Friday, 1 August 2014


There are many forms of art-making that blend mediums, and so labels can become tricky. It is easy to call Melbourne-based Sophia Szilagyi a photographer, but what she creates is more based on her skill as a print-maker. While the starting point to her works is a photo, what Sophia then does is add layers upon layers with other photographs or stills from videos or paintings. Each artwork can have anywhere between four and 100 layers, and take from two weeks to a year to create. "The images are not real places," she says. "They are 'emotionscapes' that I have created." This type of practice is based on her former work as an editioning printmaker. During four years at Port Jackson Press she worked on many Australian artists' etchings - from John Olsen to Robert Jacks and Belinda Fox. Curator and author Simon Gregg has described Sophia as a New Romantic in his book of the same name. "I think this is apt," she says. "The work has connotations of the sublime. It is often dark - black is a passion I have as a printmaker - moody, enigmatic and beautiful." In collaboration with Otomys Art House, Sophia is exhibiting a body of work, which spans the past 10 years, at CULT in Chippendale, Sydney until the end of August . 

Which five words best describe you? Sensitive, kind, persistent, strong, friendly.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was extremely fortunate to be asked by Port Jackson Press to work as one of their editioning printers. I spent four years making limited-edition prints and working with amazing Australian artists. It was so inspiring and encouraged me to get back to making my own work again.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? There will always be amazing and talented people in the world. All I can do is be true to who I am - to create and embrace art that is true to me. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Each step, both small or large, forward or backward is integral to my overall journey.

What’s been your best decision? Following my instinct to pursue the printmaking course at RMIT and leaving the more reliable teaching course I was doing.

Who inspires you? The people in my life, beauty, courage, the sky and land inspire me. 

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about my family and friends, colour, light… and cooking. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? If I could meet my childhood hero, it would be Fred Astaire and to see him dance on stage I would be very happy.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? I would love to exhibit in Denmark. I lived there when I was younger and consider it my second home. Yes, I would love to show my work there.

What are you reading? By my bed there is: Mindsight (about how to change your brain and your life) by Dr Daniel J Siegel,  All the Days and Nights by William Maxwell and, always, a trusty copy of an Agatha Christie for when I’m too tired to concentrate.

images courtesy of sophia szilagyi, otomys and hans j jahr (portrait)

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