“Once you get your feet in the door, that’s when you can feel a bit more secure.”, Cirius Scion recently told me. And she’s right. Over the years I’ve watched first-hand the growth of artists; it’s one of the things I love most. From visual attributes as they hone their works, to watching confidence slowly budding despite setback after setback. Just as exciting, is seeing their names crop up at new gallery spaces. Those first exhibitions are moments to be cherished. And this familiar path is one I have watched unfold for this young Canadian artist, in the knowledge that Cirius has been fighting her insecurities with a fiery resilience. But this is only the beginning.
In my latest interview with Cirius Scion, we delve deeper into her turbulent journey as an artist and learn more about the latest step in her vastly growing career.
Interview with Cirius Scion: a new age
So, what have you been up to since we last chatted almost a year ago?
Last time we spoke, I was working on getting into the American art market. Fortunately, I was able to stay focused and haven’t let setbacks affect my progress, no matter how emotional and insecure this rollercoaster can get at times. But this is the challenge every artist must face at the beginning of their path.
Let’s face it, there are no guarantees in the art world. My anxiety was the size of a planet, but I was still positive at the same time. I wasn’t sure when or what would happen, exactly, but I knew that my mind could manifest it eventually through persistence and patience. My art was basically the only thing on my mind, and it manifested like magic. I truly believe this type of thinking – along with hard work – is essential in manifesting exactly what you want.
So, I just kept studying the best in the industry, history, and trying to improve every day.Cirus Scion
Copro Gallery in California opened the first doors for me. I was humbled when they gave me a solo exhibition alongside Benz & Chang, Web Benscoter and Dan Seagrave. It was like a dream come true.
Previously, my focus was often at war with my insecurities. I felt my work wasn’t yet at the level to exhibit in the galleries I wanted to show at, and so I delayed my plans. Additionally, I was spreading my energy out more into film and music rather than entirely into painting, hoping that I would attract opportunities with one of those passions as well. This plan was not working. I realized that I had to focus on one passion completely and then include the others during my free time. So far, this has been the most successful route; it’s been giving me more peace of mind. Even so, I constantly wish I had more time and didn’t need sleep just to make more art!
Pushing the limits: working against the clock
Indeed, congratulations on the impressive amount of group exhibitions throughout 2022! It must have been quite manic to keep up the pace.
Yes, I’ve had to really push myself to create new pieces at a faster pace because most exhibitions required specific themes. Naturally, I paint more than one piece, producing a minimum of two to three pieces a month, sometimes four. Honestly, I’m just thrilled to be able to show new works at amazing galleries. It’s really helped me experiment and grow as an artist. And yes, I’ve had to dedicate most of my time to this path, if not all. If I do take time off, I’m still thinking about how to improve the art, what ideas should be painted next and how to execute them.
Yes – and these were all of the galleries I was aiming to show works at! I’m hoping to get into more galleries in the near future but for now I’m focusing on getting more works done and improving.
Also, I have to mention that Steve Diamant, the owner of Arcadia Gallery, was the one who took the time to review my portfolio on my website and offer valuable feedback and advice on how to improve it and the galleries that would best suit my style of art. Because of his good word, I was able to catch the attention of one of those galleries I’ve wanted to exhibit at for so long. So, a huge thank you to you, Steve!
The beauty of surrealism
Based on recent paintings, you’ve moved away from the Shakespeare series. Still keeping a historical feel, you seem to be getting more playful with the compositions of your characters and more surreal with your backgrounds.
Surrealism liberates the mind from the conscious thought. Surrealism presents a new physical mode characteristized by remarkable happenings and uncanny otherworldly juxtapositions. This is what motivates me to create art which lean towards surrealism.
Although interpretation is imposed by others, and paintings are to be admired or contemplated, I still want to be the one who leads the viewer along a journey with some idea of the experience. I try not to create art that looks repetitive; the last thing I want is to be predictable and boring.Cirius Scion
I spent a great deal of time studying the work of historically regarded artists I admire, identifying why certain works of art were so successful. Ultimately, this allowed me to apply all of the lessons that I learned to my own practice – but with my own original twist. My art will become more surreal and experimental over time; I just need to gain more experience and sharpen my skillset!
Are many of your narratives built from personal experience?
No, right now I don’t paint exactly from personal experience, but rather from interesting stories. I spend a lot of time inside my head, instead of reality. I just paint narrative art through the lens of intellectual cognitive empathy.
A multi-medium artist: paint vs film
You mentioned earlier that you previously spread your energy out across painting, film, and music. I’m always impressed at the imagination and design which you also utilize for your website and social media posts, including some striking teaser videos. What’s more fun: creating films or painting?
Thank you, Natalia! I love both film and painting. Honestly, filmmaking feels more natural for me; it just flows out intuitively and somehow comes together without much effort. I’m not as restricted with the film medium as much as with painting. For instance, in painting I have to really focus on making sure the piece is aesthetically pleasing; constantly thinking about where the details will be applied, proportion, values, colours and composition. Sure, many of these elements are applied in cinematography too, and many of the frames are treated like a work of art. But not every frame is perfect, and only lasts for a couple of seconds or less.
I really enjoy creating interesting stories with my art and I always try to incorporate something cinematic to entertain the viewers. Creating film has helped me experiment as an artist. Additionally, it’s just a fun way of expressing thoughts and ideas through motion visuals.
You definitely have your own recognizable aesthetic! What influences and inspires you?
Thank you for confirming what I’ve always tried to do, which is to differentiate myself. I gravitate towards the unknown, psychological, spiritual themes. Most of my influences come from a darker world with, of course, elements of theatre.
I’ve always known myself as an old spirit, so my inspirations come from the history books, poetry, and art of the great masters. I like to explore concepts that either captivate me or haunt me. The world that I’ve been creating, which involves ideas of power, royalty, witchcraft, beauty, the human condition and spirituality, has been a timeless touchstone for me for so long.Cirius Scion
At the moment, I’m particularly interested in esoteric themes and the dark realm; it’s my fascination with the underworld. You know, you can’t believe what you hear most of the time until you’ve experienced it yourself. Marilyn Manson, Seether and Jared Leto’s art were influential to me at a point too. I’m sure you’re able to recognize this in my paintings with gothic, post-grunge influences. It’s just my style.
Overcoming internal struggles
In general, I think times have been difficult for everyone. It’s as if we’re still healing from the recent few years while struggling to deal with new difficulties arising in our paths. Would you say this resonates, or have you managed to stave off being sucked into this common strife?
I’ve been cooped up in my studio for the past 10 years, so the pandemic didn’t affect me as it did others. But that’s not to say I don’t suffer from any mental challenges. That’s far from the truth; I’m on the spectrum of Borderline Personality, with some form of paranoia, anxiety, along with obsessive thinking (OCD checking). It’s not always easy to continue working on the days when I’m triggered. I try to limit my social media time because that is one trigger.
Naturally, I’m a very introverted, contemplative person, so almost everything around me that I experience will be analysed and dissected many times. This becomes mentally distracting and exhausting. So, working alone in a quiet environment with some inspiring music to set the mood is perfect for my type of personality and creative process.
As a working artist, you have to get used to being alone and work long hours with nobody to talk to when you have your own studio. The eeriness of silence feels spiritual. But my gratification comes from the mental journey of finishing a painting well and being proud of it.
The learning and striving never ends.Cirius Scion
It’s good that you have found a way of working which motivates your strengths, I think that is something a lot of people are still striving to find! Focusing back to your personal achievement this year, out of your 2022 exhibitions, do you have any favourites?
My favourites are always the new pieces I create because each painting is made with more knowledge, and expertise than the previous. The learning and striving never ends. The show themes still allow me to freely express my style, so it doesn’t play a limiting factor, and it’s also fun and inspiring to see what others are also creating.
And finally, what is next for Cirius Scion?
The plan is to show at more dream galleries as well as forming a more distinctive recognizable style in the art industry. Additionally, I will be producing more inspiring art in the form of painting and cinema to support my stories, and possibly some music to connect with other like-minded individuals. It’s my way of connecting on a more intellectual level. There is a lot of work for me still to do on this journey!