As a visual documentarian and keen observer of the human condition, I approach strangers with a relentless curiosity, as they catch my eye in the streets, in crowded markets, in parks or while patiently waiting at a bus stop.
I tend to favor characters who, like me, do not resonate with the modern mechanistic worldview where ancient wisdom, instinctual knowledge, and the art of self-knowing have been replaced with unworthy, self-serving rulers and nefarious technocrats posing as philanthropists, wielding their fake swords and speaking in forked tongues.
Whether I am enchanted with the ordinary man, the blue collar worker, the eccentric, the social misfit, or the rare awakened soul who knows that safety and security is merely an illusion that is being sold to the unsuspecting, it is in that first moment of recognition that their appearance already belongs to me.
Once aware of being photographed, the initial look of surprise and suspicion begins to make room for a more deliberate relationship, as the armor is coming down, and an agreement is entered.
I rejoice in capturing spontaneous moments where vulnerabilities are laid bare, while tapping into this mystical ability to elevate the mundane, the everyday experience into something extraordinary and magical.
My work serves as an invitation to unsettle and awaken the viewer into a more vivid, tangible reality, away from the fiction the majority of consumers have been conditioned to believe as real.
The photograph serves as the starting point, but as the painting process unfolds, I rely on the memory of the experience, the soul essence of my chosen subject, while guarding their integrity.
Austria-based figurative painter Sonja Aurelius delights in depicting individuals she has met during chance encounters in urban environments.
Working in oils and charcoals, and intrigued by fusing realism with abstraction, she explores themes of solitude, perilous beauty, and eccentricity.
Having lived and worked in North America for many years, she likes to mention that she discovered an affinity for painting just a year before graduating at the University of New Orleans in Jazz Piano, and began to exhibit her works soon thereafter. Additionally, her early work experience in Graphic Design laid the groundwork for a strong sense of composition and color.
After several more years in the United States she relocated to Egypt, where she immersed herself in local culture, and received many opportunities to showcase her work.
It was also there that she experienced a profound spiritual transformation that allowed for her already solid foundation in natural health practices and self-directed inner wisdom to become magnified.
She has a fondness for stray dogs and warriors of old with impeccable manners in shiny, well-cut suits.