I only recently found out about Irit Levy‘s art. I immediately felt a sense of shame as to how I could have possibly allowed her to fly under my radar! The first mosaic I saw of hers was the tree she made for Christine Brallier, a tree trade 🙂 I’ve been hooked ever since.
For as long as she can remember, Irit always painted and drew. As a young child, she surrounded herself with all sorts of paper and different types of paints and crayons, even creating art from glass as an older child. “With no internet or TV this was my easy escape from boredom”. Irit discovered her local glazier who would give her some coloured glass offcuts which she then cut and glued, “Of course it didn’t hold long. Who knew then about different types of glues…”.
As a young adult, Levy studied painting at the art academy in Israel. She later went on to pursue Economics and worked in this field for a number of years before returning to a different art academy, again in Israel. It was here she met Doron Bar-Adon, who she claims has the most influence on her art today. It wasn’t until leaving Israel that she discovered other mediums, taking pottery very seriously. “Though I had done pottery before, it was actually the first time I dived into “brushless” art. I think that without knowing it yet then, it was at this moment that I was opened to different types of art”.
It wasn’t until mid 2006 on a visit to New York City that Irit discovered mosaic as an art form. “I stumbled, by chance, onto the Sicis showroom. The beauty of this place really hits you. After I started breathing again I knew I was going to do THAT. It took me a few more months and in April 2007 I did my first mosaic.”
“The process of making a mosaic is totally the opposite of painting, of the way I was painting. I was painting big and dirty, no plans in advance, no early sketches and very quickly. With mosaic I am going more and more into the direction of no planning. If I want to make a rhythm in mosaic I need a little planning as I can’t have that rapid brush stroke as I did while painting. I am still dirty and messy but the process is slow and I feel so good with it. I feel that I am growing into the work, that it becomes more and more a part of me.”
Irit’s claims of being impatient and impulsive means she also works on several pieces simultaneously: “… otherwise I couldn’t survive the pace of the mosaic art process.”
Irit has experienced the loss of her art throughout her life, from destroying it herself to burglary: “I am very connected to all my art. If I don’t like something, I destroy it. I don’t keep things I don’t like and I won’t have others have them… Sadly, over the years, I lost a lot of art I didn’t intend to lose. My parents destroyed all the art I did until I left home at the age of 18. I could never figure out why. The second time I lost my whole work was when I was in my mid 20’s when burglars stole all my art in my apartment.”
Irit will be exhibiting 2 of her paintings in the prestigious Biennale in Italy soon. Here is an excerpt of what one of the curators wrote about her work, which Irit feels also applies to her mosaics:
Irit Levy is a highly thought provoking artist, whose art reflects a strong existential contemplation of the world and of ordinary objects. (…. ) “Over the years my art changes as I experiment with new materials and new approaches. What remains most similar in my art is the backgrounds. My works often show a certain emptiness. The backgrounds are large and usually have a character of their own and at times the content of the paintings seem to be floating. For me, the backgrounds are no less important than the content, in the same way that unspoken words are no less important than spoken ones.”
Love her work… just love it!
Finally, meet Irit: