Nika Fontaine is a transgender artist from Montreal who creates beautiful and enlightening art; there is no denying the beauty in her work and its profound spirituality.
***Einzellaustsellung ab dem 23.2.19 in Düsseldorf
–What triggered your desire to become an artist?
I was very fortunate to have been raised in a family where art and especially painting was extremely prevalent. My great uncle Jean-Paul Jérôme was a pioneer of abstract painting in Québec and signatory of the Plasticien manifesto in the 1950ies. Living in an environment surrounded by his works, I can now say that painting became my mother language. Later in my teenage years, we got closer and he became an affluent mentor of my artistic development. From that time on, I sat myself a rigorous work discipline that would bring me to where I am today.
–You studied at Berlin’s „Kunsthochschule Weissensee“, why did you chose this particular school?
I mostly chose the city rather than the school. Through the Concordia University in Montreal I was able to successfully apply for a student exchange program in the Kunsthochschule Weissensee. In retrospective, if I would have the choice between Weissensee and the UDK I would have still chosen Weissensee. The fact that the school is smaller allowed for a strong intimate bond between the students and tutors. Today, I still thrive from friendships and partnerships that stemmed from my academic years. The strongest example being the collective studio T10 I cofounded in 2010 with friends and classmates.
–Berlin is often chosen by various artists as „the place“ to be, what is so special and inspirational about that city?
Berlin is like a harbour for creative people, it might be for short or long-term but everyone ends up passing by. So, living there allows oneself to develop a network of inspirational colleagues from all over the world. The cultural offer from classical to contemporary art, either visual, musical or performative is humongous and accessible. The rich history of avant-garde combined with its physical destruction granted space and acceptance to creative endeavours while still remaining affordable. In that sense, the geographic, demographic and economic situation made of Berlin the perfect playground for artists.
–Your art is very personal and sometimes revealing, leaving you exposed to all facets of criticism, tell us about the reactions you receive.
From amazement to disgust, I heard the full spectrum of commentaries regarding my work. These polarized reactions are for me a good sign since it’s doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. One thing I learned over time is that, as long as I am deeply sincere with myself and my convictions, criticism is welcome and will be perceived as constructive. Comments that can appear reactive and judgmental at first, are a good indicator of what can my work trigger in the public. Even if my art is personal or revealing, I think it is always open enough for the viewer’s own interpretation. Therefore, once the work is out there, it is no longer a mirror of myself but of the spectator. I am not really interested in trends and zeitgeist, I see my work as an extension of myself, witness of my spiritual journey. I share this journey openly in all its facets, from my gender transition to my esoteric investigations hoping to serve a greater good. I have nothing to hide, hiding behind the will to please the status-quo takes too much energy which can be better served in creation and love.
–Spirituality is at the center of your creations, showing beauty and depth. In what way do you see yourself as a messenger?
I don’t know if I like the term messenger.. for me it sounds too much like Jeanne D’Arc. Although I seek to develop my intuitive capabilities, I cannot say that I carry any other truth than my honest will of personal improvement. But this is maybe just a question of nuances.
Spirituality and mysticism was always part of my life. I perceive life as an ongoing quest for the wisdom of the self and expansion of consciousness. My inquisitive nature for the essence of all things brought me to study esoteric philosophies. As an artist, I transmit my understandings and share my experiences gained along this initiatic path with the hope of bringing more light in the world. The alchemist way is one of personal enlightenment, but at every step forward, the master should hold the door until someone else does. Therefore, assuring perdurability in the transmission of knowledge. I like to see my art practice as parent of this lineage, thus sharing wisdom as my duty.
–What are the 3 things you appreciate the most about Germany?
-The rich cultural history and its accessibility.
-The environmental consciousness and its applications in sustainable development and social-entrepreneurship.
-The European union borderless identity, which is unfortunately threatened by conservative nationalist mentalities.
–What do you miss most from Canada apart from your family and friends?
The feeling of space and endless nature is definitely what I miss the most.
Europe has extraordinary landscapes, but it is also much more densely populated, and infrastructure is omnipresent. The extraordinary multiculturalism of Montreal and Toronto is as well something I miss.
–If you could collaborate with any artist at any chosen time and age, who would it be and why?
I don’t think of any particular artist, but mostly projects. I would have loved to be a cathedral builder, working with the anonymous free masons who embedded the secrets of alchemy in these monumental wonders.
–What are your ultimate goals as an artist?
I wish to bring beauty and mindfulness, and hopefully create works that inspire others to do the same. With my latest project Aurigin Center, I wish to have a direct impact on society through sustainable development, spirituality and art. This project has the potential to fulfill all my grandest ambitions while serving a higher purpose.