Interview with Andrea Solaja: the Figurative Artist of Light and Dark

Andrea Solaja has recently joined Rise Art, bringing her diverse portfolio of abstract paintings and sculptures to the platform. Andrea creates worlds and characters, playing with the contrast of light and dark, and tells stories using shapes in her own personal way to express her feelings and as a source of relief to escape from the shadows of her Serbian childhood when the country was bombed.

Andrea Solaja taking Orestes, what have you done? off the wall when it’s sold (@andrea_solaja)


How would you describe your artistic style?

At the age of 10, I’ve had a terrible life experience: my country was bombed.

My sole source of relief to escape from the horrors of those days was imagining worlds and creating stories inside the light of the only candle I had. The shadows projected on the walls would turn into the shapes of the ever changing characters of my imagination, I can see my fingers weaving  evanescent details which blended with the condensation and the cold. That light shone on an outer space which was too small for a child. I had to create one to become internal, immense.

I hold my childhood and its dreams inside that small flame. I sealed the darkness I had inside with the wax and with the wick I tied the memories of a life which was not going to be mine anymore.

My art unfolds around the narration of that light. My paintings are symbionts of the game of contrasting light and dark which narrate without revealing, which drain my inner feelings on the canvas preventing the shapes from becoming obstacles.

Andromeda I, 2022, oil paint on canvas, 120 x 80cm


What messages or themes do you want to communicate with your work?

I paint the stories that strike my chords, with which I perceive a bond.

As a tailor, I wrap my canvas around you to make you become the art that you wish to narrate. Your past, your perceptions and your feelings are remodeled as the warp and weft of a unique story which has finally been unveiled. Yours.

Andrea adding the final touches to Alchemy (@andrea_solaja)


How has your practice evolved over the years? Have you always worked in an abstract style?

Nice question.

To be honest, I’ve never thought about it.

In terms of technique, I’m not able to say better or worst, let’s say that I have found my mark, my impression. Isn’t this what each artist aspires to?

My love for Figurative style hasn’t change, but my sight definitely has and that’s why many people define my art, Abstract.

‘’Nearsightedness’’ is my technique, but the style is still Figurative.

Afrodite, 2022, oil on canvas, 90 x 65cm


What’s an average day like in your studio? 

Oh, you would be so bored spending time with me in the studio!

I am so immersed in research and in my thoughts that I find it hard to be present in the terrestrial world. I’m very slow in production of my art and the reason of this slowness is due to a lot of research behind each artwork: it starts from the story I want to tell and how I want it to be told; the choice of the material that best suits the story; hours of sketching… Once I have the clear idea in my head of the final result, well that’s the moment I start with the production.

Andrea sitting in her ‘second home’, Art Space (@andrea_solaja)


What/Who are your key influences?


I have always had a passion for artists who have gone against the tide, because you need to think against the tide if you want to have really innovative ideas. Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Marcel Duchamp, Banksy, Lucio Fontana… to name a few. People usually compare my works with Caravaggio’s because of the darkness and I’m fine with that if we want to summarise briefly my art.

But, the truth is different. I’m obsessed with the stories behind each Artist and their time, the society they lived in, but mostly the reason which pushed them to make that kind of art, their psychology, their soul, their thoughts and doubts…


I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology, omnipresent in my work.

Afrodizie, 2022, Oil on canvas, 150 x 100cm


Who are some Rise Art artists with work you’re enjoying at the moment?

Actually a lot of them, such as Iain Andrews, Michele Fletcher, but Johanna Bath’s works are definitely my favorite. Her art reminds me of Gerhard Richter’s blurry series, but enriched with a feminine touch.


Are you currently working on any exciting new projects?

My last project was ‘’Semi di Luce’’ for ‘’LUCE’’ Art Exhibition in Palermo and it was such an amazing experience. September is around the corner with a lot of exciting projects that I can’t wait to share with you! But now, I need some rest!

Semi di luce, 2022, Cirmolo wood, resin and Dorodango ball, 115 x 16 x 16cm

Angelia S. Rico

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