September 5th, 2019
Jesse Gussow

The first thing you notice when you gaze upon the marvellous artwork by Vivien Szaniszlo are the vibrant colours and powerful brushstrokes. The imagery is insanely deep and moving. It’s hauntingly surreal and a perfect blend of your deepest darkest nightmares and your most valued and adored dreams. It is a skilled blend of chaos and a utopia. Balance is the the most predominant image in her work, vulnerability and strength, pain and pleasure and life and death. It’s truly magnificent to see.


Where are you from?

I am a Hungarian painter; I am working and living in Hungary now.


How did you get interested in art?

I drew almost before I walked. When I was a little girl and I could hold a pen I expressed myself in drawings. I always created animal portraits, and nature themed images. When I was 9 years old I painted the very first time with watercolor in my life seriously. And after that, I never stopped. After a few years I tried oil paints, and now this is my favorite! Mostly I developed myself; I always try something new, I try to find my limits in my art. This is so important for me.


Where do you find your inspiration for your work?

We are all a part of nature and not lords of the world, but unfortunately, people often forget this thing. Every minute, we can admire our planet, the sunshine, the sea, the oceans, all of  the animals, and everything what makes our lives happy. I think we have to respect the force of nature; we have to be proud and thankful that we can see many colors and kinds of creatures. This harmony is very fragile. So I find lots of inspiration from Mother Nature. I would like to show trough my paintings the possible balances that can be fulfilled between us and nature. I can find inspirations from witchy things and spiritualism. But maybe my nature love and my paranormal side of my soul is belongs together. I always search emotions and feelings of what we have inside, I love to capture the dark part of human hearts and souls. I would like to help by my art. Help to ease the tension, help to see, that we are nearly fighting with the same demons, but we will find the solutions. In my opinion painting is a communication without words; we can understand each other, no matter what language we speak.



How would you describe your artistic style?

I love spiritual things…Bones and animals, and I love to paint women portraits. I really believe we are more than just our body, our material maybe this is the reason why I like to express mystical things in my art. I try to capture the fragile lines between life and death, or afterlife. So I think I am a surreal painter. I work in macabre art and a kind of dark surrealism. Mostly I express myself through women portraits and complex woman paintings; usually I use vivid colors to speak. I love to put a dark twists in my art; one of the most important thing is for me to motivate people to think by looking at my paintings. I would like to pull out them from the monotonic comfort zones.


What are your preferred materials to work with?

I work sometimes with watercolor or acrylic paints for quick sketches. My favorite material is oil paints on canvases.


What do you think your artwork says about you?

It is a difficult question with complicated answers. I always paint with my whole heart, and I put the pieces of my soul into my every artwork. I hope my works can says something original, valuable and deep from me. I think usually my art can be raw a little bit, but I tell the truth all the time in my paintings, I “speak” from my own real, honest emotions through my colors and brushstrokes. I don’t want to lie, I don’t want to show anything that is not mine or I cannot feel a connection with it. I hope my art tells many inner stories of my mind, shows that I am vulnerable, but strong, and if I am in falling in my life, I will be stand up, and continue my journey, and I will never give up.


If you had a time machine when and where would you go and why?

I really love Egyptian mythology; they made their culture one of a kind. This culture is rich in symbols and wonderful Gods. They created a really beautiful "otherworld". I always admire the fantasy in their religion, the depth and meaningful things in them. I would love to see how the beautiful temples looked like in the real life, when this era was blossoming. I would like to meet with Cleopatra and talk about cats and men, the reason of our existence near to the glass of good wine. I would love to swim in the Nile with her. So definitely would like to go to the past.


What is your complete process from start to finish?

First of all I feel inside for what I would like to say with my next painting, what I would like to express with it. And then I assemble in my mind how the final painting nearly will look like. I have a grapheme-color synesthesia, so I do not need to think so much about what colors I want to use in my paintings. I feel them; see them before I put on the canvas. Mostly at first I put the main lines and tones on the blank surface and then, I continue with other colors to complete the whole spectacle. I make many layers until I finished the painting. This is a very interesting and hypnotizing evolution of making art. So difficult to say when finished the painting is, maybe never, I can just stop it, when I feel I cannot develop it more.


Do you listen to music when you are creating? If so what kind of music?

It’s totally random, it depends on my feelings. Although if I come to think of it, I prefer the silence maybe. But when I do I like to listen piano music or the twilight sound tracks.



How would you describe your studio space?

My art studio is little, weird, dirty and peaceful for me. I love the smells of the paints and solvents, papers and new canvases. I have some favorite decorations, skulls, flowers and seashells. This atmosphere is so magical to me; I love to spend time there. I love to create other worlds in my “little island.” I can make splashes without any compromise, because this place is mine, I can do anything what I want. And in this case I feel the freedom what I need.


When you sleep what are your dreams like?

I dream almost every night, but many times I cannot sleep so well. I am just thinking and thinking on things in my life. But when I finally fall asleep I dream about things that happened to me, and it is life like. I also dream about the final fantasy world. Sometimes I fight with something, to run from something. But in some case I don’t remember what I dreamed at night.


What is the best reaction someone has had to your work?

I am so lucky, and thankful, because I always get lots of positive feedback on my art. It means a lot to me, it’s so heartwarming when someone appreciates my hard work, my thoughts and everything I put into my pieces. On the whole when people see my art for the first time, they will be stunned a little and then they will think about my painting, they try to understand it. One time somebody saw my work and she began to cry, because the painting touched her heart for some reason. But most of the time people smile, because they understand my art or they don’t.


How have you grown as an artists from when you first started to now?

Almost two years ago I started my art journey then again after a 10 years break. I went through a very hard period in my life, but now I am so thankful for it because I have got the power to continue my art and my life anew with more energy, new view points, and fresh vibes. I wanted to make something bold and deep. Now I am 31 years old, but the first part of my life I haven’t had enough time to make this kind of art, except when I was a little girl. But when I grew up I had to work for my family, I could not paint seriously as now I do. I had lots of struggles with my art, nobody understood me, and I lost the courage that I needed to go this way. I tried to find my escape, but I was lost in my own darkness and it was difficult to find the  a way out and escape from it. But nearly 3 years ago I found myself again because of a new friendship of mine. If you meet with the right people who can encourage you it is a blessing. So it was a complicated and hard journey to stay on the road of art, but I am so grateful to be here, and I never want to leave it again.


What would you like to be most proficient at?

Practice is so important for me; I want to jump over my shadow all the time. I am so interested in astronomy, spiritualism; I would like to get the knowledge of witch crafts, and healing.


What are your hopes for yourself for the future?

I have hopes and big dreams for my future. I would like to be a well known artist in my style, I would like to make lots of exhibitions, I would like to meet with people who have artistic vibes. And I really would love to travel around the world with my son. I would love to create a bright future for him with my art. But one of my biggest dreams is to have an exhibition in Paris. I love this city, but unfortunately I’ve never been there. It would be a great pleasure to bring my family there too, and show this amazing place to them. I hope I can give happiness to people with my paintings.


Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

I don’t like Oreo so much, and I don’t know the other one unfortunately, so I cannot say anything about it. But I am sweet-toothed, I love chocolate so much, all kind.


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