an interview with Judit Nagy L. – LNJ
by Kay Hare
Judit Nagy is a contemporary painter based in Zurich. Her paintings are infused with the experience of wine. I think Judit may be the only painter in the world that has found this niche market. I was very curious and set about asking some questions.
When did you start painting, and how did the wine come about?
My first memories were a kind of conscious self-reflection, springing from very early childhood. Memories as a four to a five-year-old little girl, her self-definition of self-realization are full and complex.
Thinking and living in visual creativity, her heart and head are full ideas, calling to be materialized and realized in the physical world. Many sketches, paintings, and sculptures formed the groundwork for later work. Working in plasticine as well as big castles made from the earth and later sewn objects all contributed and propelled ideas.
However, this idyllic situation ended when I was 17-18 years old. The break was long. To find the way back, I needed more significant impulses, and the biggest one was my first pilgrimage 2011. I did it for my 40th birthday. Walking on the Way of St. James and tasting the local wines with the pilgrims every evening made me open to many unknowns. In the end, I fell in love with my husband Stefan and wine tasting. These 42 days I spent in Spain was a catalyst for my come back to art. The crazy idea to paint with wine uniquely, using the soil from the wineries, dawned on me shortly after the Camino. The IVVArt Vino Veritas Art Method was born in 2015, and Stefan is my partner and manager.
Do you drink the wine also while painting?
There are some ways to have a “match” between the wine and the visual image, and we chose the name: WINE porTRAIT. The process, in short, is tasting the wine, feeling, and looking in my inner world, taking the prominent impressions to paint. Or I make intuitive sketches inspired by the selected wine. I am seeking the images that “perfect” the visual wine-story. The essential material in the entire artistic process is the IVVArt wine paste, in which I mix with the wine, the soil, and other components to fix the wine molecules. I experience it, how I can touch the soul of the wine, and I can close it in my paintings.
Is organic wine important to you?
Organic denotes a relation between elements of something that fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole; bio is a full life. Isn’t it the usual wish for all of us? The legal definition of organic wine varies from country to country, but I tend – and not only in consuming wine – to choose bio (organic) products. I genuinely believe the only way is to go back to earlier production models, which typically excludes the use of artificial chemicals.
I even try to paint mostly organic, which can be a big challenge. Last year, I decided to use bio-resonance non-toxic gouache dyes for my wine paintings. I can tell you, in this case, the IVVArt wine paste smells incredibly beautiful and causes the formation of happy hormones during the painting process! The images pulsate with this mixture of fragrant molecules sometimes for weeks.
You also import the soil into the paintings? Why is this important?
The soil, the mother earth, carries the effect of all the elements (air, water, sunshine, moon, and stars, the symbiosis of nature as well as the work of man). How could I not use a handful of them to express and interpret the full character of the wine?
How do you expose your paintings? Are you interested in galleries in general, or do you want to capture the wine market and vineyards?
There are many platforms for artists to get their work out and to be seen. Gallery representations are relevant, they strengthen the reputation of the individual, but they are sometimes costly for us artists. Working independently without a gallery is another way that can cause problems as you have to manage everything in your art business yourself. Gallery presentation, in comparison – makes sense, but if you are seriously interested, the art fairs are valuable as potential customers and art lovers benefit from it. In my case, because of the unique market niche, I am very interested in co-operating with vineyard owners that wish to have artistic expression of their wine(s).
You are based in Zurich but are you happy to exhibit in France and the UK also?
I am based in the region Zürich, and I am happy to exhibit not only in Switzerland but in other countries too. Everything is the question of proper coordination and good collaboration. I prefer to go under the artistic name of Judit Nagy L. -LNJ. My great-Grandfather was a French soldier and his name was L’thody. I started to use his “L” to get a unique signature LNJ, which is a sign on every one of my originals.
Do you use a different wine with each painting, or are some wines consistent because you like them?
I think the answers above show how I use a different wine for each new WINEporTRAIT. I may paint more than one picture with the same wine paste; then, the WINEporTRAIT-s will receive a plus number on the certificate of authenticity.
For more information contact Judit Nagy L. – LNJ
Inspiring international lifestyles based on the French Riviera