The #GAHSPclout conversation series aim to shed light on how deeply creative influences affect the thought process of people. Focusing on unique relationships and stories of Creatives, we want to continuously question and update what influences will impact the future.
Up next in our #GAHSPclout conversation series we invited Sara Sebestyen, Hungarian Photographer and Artist, and her daughter, Alina Rebecca Sara Arato, Digital Media Designer and Artist to investigate what creative influences are being shared, exchanged or disagreed on in a mother-daughter relationship. The unique bond, arguably one of the strongest we know, served as an exciting new territory to explore how creativity is shaped by one of the rawest form of influences one can ever encounter.
Sara Sebestyen has been working as a Designer for more than ten years, and has only recently started producing photographic works as she felt inspired to express her emotions during her motherhood. Her photographs are organically fitting into the Hungarian constructivist tradition with the images being composed of architectural details and everyday sights that are framed by precision and soft harmony. Sebestyen's works have been exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums internationally, such as the FUGA Architecture Center, Budapest; KromArt Gallery, Rome; Valid World Hall-PH21G, Barcelona; Galerie Schlichtenmaier, Stuttgart; and the list goes on.
Alina Rebecca Sara Arato, Sebestyen's daughter, is a Designer and Artist herself as well. Her inspiration roots in neosurrealism, symbolism and retrofuturism, leading her to a multidisciplinary path including poetry, photography and styling - for now. While studying Media Design at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, Arato has already launched her artistic career, showcasing her works at several local exhibitions in Budapest, including KÆBALA, an event series that she developed and manages. The initiative provides platform for young Hungarian Fashion Designers and takes place in form of art fairs and electronic parties.
What do you think is the difference between inspiration and influence?
I consider INSPIRATION ideas that come to my mind unexpectedly which then make me feel surprised and happy.
An INFLUENCE on the other hand is simply an impression, a movie or even just a conversation that I come across. The visual language of some of the respected movies, for example, teach me a lot as they are rich in valuable references. This applies to other art disciplines as well. I have a great interest for architecture, especially Bauhaus and its stylistic features. Processing all these influences can easily lead to new inspirations.
Video by Kristof Asbot
I define INSPIRATION based on two different aspects. One of these, ’intuition’, is information that roots strictly within our inner selves. My digital artworks reflect a vision, extending the idea of symbolism and constructivism until the point where they transform into unrecognizable pieces that one can address as ’abstract’ in their own original ways only. Intuition appears in a direct, therefore selfless manner, providing knowledge that is true by its nature. Sometimes, I prefer to be empty, to flow like water, to wonder, to feel my thoughts and emotions and not to name them. I don't like to address where I am, not because I'm afraid of pain, but because our existence can feel so vivid, infinite and drifting at times. I like to go back to my old works every once in a while because I can recognize my own processes, uncovering some of the hidden intuitions that might have triggered the creation of those pieces.
The other aspect, ’INFLUENCE’, is just the complementary piece of 'intuition' leading towards the ark of inspiration. I own a large collection of visual references, with notes, article pieces, mostly related to psychology, natural science or literature. These are especially useful when building up bigger scale projects. Other than that, it’s all just a live act. Or working with a team. With my full heart in it.
Works by Sara Sebestyen. 1, Absolute Value. 2, W(H)OMEN. 3, Mysterious Ovule Element.
What/Who influences your work?
Starting from a young age, I prefered the „language of mathematics and geometry”. It offered simple and clear solutions which I could trust, so I found my happiness in it. The works of Victor Vasarely already caught my attention as a child, and I have been collecting albums and books about him ever since. Today, I still view geometric art as the tool which paves my way to a successful artistic expression. I play with space and objects that I find on the streets, and use the words that appear in my work titles. These titles often consist of paradoxical words. The duality of mathematics and fine arts has always been present in my life.
Quantum entanglement: we divide a photon and distance its parts kilometers wide from each other. If we stimulate one of the two parts, the other part will follow, performing the same effects. This principle applies to our cognitive processes as well, which allows intuition to be realized in space and time – we know that a bigger bowl won’t fit into a smaller one. That means if information appears, we will be able to recognize it only if our intuition is trained to do so.
Besides the outstanding figures of philosophy, I am also influenced by symbolists, sketches of medieval artists, Northern Renaissance artists, Hungarian churches, iconostasis, the materials and sound translations of modern art. I dig deep into these sources with my full heart, so that in the end they interlace each other organically. Eliphas Lévi, Carl Jung, fashion, 90s fashion photography, 4D sound, genre art....
Works by Alina Rebecca Arato
Do you ever question if you are being influenced by the right thing/person?
It’s not common but there are times where I feel uncertain. Time pressure is one of the most stressing factors in those situations. Thankfully, I have already mastered working with myself. In my photography work the selection process can be challenging. If I have a tough day, I rather let it rest for a bit, as a new day usually offers clarity once again. Then the photographs which deserve to be taken into consideration will catch my attention more easily.
ARSA Intuitionism. According to experiments, our heart is capable of predicting what will happen 4.8 seconds before the event occurs.
However, we must pay attention to how we process information. We must look beyond the words that come across our paths and need to uncover who is speaking to us. We must know what kind of a person they are, and why they are talking. A statement could be true, still we must consider its hidden intentions because otherwise it could have an intentionally manipulative influence on us. We must look for ’clean statements’. This applies to our ways of speaking as well. We have to try to be loving and sincere with whatever we say. This thought is quite new to me as well, and I hope to live according to it one day. I see this as a beautiful challenge.
What are similarities and differences in your creative influences and practices?
The main elements of my geometric and constructive compositions are mostly „found objects” that I encounter on the streets, for example, different parts of buildings. Alina’s digital realm on the contrary is fueled by her fantasy, and not by the fragments of reality that I am so fond of using. The themes of my art pieces are formed by my day-to-day life. I am simply living life, working, and whatever catches my eyes inbetween, I might capture. My microcosmos consists of little pieces, which pieces shape my whole. My camera and brush are my eyes. At all times, I am relentlessly looking to be inspired by the reflection of sunlight that touches the surface of buildings. I find myself exploring compositions on the streets, or perhaps indoor spaces. If I catch the right moment while looking at it, I can simply take those into my artistry as they are.
My works are direct and minimalistic, they are an imprint of reality. A great example of what I mean by that is my exhibition GEOMETRY_POSITIVE that was shown in Duna Múzeum Közép Gallery.
The similarities between the works of mine and my daughter’s are to be found in the work titles. We both like to reflect on human emotions and feelings. Besides that, we also tend to move towards using a non-figurative visual language.
What are outside influences that you try to avoid in order to protect your creativity?
I am strictly keeping myself to my own style, it is the only way. I require a peaceful and organized surrounding, as well as enough time in order to create.
I’d like to avoid cliches and half-truths. This doesn’t mean working against the ’waves’ of course, I do want to align myself with what’s going on out there. Copying is forbidden.
Only speak, if it must be heard.
What is necessary: the respect of each other’s work, meaning integrity, homage and empathy.
I find it important to stay grounded however we have to follow the footsteps of the ancient sceptics at the same time in applying critical thinking to our evaluation processes. As scientific knowledge in fact can be proven wrong, I can only rely on intuition as the only absolute source of true information. Whereas I focus a big part of my energies on research, analyses and discovery, the initial tools that I use for orientation are my gut (instinct), my heart (emotion) and my crown chakra (intuition). Therefore „what if” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary.
Interactive Qu & A
Sara Sebestyen and Alina Rebecca Sara Arato reflect on each other's statements
One of the happiest yet most hardworking periods of my life has started when I became a mother. Looking back at the experiences and how it has changed me, I find my relationship with my daughters truly astonishing. The works of my „ÉLEK”-EDGES OF LIFE book and exhibition (2019. Hungarian National Museum Esztergom, 2020. FUGA Architecture Center Budapest) were greatly influenced by them.
My ancestors from my mother’s side were all born in the sun sign of Aquarius, at least that’s what we believe from what we know about them. My mother’s siblings, my grandmother, my sister and me as well. The 11th zodiac sign gifted airy and slightly distant character traits to all of the Sebestyen women, accompanied by a deep sense of intellect. Their lives might be comparable to a massive ark, moving on heavy, fragrant waters. They are recognizable for their caring attitude, fiery, scientific curiosity, and they are certainly good at keeping secrets. While they are dedicated to bringing people together, they protect traditions and encourage innovative revolutions and ideologies.
This human ark, heritage, secret and revolution appears to be the center theme in some of my works as well. Many of my work titles aim to redefine, question or solve the arguable nature of the above mentioned, just like a herbarium, using imagery as its main communication tool. Some relevant examples: PERFECTLY LIGHT SOUL, MYSTERIOUS OVULE ELEMENT, CHANGE THE POINT OF VIEW, SENSIBILITY AND SENSE, DREAMING LINES, NEW DAY, NEW SUN, W(H)OMAN, ABSOLUTE VALUE, KARMA…
Followed by my work titles: CORPUS CALLOSUM, Talk 'bout your dream, I'm listening, Dark and Brilliant Achievements, My soul is trans, Burn the bridges, Flow master, Cosmos Quenn…
“MOTHER-DAUGHTER”, we are same and different.
Heritage and healing transformation.
Written, edited and translated by Julia Horvath
Photographed by Csaba Szilvasi
Wardrobe by ALMA Vetlenyi
Creative Concept by Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy of Sara Sebestyen, Alina Rebecca Arato and GAHSP Media