Noa Charuvi is a painter. She was born in Jerusalem, Israel and moved to New York City for her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She’s participated in the Bronx Museum’s AIM program, Yaddo Artist Colony, Triangle Arts Workshop and AAI Rotating Studio Program. Her studio in Manhattan is subsidized by the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts studio program.
This building is all studios. They’re not free, but they’re affordable, which is pretty cool for this location on West 39th Street. It’s weird–most artists are in Brooklyn. I feel separated from a lot of them, but there’s a huge community in the building and I can walk to Chelsea. There’s lots of galleries opening up in this area too. Some galleries moved up here. Sean Kelly opened up a space. Everything is changing all the time in New York. Chelsea isn’t cool anymore, apparently.
I moved to New York City from Jerusalem. There, it’s a very tiny art scene. Here, it’s the complete opposite. There’s a lot more resources here. In Israel, they barely exist. It’s competitive here, you have to fight to get those opportunities, they’re not falling to you, but at least they exist.
I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my job as an artist assistant, my new baby and my studio practice. It’s crazy but you have to juggle everything, somehow. It definitely compromises my time in the studio but I found it forces me to make really quick decisions in painting because I only have a three hour window and I have to make something. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the mood or not. That’s how I like to paint, anyway. I was never a laborious painter.
The photographs are in a pile on the floor and I grab something to paint. Sometimes I’ll paint the same thing over and over again, or different parts of the picture. I collect images about Palestine and the political situation. Most of them were collected in 2008 when there was this big military operation in Gaza. It was a turning point for me. That’s when I felt Israel completely lost it.
The images don’t have to be good quality. I like low resolution shitty quality images because it gives me space to do whatever I want on the canvas. If the image is detailed, I tend to put too much detail into the painting. It works better for me if the image is really bad.
I’ve been working with video footage that’s really pixelated. I’m attracted to the fact that it’s already abstract, deconstructed. Then, it’s easy for me, as a painter, to work and turn the ruins and rubble in a photograph into brushstrokes on a canvas.
I didn’t make this kind of work in Israel. When you’re there, you’re in this bubble, just trying to get through it and protect yourself from it. You’re being judged by your environment and it’s too much to handle. I avoided it in my daily life and in my studio. My work was more personal, about my story and my family. As soon as I moved to New York, I could deal with more general subject matter. I had my own space and wasn’t judged by people who take it so personally.
–Noa Charuvi, as told to Studio Beat
Photos by Vuk Dragojevic
Visit Noa Charuvi’s website here.