An Interview with Horror Artist Rhaega Ailani

Yasou Rhaega! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us at HORROR ADDICTS.

I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your artwork and illustrations because you have such a large span ranging from fantasy art to science fiction.

Gia sou Lisa! Pos iste. It will be an absolute pleasure to me to answer

What made you choose that direction for your craft?

I think I took the route of Fantasy even before knowing that my path in this life it would be closely linked to art. Yet one of the first memories I keep from my childhood was my first book of Greek Mythology, full of illustrations and amazing stories that inspired me and push me to imagine so much. Mythology always has been defining my way.

I guess I am an addictive Dreamer: I see the world around me through the prism of the fantasy and the imagination, maybe because I know reality too well, and yet I think the world of Fantasy and Dreams, is always full of possibilities.

I see you are in London now, but you spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean. Do you feel living there, with it rich culture and mythology, it had a strong impact on your creative muse?

I moved to London few years ago. My partner is a londoner, and even If I have been always moving around and living for a while in different countries such as Germany, France, Greece, etc. (As I never liked to be in the same place for a long time). I always come back to here, to the little Mediterranean city near I was born, Tarragona. Maybe because some part of me always has the incredible need to come back to where I belong to.

Over there, you just need to sit down on the soft sand, let the soft tamed breeze guide your thoughts and look at the sea in silence. Sometimes it amazes me how simple moments like can take your mind to places that you couldn´t even dream off, pushing in every step to bring each time the best of you in each piece. At least, that´s my purpose in life.

You took a long break of silence for awhile. What was it like for you during that time? Did you feel an itch to break out of it early? Or was it a welcome vacation from things?

About the break I took. I really needed it. There was in a concrete moment where my personal life was taking over a bit, and I felt I needed to take a break, breath deep and analyze.

Sometimes at some stages life decides to open new doors for us so we can walk into them, because we have to do it, so we can develop as human beings and it will help us to grow stronger, even if at the beginning we don´t understand why.

This personal break was more like a cunning step into a new stage in life for me, spiritually and in my way to develop my creations of course.

What’s it like being an artist for a living? Do you sometimes feel it’s harder, or would do you feel you made the right choice? What are some of the challenges you face being an artist for hire?

It is something completely hard, challenging I would say. (And being a woman inside this industry, much more!) But as Truman Capote use to say, “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip”. And the truth is there´s no prize in this life, without any struggle. This is the path I chose. I love art (and in concrete, illustration), so much that I knew since I was a child that this would be the path I would follow. And I don´t regret it. The fruits of your work sometimes they take time to mature, but it´s an immense pleasure when you receive them. I think I find many challenges on a daily basis, like any other artist, but the biggest one (at least for me), is the one of getting to please myself first with the job I’ve done. I am my biggest and hardest critic, I´m not an easy woman with compliments, and to me it is very important to show the real vision of what I had in my mind to others, through my work. I can repeat the same image as many times as I want, and I will not stop sketching until I have what I really want, what my heart really wants to show. I don´t care about the effort, I don´t care how long it takes me. It´s my work, and before presenting it, I have to be completely satisfied with it, if not I will not do it.

Some of your work has a strong spiritual influence. As a creative myself, I understand this draw but tell our audience what this is like-or what it means-for you.

Spirituality is a very important part of us, it´s an essential path that sooner or later someone should take to understand your own soul. Is not a fashion, it’s not about reading some books and thinking you are invested of some kind of “divine” touch to do as you want. Spirituality is not a degree you can learn anywhere. It’s a silent and hard path that´s not the same for everyone. It´s a lesson we all learn. You can call it however you want. There´s no time limits, no other goals than the ones that you decide. Spirituality is most of all daring to look inside yourself, take into your arms you “inner child” and learn to listen to him/her again, working in yourself. Spirituality to me I could summarize it in three simple concepts: Listen, Accept & Love yourself.

And yes, I do feel a very important connection to it. Because I would be so simple-minded (or maybe too arrogant) to think that the only thing that exists and matters is the material world that surround us. Not at all, this is just like a “mirage”. I always say,” I don´t like to meet people, I like to feel people”. And that´s how it is.

 

What kind of art, besides the spiritual, do you feel the strongest connection to, and why?

I must admit I feel some kind of “weakness” for some styles like for example the Renaissance, or almost all the “Pre-Raphaelism”: And with this we go back to the point of my personal “addiction” for Mythology and Fantasy. Because these styles, they represent perfectly an atmosphere of dreams and fantasies, with a very powerful allure that I find too appealing to me personally. I love the classics, it´s hard for me to get into the concept of modern art now in our days, but I must admit also I admire many artists, especially in comics and illustration like Hergé, Arkás, René & Gosciny, Luis Royo, Ciruelo Cabral, or Victoria Francés, which I think they are amazing with all the work they do.

Us writers sometimes experience writers block. Do you ever feel “creative block” when you’re working? If so, how do you move past that?

I don´t think I ever experienced that.  But maybe what I experienced is a “physical block”, in times when health didn´t allowed me the strength I needed to can continue creating. Then it´s a real nightmare, when you have so much into your head to get out, but your health is not really letting you push forward for it and can accomplish it.

Tell us a story behind one of your favorite pieces. I know people often ask where you get your ideas, but I love hearing stories behind the ideas.

I can tell you for example three of them. One of my recent ones called “Nimué”, and isbased on the mythic young maiden that used to serve the Lady of the Lake (some say that is the Lady of The Lake herself, in one of her multiple faces), in the old Arthurian Myths. I always found this character (being another interpretation of the mythic “Lady” or not), very fascinating that in fact, I felt I had to paint her soon or later. But as always, I didn´t want to do it until I had the right image in my mind to create her. And there it was, one morning I suddenly woke up, and I started to paint.

And the strokes came on its own, with no effort, easy. That´s how I truly imagine her. Like a kind of silent nayad, sitting on the bottom of the dark lake, holding always Excalibur in her hand, strong and confident. Maybe waiting for the rightful King to release it again.

Do you have a ritual when you sit down to begin a piece? If so, tell us a little about how it works for you. If the ritual is somehow interrupted, does it affect you or your work?

My personal ritual? I always try to do a little of meditation before I start to work. (To me it´s also a way to thank to the universe for what I am, and what I have, and to relax of course), burning an incense stick, always the best to clear the atmosphere, and get me into the perfect scenery and frame of mind so can get started with the job …I truly think  you don´t need much to create a new piece, once you  truly feel it in your heart, and you have the inspiration and the right vibration to do so.

I usually don´t get very interrupted, because I try to find the right time to start my work: I love to be alone in my studio, loneliness to me is the perfect haven to start to engage what are the ideas with the result.

When we look at an artist’s work, we can always see a “signature” in their style which sets them apart from other artists. What do you feel your signature is?

My signature is to me, like a wild scratch that fights to get out from the paper, out of the canvas and into the surface, for the darkness into light. Out of the art piece itself to become a little haven to the mind and senses for a while to the public that watches it . Maybe my signature itself is a reflection of my wild side: the inner “fight” that exists inside every creative soul to make it work the way that it has to be. I think that this is to me more than a simple signature. It´s a “print” of my own soul.

Do you feel like where you are, for example geographically, has an influence on your work?

Oh yes, definitely the place where I am creating it becomes a strong influence in my work. As I said before, I love to travel and to visit different places. I “visualize” life itself as a “long journey” from which we have the chance to learn all what we came to learn in here. Every place where I have been living, even for a lil´while brought me some sort of happiness and knowledge, that now I consider it as completely priceless. And part of what I learned it always its own mirror in my artwork.

Some artists find it harder to work in certain places, geographically which has been your most challenging, and your least?

My most challenging I guess is my own country. My least challenging is Greece, definitely. I adore the meaning that Greeks give to art, to their random lives, and the incredible support they give to artists, to the ones that are Greeks themselves, as to the ones that come from another country. When I worked there with other artists, I felt like home. It was like a constant exchange of ideas and experiences. I have the highest respect to them. They are people that make you “grow” completely.

We’d love to see more of your work! What’s up and coming from you?

By now completing some illustrations for the role book game called “Aureus” (“Aureo”), based in the Ancient Greek Mythology, the compilation of my last Mythology exhibition called “Mythica”, and another exhibition (completely different this time), where I will develop much more what I call “Spiritual Painting” A much more transcendental and close view of art. It’s a graphic representation of the feelings and the depths of the soul to me.

If we wanted to own a piece from you, where would go to purchase?

If you or anyone would like a piece of my artwork, it’s something so simple as writing me a mail. I love when I get a message of someone asking me if they could commission an artwork from me. It makes me happy to make someone else happy.

It has been really great getting to know you! I hope you’ll let us check in with you again soon. Before we let you go back to your colorful world, will you leave us some breadcrumbs to find you again?

Yes of course, here you have the links!!:

https://www.facebook.com/Rhaegaailani/

http://rhaegaart.wixsite.com/illustrator/contact-

https://twitter.com/rhaegaart

Thank you so much for allowing us into your world for a brief moment. All the best to you from us at Horror Addicts!

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