Albanian artist Abi Kallushi has a heavy background in architecture and design. was kind enough to share some of her mixed media collages and words with us via email. See below.
How did you get your start?
I’ve always been drawing since I was a baby. In middle school I was big into anime and my friends used to ask me to draw Sailor Moon characters for them. But collage was really a way to procrastinate my other homework in college. I studied architecture in undergrad and before starting to work on the building, I’d often make “spirit sketches” which turned out to be collages that would represent the spirit/vibes of the building I wanted to design. I had so much fun so I kept doing it. Collage is the new doodle.
Who are your biggest influences?
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Eva Hesse, Egon Schiele were some of my first major art crushes. Moholy-Nagy was one of the OG collage artists but to me his work feels just as fresh and relevant today. But on a day to day basis I am influenced by people who work really hard at their craft or what they believe in.
There’s an odd pressure for things to seem effortless, especially in social media, it’s misleading and detrimental. I believe in sweat and tears.
You can take three things to a desert island that aren’t your phone. What do you choose?
How do you find inspiration or is it something that has to come naturally?
Most of the time it just shows up, sometimes at inconvenient times. But if I’m not constantly engaged and working I’ll start to lose touch with the muses and eventually fall in a pit of despair. It happens after a big deadline when I take a “break.” Music and photography are big sources of direct inspiration, though. Most of my collages can be traced back to one or two songs, and a handful of original images. It helps to write in a tiny pink moleskine.
What was your first tape or CD?
Ace of Base!
Biggie or Tupac?
Kevin Bacon or Patrick Swayze?
Sigh. Spaghetti for dinner with Patrick Swayze, warehouse party with Kevin Bacon. Maybe a girl CAN have it all.
How has art influenced your world view?
Looking at art or making it makes me feel like everything is just as it should be. Corny, but that’s it.
What’s your favorite mainstream movie?
What do you think was the biggest turning point in your career?
Thanks for this question, it made me realize that my career just started!
Top 5 albums?
More of a mixtape girl. ADD too strong.
Puppy dogs or kitty cats?
What’s coming up next for you?
I want to think less, do more. I have a few pieces that will be exhibited in a gallery in DC soon which is coolpants. And in general I want to move from the digital realm to print and work more with my hands. I’m interested in using collage and art to explore issues of anxiety and portray vignettes of being a woman today.