Chisara Vidale is an emerging artist and one of the winners of our bookmark competition, ‘This Difference’. Exploring cultures, the natural world, and our shared experience of reality, Chisara’s work combines the symbolic abstract with the deep-rooted primal. Join us as we visit her garden studio in North London where she works.

Chisara’s strong connection to nature is the beaming light that guides us through her paintings; abstract leaves, fungi, and flowers are often present, delicately painted amidst abstract blobular forms. A clear folkloric, mystical, mythical element shines through her paintings, illuminating an acute connection to nature, its sacred geometry, and the cycles of the seasons. Using primarily oils, watercolour and colour pencils, she couples intricacy with a powerful use of colour and shape to create her dynamic pieces.

Within her current work, she has been researching moments of creation, transformation, and growth: looking for the instances where order and chaos merge.

For our bookmark competition, ‘This Difference’, Chisara explains that her design came from a simple yearning for one united identity;
“The given definition of difference is to be ‘not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality’. Difference seems to suggest a lack of commonality between things, a disconnection or dissonance. Yet difference can also be a beautiful thing, allowing for diverse cultures, art, music, sharing and collaboration. For me, to be different, is to be an embodiment of liminality, to be ‘a part of’ and simultaneously unique.

My matriarchal line is a rich blend of Danish and Nigerian culture and all that brings. My patriarchal line is British and Trinidadian, which adds yet another element. I want to ask, how do you become native and have a deep sense of knowing the place you are born into? How do you foster that connection to the ecology around you? How do you engage with the land that you live on?”

Making art taught Chisara to seek out the beauty that is present within different people and places, to draw on that which is simply human. Feeling different led to discovering a love of creating and sharing, a powerful force that unites us all, beyond differences that are based on colour or faith.

On a surprisingly warm autumnal day, sitting in the garden in North London, small but bursting with plants, vegetables and seedlings, while her tiny chihuahua, Honey, snoozed on my lap, we discussed her influences, her deep-rooted connection to earth and her hopes for the future:

What inspires you?

My main inspiration has to be nature. Having a connection with plants, the land, animals, and people that’s on a more human and non-hierarchical level is really important to me. I think we’re all part of the same consciousness, and seeing plants and animals in a more equal way allows us to interact and engage more consciously.

Who are your biggest influences?

Agnes Pelton, Hilma Af Klint, Kandinsky and Franz Marc. I guess because they were all looking at the world around them and trying to see it (especially for their time) through a different lens than the one it was being seen through. Seeing the beauty in what was possible.

How do you get into the space to connect and create art?

It’s a daily practice for me. Like a religion where you pray every day, going out and being with nature is my daily practice. With my work I want everybody to be able to tap into that. I want that connection to be open to everyone if you’re open to it. I think the planet would be in a better place with more people feeling more deeply about the land they’re on.

I’ve heard there’s this mushroom that lives under the sea, and it connects things underwater. We know that fungus and mycelium are connected through soil as well, so there’s this whole web connecting all of the planet, that membrane is already there.

Do you have any themes that you keep returning to?

Network, web, interconnection, family ties, space, time.

Do you have a favourite artwork?

It’s somewhere between one of Franz Marc’s blue horses and Georgia O’keefe’s Clouds.

Favourite food?

Flat peaches

How has your artistic style developed over time?

It’s become more intuitive. In the beginning I would start with an intricate pencil drawing, now it feels like those shapes and forms have become embedded within me, I let the painting tell me what to do next.

Where’s your happy place?

I think it’d have to be in a forest somewhere. A mossy forest with waterfalls.

What are your hopes for the future, both artistic and otherwise?

Artistically I hope I get to keep on making work and that it keeps developing and growing. It feels like I have so much still to explore. In a wider sense, I hope we treat the planet better. Before I leave at least, I hope it starts to take a turn for the better.

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

A lot of painting! I’ve got a show coming up at Jupiter in their London offices starting in November. This is my favourite time of year, heading into autumn and winter, I feel like I always make the most, so I’m looking forward to going deeper.

What drew you to working with The Responsa Foundation?

Most importantly the ethos of seeing people as people, and differences as a part of the spectrum of being human. Looking at nature and seeing how it connects all of us is one lens of looking at the same thing. How do we acknowledge our differences and at the same time co-exist and unite? That’s how plants live in harmony, so how can humans do that?

Are there any scenes or cultural movements that inspire you?

I’d have to give the hippies of the 70’s a shout out. I guess the podcasts of today really inspire me too. The people making podcasts across all topics, I think they provide so much inspiration and company if you’re working in a studio on your own. There haven’t been many times in history when you can tune in and see what someone on the other side of the planet is thinking about something really specific that you’re also interested in. There’s such a wealth of information and knowledge that we have access to.

For more, follow Chisara on Instagram @Chisara__