International Art Dealer Sunil Vilas exclusive interview’s Mona Youssef – Canadian artist
I am proud to Welcome Canadian fine realism artist’s Mona Youssef – landscape painter showing the of changing light and colours of the seasons. I am pleased that you could join us in our VIP Creative lounge for an exclusive interview
Egyptian born in the capital city of Cairo, known as daughter of the Nile, but prefer to be called daughter of Nature knowing what was going to be her life long passion for painting scenes of nature and landscapes, a gift that she discovered from early age to be able to be express through the medium of pencil drawings and later into oil paintings on canvas.
To date completed over hundred’s of major collection some owned by private and corporate collectors’ world wide…,
Q.1. – Sunil – What’s the first thing you can remember painting?
Thank you Sunil for welcoming me and I am honoured to be interviewed by you. Though my paintings have happy colours but Sunil, you’ve asked me a very searching question that might change the image of these happy paintings!! My first pencil drawing at the age of seven was a scene of a car that crashed someone and crowd gathering around crying and screaming. I still do not know why I drew that but felt so much for grieving ones and as well for the lost life!! As for my first oil painting, was done at age of 12 and was about a farmer, woman holding water pottery on her head and old house with trees and some chickens in the background. This painting was sold immediately to a gallery/framer, when my dear Mother took the painting for framing, but came back happily announced that the owner fell in love with my painting and purchased it.
Sunil – Thank you for sharing your early childhood memories, the beginning of your career as an artist, you describe the experiences as it was fresh in your mind today!
Q. 2. – Sunil – When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
Being an artist to me is much more than knowing how to draw or paint and is not about the ability to make a living from art. There are many good artists yet, can’t make living for different reasons. It is the nature of oneself and its sensitivity to the surroundings, the unique perception of matters and the way interacting with others creatively and lovingly. One thing I am certain of is that since I opened my eyes as a child, I knew that couldn’t / can’t still live without art. not only painting, but also listening to or playing music and writing the three I love so much.
I breathe from art where I get amazing energy. Some days I paint for 13 hours straight and only grab little snacks yet, still feel very energetic and happy and this when I get the strong desire to share these feelings with others and help them in different ways. During the time of painting, I find my love, affection, compassion and understanding for others and for nature increases. This process, I’ve realized in myself from a very early age, when cared very much for family, friends, and school mates. So, I am not sure if that made me an artist or the title was pronounced by others because they liked my art!!
Sunil – Mona, Very interesting how your success is attributed to the total trust you put on your natural instinct from a very young age which has helped you shape your life and made you a complete artist that you are today renowned for your realism landscape art. I can happily say that you where born to be an artist.
Mona- Thank you Sunil for seeing that in me.
Q3. – Sunil – How would you describe your art to someone who has never seen your work?
It is hard to describe my art as I only feel it and paint it, visualize it and then paint it. But Sunil, I only know that I always wanted to paint in realism style and never looked back. The first watercolour drawing done in school had caused me tears because I could not get the fine details I wished. Persisting and improving, I received from many commentators that my realism is like thumb print that couldn’t be duplicated and can replace a personal signature. It has bee very impressive receiving many comment from art critics, art historians, journalists viewers how they perceive my art which spoke loudly, is how described it. These are few of the comments:
1) From a Canadian Journalist: “Viewing her work has given me a different perspective in which to view life. The blazing color and intricate detail’s expresses how life is to be enjoyed.
Pride makes us do things well, but its love that brings them to perfection. Mona has great love to create feelings as optimism and hope, to all who view her work.” Your presentation of light and shadows is awe-inspiring. The detail form of every object portrays their natural beauty, which human’s fail to appreciate every day.
Through your work one can find hope and purpose in life. There is truly beauty unimagined as we observe these scenes. Knowledge is limited, but imagination covers the world. Yes, you have created imagination from reality.”
2) From a German Art Historian:
“The works are living and are literally animated obviously because of an aesthetically and hysterically character (themed: how inside of you how in front of you). Mona Youssef´s is creating in her works a substrate of poetical hysterically singleness and timeless beauty. In her visionary realism her works seem to be a happy exception in our western society and our civilization!”
3) From an Italian Art Journalist and critic:
”Mona Youssef is a high quality fine artist. I had the opportunity to see her paintings at the Florence Biennale, Italy where she was exhibiting last December, 2007- and I must say they are awesome! A combination of a high standard techniques plus a refined poetry permeate her oeuvre, which a true gift of light and delicacy.
Mrs. Youssef is also a caring person, devoted not only to her work but also to the benefits of others. Mona; the hidden secret of your art is reflecting like a mirror, the inner side of the artist”
4) From Italian art critic – Dr Josephine Scott: Mona has been known in Chianciano and these are my brief notes on er painting ” Blue shadows” is presented to the public of International collective Art Museum of Chianciano Terme (SI) – Italy, where the same, discover the works of Mona Youssef. Her research reveals an intense form of expression elegant, yet casual, surrounded by those “cracks” deep, those that illuminate the light blue sky and the artist uses light an shadow, causing games apparently cols environment only, because button interior life. Her is a thin cover, in equilibrium between mind and spirit. is faithfully as an inspiration that seems to oscillate between mind and spirit, is faithfully as an inspiration that seems to oscillate between sensitivity and a dramatic swirl of meditative dimension. Truly a pleasant and interest hat with the art of Youssef.
5) From a German art collector: Besides Carl Barks and Don Rosa I Worship the brilliant paintress Mona Youssef – her paintings are fantastic!.
6) From one of the admirers:
”We could all remain children forever by mere looking at your splendid arts. Your creations are memoirs of beautiful times and passion for life. This is so amazing painting depicting summer as reflected in the vibrancy of a child. Colourful and exhilarating laughter of a child is the essence of summer..
Your imagination to create such masterpiece is truly incomparable. My congratulations!!”
I would love t share a statement received from admirer who described my art as “Pure, reflects spirit of love, has vibes, spiritual. Looks like The Golden Age – all Luminous and joyful, vivid as if there was no pollution, you are a true Renaissance woman. “I would quote this expression; It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Pablo Picasso (October 1881 – April 1973). I am not Raphael, neither am I Picasso but would love to paint as that child whom innocently sees only, the purity of nature as is with all its richness of simplicity and its sophistications. What is more beautiful than nature itself?
To read more of wonderful testimonials please visit the link http://www.monayoussef.com/biography/testimonials.html
Sunil – A truly impressive list of comments from a cross section of International followers and admirers talking highly of your achievement to-date. I too applaud you and within a short time of getting to know you I have discovered that your drive and ambition are meant for greater placement for your art to recognised amongst the list realism painters – Congratulation!!.
Mona- Thank you so much Sunil, it is another great plus to receive from such art expert/dealer as yourself.
Q4. – Sunil – This therefore naturally leads me to our next question, you don’t get ask everyday but for the benefit of our records, is your work on any famous persons wall?
Yes Sunil, one of them was for the previous Prime Ministry of Canada, Mr Pierre Elite Trudeau. He owned my original oil painting which I was commissioned to do a symbolism painting that captured the Canadian Constitution Acts event in 1982 when the Queen came to Canada to sign up the new constitution. And it was a thrill for me to receive in 1999 a thank you letter from him, expressing how proud he was to hang the painting on his walls; a copy of the letter is on the above link for reference.
Sunil – a symbolic painting that recorded history of Canada in the making. I am sure this painting will be remembered as the new era and also a turning point. I could see copies of these painting reproduced in all government offices including schools and Universities as symbolism of patriotic and pride for the citizens of Canada.
Q.5. – Sunil – If you had the opportunity to change something in the art industry what would it be?
I would love to see international union for artists to protect their rights and set reasonable roles defining relationships between artists, art organizers, galleries, Museums, dealers, buyers and art collectors etc.
I have been working and mentioning this for a while and would love to see the day when the reputation of “Starving artists” changes to” Professional Self-employed artists” who do not ask any one for charity rather they contributing their art and who do not ask anyone to feed them but they struggle to make living while all others are making the big buck! No wonder why so many artists have given up. This must change for the fact that art is not simply a fun job to have or a luxury thing to own but carries much more than that but it is another subject to talk about the importance of art.
Sunil – Mona, I would not expect any less from you, you already got my full attention and I hope with our strong followers and our newly formed organisation in Globalization ICAS we could bring about these changes. And also our interview today will help to send a strong message to all the relevant parties.
Mona- Sunil, my gratitude to you and appreciation for all you do in the art market. It will be my pleasure to collaborate with you.
Q.6. – Sunil – Do you have any other interests or talents that you’d like to share?
Yes Sunil, I love music but stopped playing piano years ago wanting to focus on my painting.
I also love to write in particular poem and you are welcome to read some of them on my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/1monayoussef I do have others talents but do not wish to make my list long, let readers discover more if they wish.
Sunil – I hope you’ll also find a way of going back to playing the piano, as this is part of your life which you have put on hold.
Mona- Thanks you Sunil for the encouraging words, I would love to but have too much on my pallet so I passed this talent and ability to my son and he is doing a great job with his music, his success feels as if was mine!
Q7. – Sunil – This my favourite question, describe yourself in 3 words; one has to be a colour?
Royally.., love …, art
Sunil – Yes these are truly your trade mark as a symbol Mona Youssef realism painter but in the following order .., Art.., Love.., Royally
Mona- thoughtful order Sunil.. or Love… Art.. Royally
Q.8. – Sunil – Tell us your perfect scenario for painting?
I would love to have the perfect scenario but working on it as perfection has no end. What is perfect for one might not be so for the other as perception of art/beauty is different. For the fact that I’ve been able exhibit my paintings in many countries and received numerous awards, being invited, several times, as a guest honour or a guest artist, have sold original paintings to prominent individuals and some of my paintings are and will be in some of my paintings will be in a museum for good, proves that I’ve admirers ho see perfection in my at somehow!
Q.9. – Sunil – Do you have any advice for artists who are just starting out?
Yes Sunil, I have many and few of them are; keep your passion alive, do not compare your work with others to the point of feeling inferior or of feeling superior, keeping in mind that for each artwork there is a lover/admirer.
Being an artist is not all about having a rosy and dreamy road but about a chosen path that requires hard work, sleepless nights, much patience and persistence.
Be inspiring to be inspired and be happy for other artists’ success even if you are not yet.
Do not lose your patience to seeing the happy result, sooner or later will come as long as you do not lose the confidence in what you do and keep on improving pursuing it.
Sunil – Mona thank you for your valuable words of advice, this will help all new and emerging artists to guide them during their testing times to come through and continue to become successful professional artists.
Q.10. – Sunil – And finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a total new approach of Winter painting that I decided already to keep in my private collection, while being completed. It is singular that even though, I was born in warmer climate, coming from Egypt yet, my Winter paintings always receive full attention followed by exceptional comments that I feel always an honoured to receive remarkable comments. Here is one of my most famous paintings which was sold to an art collector titled “Blue shadows”
A scene from Tuscany where I actually, walked there during my exhibition in Chianciano Art museum
Sunil – Mona, thank you for giving us your precious time for our VIP interview to follow your amazing journey as an artist’s right to your successful career to our current date. I also would take this opportunity to wish you continue success in your forthcoming exhibition – Vienne in July 2013. Perhaps we could do a follow up story to continue our conversation.., All the Best from us all here at Globalization ICAS.
Mona – Sunil, I would like to thank you very much for your time and for the thoughtful questions, much appreciated.
Sunil – In the tradition of all interviews it is customary to invite members’ participation by asking for questions.
Therefore to conclude our interview if I could request for two individual questions from members of the group that you would like to ask Mona?
Didier Dubuy – France – I would like to ask Mona if she feels some sympathy with the art of “miniature” where the wish to push reality details so far it brings the viewer to a new awareness for all the beauty contained in it?
Mona – By all means, I give my full appreciation (sympathy) to miniature art. I have seen many of them and would take my hat off for it, but can’t promise to do so during the Canadian winter! The name (Miniature) is known in Italian as “miniature” and in Latin as “Miniare”, both carry same meaning of creating work with such delicate and refined details equal to precise manuscripts.
The fact that an artist can produce such details in a small-scale is overwhelming and requires so much patience and passion with special abilities in seeing details that public can easily, miss out. The only thing I can say about Miniature art that there is no room for creating a composition, individual visualization or adding the personal touch of an artist. However, as you mentioned, that there was beauty in it as is in nature.
Didier Dubuy France – I would be also interested to know Mona’s feeling about so-called “naive” art.?
Mona – I’ve also seen Naive art in several exhibitions and sincerely, admired artists for it.
Why? Because it has its own uniqueness where the simplicity and innocence of life is captured yet, with such transparency of rich and civilized culture that viewers can’t help it but to feel part of.
Sunil – UK – Didier thank you for your questions to Mona, this all adds to the fascination of how “Art” influences our daily life!!!
Sunil – UK – Thank you Mona,. I feel touch and honoured that you were able to share with us, your journey through life as an artist’s including your personal life story connected to art, I wish you all the best and continued success for many years to come .
Mona – Canada – Special thanks to Sunil. It has been a great pleasure interchanging such reviving conversation with you where you’ve thoughtfully, created interesting questions digging in my past to bring such memories/history that I hope will be motivating for other artists.
Thank you for your precious time and my deep appreciation to your long life experience in art and the meaningful involvement with artists.
MONA YOUSSEF’s achievements
Mona Youssef – Join a panel as a jury member of the international contest for visual arts “Light as Inspiration” (15 March 2010-15 April 2010), organized by the Sunflowers Art Association.
Last Art Exhibitions and Art Shows:
□ International art exhibition, “Spirit of Art” MOYA-Museum of Young
Art, Palais Schönborn, Vienna, Austria
□ International art
exhibition, “Izmir Biennale” Turkey, Izmir
□ Group exhibition”Images on
canvas” Ottawa, Canada
□ World-of-Art, International art
exhibition, Berlin, Germany
□ “Natura-Art”, International Art Exhibition,
□ London Biennale, International exhibition, Gagliardi
Gallery, Chelsea, London
□ International Exhibition “Art Shopping”, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris
□ International Art Exhibition “Biennale Chianciano” at The Art Museum of Chianciano, Italy My TV interview
The following link captures part of the Vernissage and Mr. Roberto Gagliardi, the owner of the art Museum at the Vernissage and a group interview including myself
□ International Art Exhibition “The Sounds of Arts”, Radisson SAS Falconer Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
□ Exhibition, The Studio Gallery at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston
□ International Art Exhibition, Germany, Leipzig
□ Art exhibition, 13th Bon Echo Art Exhibition, Cloyne, Ontario
□ International Art Exhibition Florence Biennale” Italy, Florence
□ International Art Exhibition “Landscapes”, Estense Castle, Italy, Ferrara.
□ Art Show, Cumberland Gallery, Centrum Boulevard, Orleans, Ontario.
□ Art Exhibition “Tulip Festival at the Westin Hotel” Colonel By Drive, Ottawa.
□ Art Exhibition “Rites of Spring”, new Gloucester Gallery, Orleans. Ottawa
□ Art Show & Sale, Glebe Community Centre, Ottawa, Ontario.
□ 23rd Juried Annual Arteast Art & Photo Exhibition, Ottawa, Orleans.
□ 23rd Rideau Valley, Juried Art Festival, Westport, Ontario.
□ Spring Award Show at National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
□ Art exhibition, Cumberland Art Gallery, Centrum Boulevard, Orleans, Ontario.
□ Ottawa Art Festival, Aberdeen Pavilion, LansdownePark, OttawaOntario.
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Sunil, An inspiring interview with Mona. She is an absolute gem of a painter and a very humble human being. As a painter I can’t help but admire her work but beyond that I am very lucky to be part of ICAS where opportunities to meet good people like Mona are made possible. And for that I thank you!
Sunil! Thanks for doing this interview with Mona! I also admire her artwork very much and wish her much continued success! I too am happy to be a part of ICAS. Very best wishes to all!
A great interview. Mona speaks and paints from the heart. An honesty and clarity of expression that inspires the artist and the patron.
Thank you Peter for the kind comment, well received and much appreciated. I wish you a bright future on your career as an artist and may your dreams come true.
Dear Heather, Laara and Peter,
Your heartfelt comments moved my heart to deeply, thank you for your kindness, lovely spirits and inspiring comments on my artwork.! The true pleasure is meeting you all and I look forward to meeting you someday in real life, the world is big yet, small and we were supposed to be a big worldwide family! So here I am if I can assist with anything and my sincere wishes! Last but not least, my gratitude to Sunil who made it possible for us all to communicate in such synergizing way and for his time giving me such thoughtful interview..
It is an honour and my good fortune to make contact with you. You are a human being of great worth! I sincerely hope that someday we get an opportunity to meet up.
Thank you so much for the kind message and it is a pleasure meeting you, as well, and yes, the world is small, we can might meet in some exhibition! Just let me know when you are ready to exhibit abroad and wil assist you by all means. If you have any other inquiry/question, here I am, feel free to ask!
My sincere wishes to you
Your friendship is a precious gift and I shall cherish it for always. Thank you for your offer of help. I sincerely welcome it and may take you up on that one day. Let us stay in touch.
That is so kind of you saying this and I’m delighted knowing such sincere and transparent artist and this what makes you and will always, a great artist. Keep that beautiful spirit of a genuine artist and yes dear take my word for it as I say what I mean and mean what I say
My sincere wishes to you
I’d like to ask Mona if she sees something in common in the personality of artists.
Thank you for the thoughtful question.
When I travel for my international exhibitions and meet artists, it feels as if I met them before. Immediately we talk and walk and do things together. This would give you the image of genuine artists who get along fast, very passionate, caring, helpful, excited, spontaneous, natural, love life and appreciate it.
I used term ” Genuine artist” for those who carry such qualities in their character. As I always believed that art is to love, loving nature surrounding us and people we share our world with.
I hope that I answered your question!:-)
Thank you so much Sunil for introducing us to the daughter of nature. Thank you so much Mona Youssef for the interview. Now I have a question: being a Canadian and Egyptian born town of Cairo, known as daughter of the Nile, how far could the melting pot of cultures paint the character of an artist and colour his / her mind?
Thank you for the kind message and for the meditative question!
Asking me about the speed of such melting process of culture, my reply is; it can be immediately depends on the level of the sensitivity an artist has. You might wonder how! Artist, in general, and myself in particular, since I am replying for myself now, I see the whole universe is ours, I see that we all one big worldwide family but have not me yet. I see that nature of any country is an open invitation to any artist to love and get influenced by and paint. Flexibility is one of a genuine artist to adapt to new surrounding and be part of. Being exposed to different cultures widen the horizon for more understanding of others and have respect for their way of life.
I hope that I answered your question!:-)
Great and inspiring Interview. Thank you so much !
Mona ~ as always I am drawn in to the magic of the nostalgia and light you create in your work ~ blessings for you always ~
Ich bin angeblich das älteste Mitglied der GICAS-Künstlerfamilie, hat Sunil festgestellt … und ich habe festgestellt, dass inzwischen die Enkelgeneration das Ruder des Lebens in die Hände nimmt … das finde ich sehr gut … als solcher genieße ich die herrliche Freiheit der Alten, die Narrenfreiheit … da sind auch Fehler eher geduldet als bei euch halben Alten / halben Jungen …
… ich habe versäumt, die großartigen Interviews genau zu studieren … mea culpa, mea maxima culpa …
… Mona du erscheinst als liebevolle Mutter, als geschäftstüchtige Künstlerin mit großem Können und vor allem als eine starke Frau … deine umfangreiches Engagement auf vielen Ausstellungen der Welt ist erstaunenswert … ich weiß, wovon ich spreche, denn mit meinen Maschinen war das ähnlich …
In my English:
I’m supposed to be the oldest member of gicas artist family, Sunil has found … and I have found that now the grandchildren the helm of life in hands takes … I find that very well … as such, I enjoy the glorious liberty of the ancients, the fool’s license … since errors are more tolerated than you half old / half young …
I have … overlooked the great interviews to study exactly … mea culpa, mea maxima culpa …
… Mona you appear as a loving mother, as businesslike artist with great skill, and above all as a strong woman … your extensive involvement in many exhibitions in the world is astonishing … I know whereof I am talking about because with my machine that was similar .
It is a great interview Sunil! Even though I am not an artist, I love art in its different manifestations. Carl Jung said: “We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.”
“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion” ….and while reading the interview and looking at the pictures of Mona Youssef could not but see that this phrase becomes reality … It is a pleassure to meet people like you. Congratulations Mona!