Interview with Maria Varga-Hansen, Artist from Hungary

Maria Varga-HansenMaria Varga-Hansen aka Vargamari, is an artist from Hungary, who has lived in Hungary, Austria, Greece, and the USA. She rediscovered her passion for painting much later in life and her favourite medium for art is encaustic. Currently based in Racine, WI in the USA, she currently teaches art to children.

You can connect with Vargamari on facebook and visit her website for more information and to purchase her art.

View Vargamari’s art portfolio. You can also view her paintings at the end of the interview.

ExtraImaginary: Please give us a background of yourself and your art.

Vargamari: My name is Maria Varga-Hansen, a.k.a. Vargamari, was born in Budapest, Hungary.

I believe I was born as an artist … I was always drawing and painting in my childhood (I had some problem with it in the school, doing it also at math-lessons…), then I stopped at 13 because I prepared myself to become an actress. I studied as an actress and had practiced it more than 8 years, but was not happy … long story … I left my profession and started to weave self-designed textiles, at that time already played with colors again … had an own textile-shop for hand-weaving in Budapest, with some employments, I was very successful with it, but it was not “my way”.

I always missed something…

ExtraImaginary: You’ve lived in Hungary, Austria, Greece, and now the USA. How has each country influenced your art?

Maria Varga-Hansen - RodeoVargamari: We emigrated from Hungary in 1988, first to Austria, then had lived 6 months in Greece, then went back again to Austria, where we (my former husband and our son, who are still living in Austria), spent more than 20 years. I got the Austrian citizenship too. Last year, after my divorce I came to USA, and married again.

Of course, every country has influenced my art and me a lot. I started to paint at 40, just some months before our emigration and always tried to paint the environment where I have lived.

So there is a series about Greece, about Austria (mostly about Vienna), of course about Hungary, and now a watercolor series about Racine, Wisconsin, where I’m living right now.

ExtraImaginary: Your artwork is a mixture of abstract, the human form, and architecture. What inspires you to create these different types of art and how is your thought process before you decide to do a new painting?

Vargamari: First I had to prove to myself that I CAN paint. I tried every medium and also painted some “Old Master Copies” by oil (mostly for commission) and all those experience were good to develop my skill; I tried to find my style, without forcing it. I don’t want to belong to any “-ism”, but want to express ME, my thoughts, my desires, my life-experience and my love for life … it is not an easy task; much easier to paint after a photo, or copy something.

I’ve started to find “My Way” in art only during the last four years, when I was living almost always alone in Hungary, so I could create my own world in encaustic.

Every different medium inspires me to paint a bit differently. I often change them, that keeps me going as I always need a new challenge. My images are born first in my mind (in a meditative state). I develop those ideas first completely mentally, then I start to make some sketches (lately also digital sketches), and only when I feel myself ready to go, THEN start to realize it. The painting process is usually shorter than the preparing.

ExtraImaginary: Do you work on several pieces at once or do you just focus on one at a time?

Vargamari: Practically I paint only one piece at a time, but several pieces are in WIP (work in progress) mentally … I hope I have enough time to paint them all.

ExtraImaginary: What is your most memorable moment as an artist?

Vargamari: When I realized: I HAVE TO PAINT!!!

I will never forget the moment. I was standing in Budapest, in front of a window of an art supplies shop and wanted to choose what new painting-set I would buy for my son (who never used them); when suddenly as a revelation came to my mind – I buy ALL these things for ME (as a child I had only some cheap colored pencil that time, during the 50-ies). From that moment I’ve started to draw and paint again … I was almost 40 then and my first paintings were primitive, as I had stopped painting at 13 … so I had to make up a lot … ☺ still in progress …

ExtraImaginary: You seem to work with several media. Do you have a favourite medium?

Maria Varga-Hansen - Take Care!Vargamari: YES. Encaustic is my favorite medium! I developed with the years my special skills in encaustic, so I can paint with wax as transparent, as with watercolor, but when I want: as textured and deeply colorful, as with oil (without the long time waiting for drying the layers in oil, because the wax dries very quickly). I don’t understand why the painters don’t discover more encaustic. It came to “fashion” again, but most of the artists use some objects (rusted wires, coins, petals, or leaves, or photos, etc.) pour wax over them and call them as an encaustic artwork.

I think about it differently, I had kept many classes about encaustic in Austria for children and also for adults and now I’ll try to offer classes here in the USA too.

ExtraImaginary: Who are your favourite artists?

Vargamari: I have many. I like the ones who paint from his/her soul, no matter what medium, or classic, or contemporary. Though who really touched my soul (looking at the originals): Leonardo da Vinci, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and my encaustic-friend: Antonin Sedlacik and last, but not least: my recent husband, who is an excellent digital artist: John W. Hansen, a.k.a. Wiscojaydub.

ExtraImaginary: What are your goals in regards to your art?

Vargamari: As I already mentioned: to develop my own style, practically I’d like to manage a one (wo)man show somewhere in the near future, because I have here all my works that I painted in the last several years.

ExtraImaginary: Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you?

Vargamari: I just wish to find my place here, get some recognition and commission. My life is for Art!

ExtraImaginary: Thanks Vargamari. You’re ExtraImaginary!

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