Exclusive: Q & A with Van Donna

Van Donna’s “All You Need Is Love” at the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg (Russia)

We are pleased to hear from artist Van Donna as 2020 unfolds. We asked her 10 questions, here’s what she has to say…

How has your 2020 started?

Very quietly, I have been spending some real quality time with my family in the beautiful English countryside, horse riding and taking long walks with my dogs. I am only now starting to get back in the swing of things with a few commissions and a new print release called “Kaleidoscope” I am really fond of, as it represents a new direction for me, more mature if you will.

Van Donna’s new print release “Kaleidoscope” in situ

How was 2019 for you?

It has been a challenging year on the personal level… there has been a lot of work, tight deadlines with my gallery in London so I have been struggling a bit to keep the pace. On top of it a lot has been going on in the UK and on a global level that obviously concerned me quite a bit – I hope the New Year will bring more stability and a bit more positivity. Perhaps we should all leave the hedonistic turn that our society has taken and take care of each other a little bit more.

What are your thoughts on global warming and Greta Thunberg?

I think it’s really positive that this problem is finally getting the global attention it needs, and the fact that younger generations are leading the charge really makes it more pressing for all of us, especially those in key positions to make a tangible difference. As an adult and mother of 2 I feel it is our responsibility to ensure younger generations a future in the first place and a good one. Greta Thunberg has now gone to become this huge mediatic phenomenon but I hope that the focus won’t shift too much on her persona but remains on the actual issues at hand. I personally admire Leonardo Di Caprio’s work as an activist as well; he has been involved in making the public aware of these topics for many years now. I recommend watching his documentary “Before the Flood” from 2016 – it is really eye opening.

Who are your artistic inspirations?

I feel like I am somehow in the middle of the road between pop/urban and modern art so I keep swinging back and forth from one style to the other.  I am a bit all over the place and I probably have a new favorite artist virtually every day! I have to say these are exciting times to live in as there is so much outstanding talent out there. But if I really had to pick a few Van Gogh, Marina Abramovic, Keith Haring, Frieda Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, Banksy and Paul Signac immediately come to mind!

Van Donna’s “All You Need Is Love” painting. A perfect blend of Pop Art and Pointillism

What can’t you live without?

I know it’s an old cliché for an English person, but my day doesn’t begin until I had my cup of tea in the morning!

What would you happily live without?

The list would be long, but I would definitely drop my smart phone if I could. I think we all spend too long on it rather than being out and about and physically talking to people and interacting. I am lucky to have grown up and lived in a mobile-free world and as much as new technologies have many advantages, I think something is lost from the old school ways, if that makes sense…

Which 3 items would you carry on a desert island?

The obvious answer would be: paintbrush, canvas and colours. I am an artist after all, no?

What is favorite artwork of yours?

It changes all the time, but usually it is my last. So I will go for ‘Kaleidoscope’ now. I am also very fond of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”, it’s an artwork that unexpectedly opened many doors for me and put me on the map, so I will forever be very special to me.

Van Donna’s “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” at Christie’s, London

What’s your favorite artwork by another artist ever?

Next question please! Ha ha. This is a difficult one. It may change tomorrow but today I will say Botticelli’s ‘Birth Of Venus’ as it portrays femininity beautifully and it is mind blowing in all respects.

What are your hopes/dreams/aspirations for this year?

I hope that I can continue to do what I love because it makes me feel good. Besides that, I wish we can all start a personal process of healing and improvement as humans, shifting our values to the greater good rather than mere individuality. We cannot change the world or other people’s minds, but we can change ourselves and lead by example.