Interview with Madison Rengnez

Madison Rengnez | Brazil

I have always loved drawing. Since childhood, I would scribble on paper and all other media to express myself. I worked on many subjects over the years but portraits always somehow captivated my attention much more. There is something more about portraying a person than merely reproducing face features. Though my work is realistic and represents with exactitude my models, I always aim to bring some soul to it. I always work with the pencil, and from there develop the drawings with charcoal, ink, watercolor and digital painting. I like to create drawings separately and make compositions digitally. It allows for more freedom and experimentation. Even if I often use the computer to finish my work, the biggest part is done manually, especially the drawing. Working with my hands just makes me feel much more connected to the subject, my feelings and the medium.



Contemporary Art Station: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

When I was about 4 years old, I went to visit Le Musée du Louvre in Paris with my parents. I don't have exact memories but I do remember that I was in awe surrounded by so much art and craft. After we came back, my mother told me that I asked her for a pencil and some paper and I have never stopped drawing since. Being an artist has always been a deep calling for me and I always feel kind of down when I don't listen to my creative urges and stop to create for mundade reasons. I guess being an artist is just a big part of who I am.

CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?

I usually get inspired from my model, especially its expression. I start from there and build around. The face is always the focus. I like to combine elements, such as textures, flowers, objects or letters to add some drama and enhance the emotion. I usually stop working when I feel I managed to translate the person's essence on the media.

CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?

It depends. When I have a comission, I start creating from a photo reference. I try to imagine what the model if feeling, "read the eyes" and usually get inspired by that energy. I like to connect in that manner. I also love to create things or images that I have lived in dreams, letting the subconscious express itself... It is also very satisfying and makes me feel very complete.



CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?

I feel that art has a binding function. People get separated into categories for all kinds of different reasons. Art has the power to break through barriers and find a common ground between all of us. It digs deep inside into what makes us human and make us realize that we are all not so different after all. I guess it's the perfect equilibrium between individual expression and a universal feeling of being connected to each other. You can witness this very well during concerts!

CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.

I love the work of Gabriel Moreno. His "Queens" series is astonishing given the size and technique. I really envy his craft and aspire to attain such a level.
Esra Røise is another artist who I admire. I love the way she mixes techniques making it beautiful, fresh and seemingly effortless.
I am a big fan of Banksy. He conveys messages in the greatest manner. He is one of the masters of self-expression.
I also have great admiration for historical artists such as William Bouguereau and his crafted portraits, Gustave Doré and Eugène Delacroix for their amazing ability to tell stories and create dramatic imagery.

CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?

Keep working... and don't give up. 
A lot of people talk about talent when it refers to art but the truth is work is as important if not more. Dedication, practice and some sleepless nights seem to be necessary to mold ourselves into what we aspire to be.

Fleurs du mal

Fleurs du mal

CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist? 

I feel like it is still an ongoing process. I guess it has a lot to do with what goes on in your personal life. The more you know yourself the more you develop as an artist.

CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own? 

Spend some time alone, with people, in nature, try all kinds of techniques, change environment. I guess the key is stimulation. See what types of subjects resonate with you, which kind of craft appeals to you. Each artist is unique and finding your voice can only be done by you.

Thank you Madison!