STUDIO VISIT 02: Ariel Katzir

Before you begin reading this, bring out a piece of paper and draw a quick sketch of the human figure. What was the first thing you drew? The outlined silhouette? Did you draw much on the inside? Now look at yourself in the mirror. Is the first thing you notice is the outside line shaping your body? I bet it’s your sparkling eyes or the lines on your lips or the shape of your legs. We don’t walk around with a thick outside line around our silhouette, although it’s generally the way we draw people.

It was this simple yet profound observation from artist Ariel Katzir’s figure-drawing lecturer which reignited her passion for drawing again. And an obsession sparked for drawing people inside out.

Ariel spent her younger years growing up in Israel and speaking English as her second language; drawing became a more effective means of self-expression. Although moving into high school art classes, a structured version of realism was enforced, and Ariel stopped drawing for two years. She began studying fashion; another creative form of communication and eventually came across the figure drawing teacher who steered her back towards the painter’s path.

I walked into an old bakery and Ariel appeared in black jeans splashed with paint, a hooded jacket and hair twisted and pinned at the top of her head, secured with a pen. She led me into a small office next to the bakery, past the bakers, through aromas of fresh bread, and up two flights of stairs into her studio. Canvases of her art were propped around the room on milk crates and brushes and paint corners the floors. We sat down at her working table surrounded by abstract paintings of women’s bodies and faces. 

What do you create?

“Freedom” said Ariel.

The artist has an addiction to drawing the lines of people’s faces, and an intriguing fascination towards the way people incredibly different. Ariel feels relaxed and fulfilled while creating, and each day brings the compulsion to draw and sketch.  

Ariel spreads her time between sketching familiar faces in her studio, working a part-time job and studying art therapy.

“Art therapy is a whole other world. And you don’t have to be an artist to study art therapy, which I love!” said Ariel.

One might quickly assume art therapy is merely a painter’s means of healing. But truth be told, art therapy has therapeutic benefits for all. In fact, Ariel’s art therapy course only consists of four artists.

She describes the healing benefits of art therapy as a sensory experience. “I’ve learnt it’s all about the process and not the end product,” Ariel said. Her clients often suffer from anxiety or depression whilst others simply seeking freedom or comfort. “It’s a form of expression that doesn’t require your voice” said Ariel.

Ariel Katzir’s upcoming exhibition is a collaboration with artist Renae White about faces. The exhibition will be shown at Rockafeller Deli on June 10.