Travel, be humble, work hard | Selina Scerri

Currently exhibiting some of her work along with filigree artists Kevin Attard at Christine X Art Gallery, Sliema titled Charms, painter Selina Scerri speaks to us about her training in London, her return to Malta, and what makes her tick as an artist.

Selina Scerri.
Selina Scerri.

How long have you known that you wanted to be an artist?

I have always wanted to be an artist, for as long as I can remember.

What were some of your favourite themes and styles, and how have these evolved over time?

Well, I have always been interested in the feminine and the unreal. My research  initially started with the theories of enchantment, and the underlying structure and function of tales. Then I continued with looking at outsider art, like works of the mentally ill, and children. Jung's archetypes also played an important role in my research. Then, Julia Kristeva's theories of narcissism helped me move into a more personal representation of the works. After that, I ventured into the neuroscience of creativity, which  didn't do much to my work per se, but helped me understand the audience of my work and what happens to the viewer of my work and also helped me understand better how my work functions in society.

How would you describe your training in London?

My training in London was great. I was encouraged to be myself . I was never really given formal training in painting. I was trained in developing a line of thought, and my school-time was mostly spent the library and up in the studio painting on my own or going to galleries.

How did you fit in with the arts scene over there, and what did it teach you about our own?

Compared to most other artists, I did very well. I was signed by a gallery and had others interested in me, and I also enjoyed some success in Italy. My work never really fits in, as it is a bit outside the contemporary sphere.

What made you come back to Malta?

I got home sick at a point and missed my family and friends. As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz says: "There is no place like home".

How do you plan to continue your artistic career while you're on the island?

I'm always in the studio, painting and developing new ideas. That is basically it.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists working in Malta?

Travel, be humble and work hard.

Charms will be on display at Christine X Art Gallery, Tigne Street, Sliema until November 14. Opening hours: 10:00 to 13:00; 16:00 to 19:00 (Monday to Saturday). More information on Christine X Art.