Naomi Safran-Hon

Naomi Safran-Hon is originally from Haifa, Israel and has earned her B.A. Summa Cum Laude in Studio Art and Art History from Brandeis University in 2008  and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art in 2010. Naomi uses different mediums such as photography, live performance and painting to create her works and engage in self-expression. Through January 22, Naomi has work being featured in the Momenta Art exhibit titled Broken Homes with other artists. AICF caught up with this flourishing artists who recently showcased some of her work at the annual Gala earlier this month.

1. What or who inspired you to pursue your artistic career?
Since a very young age I wanted to pursue an artistic path. The medium changed every few years but the passion remained. When my family went on sabbatical, I had the opportunity to spend my eighth-grade year in St. Louis, Missouri. The public school I attended had an amazing art studio, and to this day I remember how the classroom looked and some of the projects we worked on. I do not recall the name of the teacher but she was amazing and left a lasting impression on me. Falling in love with the picture world happened however earlier, in the seventh grade at my middle school in Haifa. I signed up for an extracurricular class in art history. I remember it took place at this ungodly hour of the early morning, named “zero hour”. I hated to wake up for school, but I loved that class and recall vividly the first painting we discussed, The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David.

2. What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
At sixteen I wanted to be a photographer. That summer my father and I were in Berlin and he took me to see this amazing show by Magnum Photos a cooperative photography agency. I was impressed by the show, and thus impressed my dad by the amount of time I spent looking at each photo in the exhibition. I wanted to be a photographer, indeed a member of the Magnum cooperative. Since then my creative journey changed my ambitions. I studied photography intensively at the art high school in my hometown. In those years my interest diverted from photojournalism to using this medium as a way of self-expression. I realized that photography can be used as a tool by the artist; I wanted to become an artist. I pursued my studies in painting and got my B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. I believe that an artist has to be fluent in different media as well as in the history of image making. Now I make hybrid-collage paintings that are a creative combination of both the print and drawn image.

3. What do you need as an artist today?
The most vital things I need for surviving as an artist today are: time, materials, space, a little inspiration, and time again.

4. What creative project are you working on now?
I am in the planning stage of a new body of work which will try to capture fragments of life in a conflict area. This will be an installation of about seventy small pieces, fragments of images that are installed in an asymmetrical grid on a white wall, thus creating an overwhelming experience of looking, and exploring the details of each and every piece. All the images are photographs I shot in my homeland and then brought back to my studio in Brooklyn to be destroyed and rebuilt. I mix cement and lace with the original image in a meticulous process to create hyper-collages. Pictures of abandon homes, walls and ruins are reconstructed in the creative process telling the narratives of the people who are absent from them.  By the act of reconstructing these landscapes, I try to offer a path to reconciliation with unresolved histories of war and conflicts. A few recent painting of mine are currently exhibited as part of the group show, Broken Home, at Momenta Art in Brooklyn, NY.

5. Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
I hope that with time and persistence my work and creative ability will expand and grow; that I will be able to keep on making and creating art for people to see and experience. I desire that my art will create an exchange among the viewers and transform them. Art might not be able to change the world, but it can initiate discussions and affect people’s lives. People can change the world.

6. What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
The position from which to view my work is not through the lens of my identity, nationality, race, gender or sexuality. I believe in the pictorial space to communicate a powerful message without necessarily shining light on to the maker of the piece. Thus, I don’t think of myself as an Israeli artist nor do I think of myself as a woman artist. Yet, I am an artist. An Israeli. A woman… My work is shaped by the person I am and the histories of my homeland and people.

7. What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world?
AICF is a great place to meet like-minded artists. It brings both artists and art lovers together and creates a network of exchanges. Taking part in AICF’s events has been an honor. In this years Gala I showcased my work and got to meet and connect with other artists and to finally meet the faces behind AICF.

Naomi Safran-Hon