Local Talk: Q+A with featured Artist: Szilvia Revesz

First and foremost - your work is incredibly powerful in that there's this serendipity for how it comes together but the takeaway is or seems planned. How do you balance the two?

Thank you Robert. Yes, there is some planning in the process. First I have to decide which colors I am going to use and prepare the inks and dyes accordingly. Decisions have to be made, whether or not I want to add any additives to alter the pattern I want to achieve, but sometimes I do this while I am in the process. Once I face the tub filled with water, it is mostly intuitive how the design will evolve. That is when I need to focus and be still. A little clumsy movement or a blow of my breath can destroy the design. And of course there are other factors that needs be considered such as temperature and humidity. After all it is an alchemy.


I'm very drawn to a work you created in 2012 'Sumi Experiment, untitled 2012'. I feel energy at the core with a more perilous spirit throughout. Am I tapping into anything here? 

Yes, that was the time when I started experimenting with the process. I had no Idea where it will take me and I only used sumi ink at that time. I was just playing and I didn’t even record any of findings. I now have notes and color recipes in order to achieve certain patterns. Even then sometimes I am up for surprises. I try not to expect and I just go with the process and see where it takes me. 

What does growing up in Hungary contribute to this creative exploration that you have endeavored upon?

Growing up in Hungary, I had limited resources for any kind of creative exploration. I studied jewelry making and upon completion of my studies I worked as a bench jeweler. I worked for small jewelry manufacturing company. Although I studied design, there was very little demand for artistic exploration of the medium. I started my creative exploration when I moved to State site.


I'm also someone who has studied meditation and found it to be a game changer. How do different states of mind work themselves into your design approach and process?

It is the process that gets me fully centered. If I am too excited, rushed or agitated it just simply won’t work. But usually it is not the case, since the whole process is a sort of ritual. From the preparation of the ink to the creation of the design to printing and pressing of the print and finally the viewing to the final print. It is interesting to note that in the 15th century suminagashi marbled papers -the ancestor of Suimonga-were used as artworks to be contemplated during the Tea Ceremony. It is very Zen.


Based on the complexity of your final designs, what's the best way (i.e. conditions, state of mind,)  to experience them?

To experience Suimonga is also a meditation. Just like in the Tea Ceremony, the work needs to be contemplated on. It will evoke certain moods and feelings depending on the viewer. It is a visual journey. 

I usually like stand in front of a piece quietly and stare into it for minutes in the morning and sip my coffee or tea while I am “gazing". Each time is a different experience.


Was it your studies at MSU that brought you to West Orange and Montclair?

I lived in Rockland County upstate New York while I was attending MSU. It was the place I came to when I arrived to America. I admit it was a bit of a commute. I used to work in several New Jersey locations and well as in New York City. When my husband and I decided to relocate to New Jersey we looked for a place where it was closer to the locations I worked in. We also considered that the area has an interesting artist community and a lively location with full of recreational activities. We have two dogs Karma and Hiro. We like to take long hikes and walks in local parks. The area is perfect for that. We moved to the area four years ago.


What is it about this area that supports you in your work?

 It is the quiet surrounding in the Garden State and the like minded people I connect with. The house that we live in has a back yard where I maintain a small garden. Having a garden is very important to me, because it keeps me connected to nature. I am also very fortunate to have my studio in my house which is quite convenient. 

I am part of a group of local artists that comes together each month to view and talk about our artworks, exchange ideas and share our resources. My formal art teacher and mentor Cathy LeCleire also lives in the area and we keep in touch. It was Cathy who introduced the process of marbling during her Book Arts class I was attending at MSU. 


Your work is an evolution. Tell us about a current project and how you arrived at it.  

Yes I believe my work is constantly evolving. Right now I have several different projects in progress. I started working in large scale which is a bit of a challenge given the sensitivity of the process, but I am always curious how far I can take my medium. I started to introduce sewing as a another element to my artwork.

I also experiment with design and print clothing. Some of my designs can be viewed at MarvelousMarbledART@etsy.com 

What does local mean to you?

 Local means the people I see and interact with on the daily bases. The markets I go to buy my groceries, stores and shops I support on a regular bases within 1-10 mile radius of my house.

It is also the restaurants I like to eat in the area. I am vegan and Montclair has quite a few selections of places that satisfy my dietary needs and please my taste buds.

Tell us something that only you know, or very few people. 

 Suimonga aka ”picture of water patterns", the Japanese ink floating that I practice was developed by a Japanese space scientist Mr.Takaji Kuroda. I had an honor and a privilege to meet him in Japan two years ago.

Suimonga was recognized as a new Traditional Japanese Art Form by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1996. 

The name Suimonga was given by a famous Chinese calligrapher. 


What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage? 

My favorite coffee is San Francisco Bay Fog Chaser organic full-city roast.

My favorite tea is Thai Jasmine tea.