Monday, December 12, 2011

"To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour".

William Blake

Chocolate Cupcakes

The other day I decided to bake chocolate cupcakes as little Xmas gifts, and have to say they came out really cute and really tasty!!! I was so impressed!! So if you too would like to try out your creative skill on something a little different this Xmas, here is the recipe for how to make chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting! They make great deserts for any occasion and are perfect if you are entertaining, for afternoon's tea and coffee!

Enjoy and happy baking!! :)

Ingredients for about 12 cupcakes:

200g Flower
60g Chocolate powder
190g Sugar
1 Tea spoon baking powder / or 1/2 sachet baking powder
150 ml Milk
2 Egg Yokes
60g Butter
Small cake decorations

Ingredients for white chocolate frosting:

250g Icing sugar
250g Unsalted butter
Tea spoon vanilla extract
200g White chocolate


Mix all the wet ingredients together: eggs, milk and melted butter.

Mix all the dry ingredients together: flower, sugar, chocolate, baking powder.

Now mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones in a bawl.

Pour the mixture into small cupcakes dishes and place in the oven for 15/20 minutes at 180 C. After baking use a toothpick to check if they are ready - if the toothpick stays clean they are done.

White Chocolate Frosting

Mix soft butter in the mixer, add icing sugar and continue mixing, then add vanilla extract and finally add melted white chocolate (needs to be cool). Mix everything together well.


Now the real fun part begins!! Once the cupcakes are ready, let them cool down, then start decorating them with frosting toppings and other small decorative bits such as flowers, hearts, patterns and anything you like! Have fun!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Milan Art Tour

Yesterday we had our Milan Art Tour! We were a group of 12 people and luckily everything went well! It was a good day and we managed to see quite a lot! Definitely the highlight was Leonardo's Da Vinci's Last Supper, it was truly amazing, I just loved it so much!! So worthwhile!!

Unfortunately although I did bring my camera, I did not get a chance to take many photos of the sites nor the group, as I was quite busy getting tickets, finding our way around the sites etc..etc that taking pictures was not really a priority! But definitely something I will have to make more time for the next trip...

The train journey to Milan from Zurich was quite long - about 3 hours 40 minutes each way - but luckily that was also not too bad as we had reserved our seats in advance and the company was great - we had some really interesting conversations that kept us busy along the way- as well as the scenery was really beautiful! Thus overall, even the train ride has been an enjoyable part of the day!

I had prepared a snack for everybody, I am quite proud of how I packaged it :) it looked really cute in the little transparent bags I put them in! And everything was colour co-ordinated in Orange, my studio-gallery colours - I know I am an orange addict, I love it! :) Everything looked really nice and the people seemed to also have enjoyed it! My husband prepared some homemade focaccia and Sheethal, one of my students, had also made a lovely chocolate cake!!

I have also prepared a little book with some information about the places we visited as well as hired some guides for some of the sites such as the Last Supper and Castle.

Thus, overall I am really happy with how everything went, I will have to organise something like this definitely again!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Venetian Holidays

I am just back from really hectic vacation in Italy. Initially we had envisioned to go home for a few days, attend a friend's wedding, visit Venice and spend a couple of days to the sea in Croatia, however, our plans did not completely turn out the way we wanted. At the Croatian border, we were told we could not enter because we did not have a document for our car which certified it belonged to we had to turn around and decided instead to go to the sea close to Venice; we were not too happy about it, but at least then we managed to squeeze in a visit to the Venice Biennale - I had tried a couple of days before to go but unfortunately it was closed the day we went, and then, the following days, there was a national strike on, so thanks to this Croatian inconvenience at least we were able to go. This is the link to the exhibition if you would like to take a look.

This year's show was organised by Bice Curiger who is currently also the curator at Zurich Kunsthaus.

I have put some photos of the shows on my Facebook page if you would like to view them go to:!/jartstudiogallery

While in Italy I also visited a customer who had commissioned me with an artwork and she wanted to show me how it looked in her house. She seemed really pleased with her paining and commissioned me with another work, so I took a photo of the painting and where she has hanged it, see below:

Monday, August 22, 2011

When I made this painting I was thinking about identity and in particular how it is not inherently fixed onto a person, but rather, it is continually shaped in social space, and how it always takes form in relation to other people as well as the context a person finds herself/ himself in.

Keeping this in mind, I wanted to create an open ended piece which is not fixed and original and which includes not only the meaning I wanted to give to the artwork but also allow for other possible interpretations – again, depending on the particular audience viewing the piece as well as the context it is viewed in.

I thought this was particularly challenging to do in an oil painting as they tend do be more often seen as fixed original and intentional objects, especially if one thinks at the artwork produced by modernist artists, this was in fact, what they set themselves to achieve: artworks that are fixed in their meaning, original and separate from life and its particular context.

However I was also aware that in comparison to performance or body art in general my work would have had some limitations, such as the fact that although I am both subject/object because I have included myself in the painting and I am the art maker, my body is “without organs” and is a representation rather than the real thing: a breathing, living, thinking, feeling and desiring body. But my aim was to provide another perspective, particularly on painting, and try to break down the assumptions regarding its absolute status, especially when considering that painting is often seen as the medium of the male artist par excellence and women – apparently the muses inspiring his genius - where reduced to mere objects that aroused the artists as well as the (supposedly male) viewers pleasure.

So, by including the mirror in the artwork, I wanted to link the piece back with its context and the world; art and life are therefore no longer separated but they support each other in a constant flux. The reflection of the mirror becomes part of the painting and the painting needs its surrounding for the reflection. In addition, the piece is never fixed: light reflected will never be the same at different moments in time, the background provided by the mirror will always change depending on the viewers and where the artwork is viewed.

Another possible limitation for this piece could be that I am a “thin white body” and I am not trying to break pleasure but I actually instigate it. With regards to the former, I think that that the “thin white body” is who I am, and as an artist, I still want to be able to provide my own point of view regardless of the colour of my skin, or what I look like – even though they might be regarded as “normative” features. Sometimes I think discrimination could also work the other way around. In addition, although I do not have any visible marks or features pointing to specific body alienation, this does not mean that I am not an alienated subject. With regards to trying to instigate rather than break down pleasure, this is what I actually wanted to do, but by including the mirror so that the viewer is also reflected in the painting, she/he can no longer remain veiled and hide her/his own investments and desires; this, for me, is what allows myself not to be objectified, and not by simply trying to avoid at all cost pleasure, as most women artists working in a strictly anti-essentialist manner would often claim.

Moreover, by reflecting the viewer onto the painting she/he becomes also both subject and object and thus the relationship between viewers and the artwork/artist becomes interdependent and intersubjective, and it is a relationship which is based on simultaneous subjective/objective identifications rather than one which, as in most of Western painting tradition, gave absolute status and power to the disembodied viewing subjects objectifying the body-woman. The viewer is no longer veiled or disembodies and thus can no longer make any disinterested and absolute claims, but rather, has to acknowledge her/his own contingency, motives and investments.

This artwork seems to be really popular, every time someone sees it in my studio they always ask me about it. And it is funny because although I am a representation in this piece, people seem to give for granted that I am a real body and one of the question I am often asked is what am I thinking about, which to me is also quite interesting for the fact that, by looking at my body posture, the way my head is turned towards the mirror I give the impression that I am pensive - and not the other way around “I think therefore I am”.

Another thing I like about this work is that it really does engage with its surroundings and with the audience, often I find people checking themselves in the mirror, or I get told what a great idea I had to include a mirror in a painting – for its use value to be put in a bedroom for example - and they want to commission me with a similar piece. So I can say that although there might be some limitations regarding this work, I think I have perhaps managed to merge art (in particular painting) and life, as well as subject with object, but most of all I hope I was able to create an interdependent and mutual relationship between the audience, the artwork and the world, as well as challenge common assumption about women, painting and art viewing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Primitively Modern

I took these photos while on a holiday in the Namibian Desert, in particular, in the mining ghost town of Kolmanskop near Luderitz. I was very fascinated to see how nature and culture shaped and interacted with each other, and how they engaged in a constant flux and becoming.

In some areas of the town, for example, one can see how time and the elements have deteriorated and smashed much of glass from the houses windows, but where it still remains intact, the sand has deposited and formed a golden layer providing the perfect background for tourists to write their names, dates, and comments using their fingers.

Where instead the sand was not obstructed by the windows, it was able to reach inside the houses creating small dunes which now cover floors, room, stairs, and furniture. Tourists visiting these empty houses often need to walk on top of the sand, leaving once again their own marks and footprints…But only until the next change, event; or until the wind will bring new dust that will cover or blow away these traces, creating other intriguing shapes, patters and spaces.