come in living the life of a professional artist. We need time and seclusion for finding inspiration but we also need to be out in the world as much as possible to share our work.
Gaia Orion recently received the Jill Conner Critic’s Choice Award in the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of ART” juried competition that attracted artists from around the world. About the award-winning painting “Autumn Reflection” Conner stated, “Orion captures the dynamic relationship of riveting contrasts that render dimension through resonance.”
Visit Gaia Orion’s website www.artbygaia.com View her artwork on Manhattan Arts International