Inside the Studio

Sharon Brill

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

Whenever I start a new piece, I am guided to give expression to the current personal issues that are most intriguing to me at the time. In the process, I am trying to translate those ideas into action and creation. Although the process starts spontaneously with a flexible substance that is moist and soft (and then ends up as a hard matter), I try to create and keep the flowing and spontaneous movement as the work hardens, and through the process of two fires at 1200c, as it becomes static.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

From the very beginning of my journey, I received great advice from teachers and friends who guided me with their honesty and sharp eyes.

One memorable piece of advice came to me from an unexpected source, but it came exactly at the right time for me, and so it was helpful. I was watching the movie Black Swan and at one point of the movie the teacher says to his student: “Perfection is not just about control, it is also about letting go.” At that moment I had the feeling that this sentence was directed towards me. During this period I was struggling to learn porcelain’s limits and restrictions, and I had put in a lot of effort that was followed by much frustration as I struggled to find the perfect solution that would provide me with the perfect results.

The understanding and acknowledgment of this fact and the acceptance that followed would actually allow me to develop. This specific advice made me realize it. I kept dealing with this matter, overall its layers, for quite some time and I still do deal with it in different aspects of my life and learn it through various sources. However, at that specific time when I was watching the movie something inside me was finally ready for this piece of advice, and allowed it to sink into my mind and through it into my work.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I prefer to work with music. My choice of music depends on the stage of the work I am in and the amount of focus that I require. I particularly love to listen to Leonard Cohen. His deep, special voice and lyrics help me connect to my own quiet mind. During different stages of my work I usually prefer to listen to the radio, specifically to a channel that broadcasts music with no commercial interruption.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

If I had to choose only one piece of art in my life it would probably be one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s enlarged flowers, though I would have difficulty choosing which one.

Her character and work were (and still are) an inspiration to me as an artist. I am excited every time I see one of her pieces. I love the sensuality that comes from her brush strokes that always seem to me as dancing; I love the fine transfer from realism to abstract; the gentleness that is in the paintings along with power and strength; the gentleness of the line between the color fields that creates tension between the color and line and the great precision with the great freedom. All of these contradictions that are in her pieces fascinate me. I really love her approach to the object (flower) and painting, her idea is to enter into the object, with much curiosity and investigate deeply into the object, focus and enlarge a specific area, so it takes it out of its original association. With these tools she expresses sensitivity, sensuality, and supreme beauty.

Who are your favorite writers?

My favorite writer is the Israeli author Meir Shalev. What I love about his writing is his use of language. It is rich yet clear and honest. He writes with great humor and wit and uses it to create live descriptions of time periods, complex characters, landscapes, smells, tastes and feelings. His unique understanding of the Israeli’s core and foundation makes his stories special. Lately I have read books by different writers that all focus on different aspects of the soul and mind.