Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Itamar Freed

Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Itamar Freed

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in 1987 in New York City. I am an artist who works and lives in London/New York City/Tel Aviv. Ever since I can remember, I have been taking pictures. Even without a camera, this is the way I look at life and the world. Studying photography was a natural step for me.

I received my BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, 2012. I was very honoured to win the 2016 Clore-Bezalel scholarship and a full grant for a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London. I moved to London to study, live and create in one of the most amazing cities and the best art academy in the world. I graduated my MA in Photography, at the Royal College of Art.

Tell us more about your work?

To create my current body of work - Whispering to Venus – which is featured in the Travers Smith Collection, I focused on interrogating the work and methods of the old masters through the use of new technology. The ‘old masters’ are actually my greatest teachers. I learn from them and from art history, by repeating, being inspired by and studying their work. It’s interesting for me to mix mediums and work, between ‘old masters’ and new technology - like our world which is all mixed up. By looking back to the past one can learn a lot about the future.

I am examining the root of image making, at its most fundamental, questioning our vision.  Flowers triptych, a study of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, examines the photography at its most primary, stripped down into red, yellow and blue, positive and negative.  It offers a surreal hyperrealism, in which we refine each singular element, before beginning its reconstruction.

To create Whispering to Venus (Self-portrait as Venus), I took countless 3D scans of myself posing as Venus from Botticelli’s iconic painting ‘The Birth of Venus’ from multiple angles using a mobile 3D scanner. An algorithm fused all of the images. The result is a self-portrait as Venus which although a synthesis of multiple images produces a sculpture which at first might appear integrated but is actually incomplete and glitched. I emerge from myself, appearing to whisper, caught in these perspectives, in the process of creation. 

How did it feel to be selected to take part in this year's CSR Art Programme?

Being selected to take part in this year’s CSR Art Programme was wonderful and encouraging. It was exciting receive the news during my graduate exhibition and wonderful to be supported professionally by such a world renown business. I believe the CSR Art Programme is an important step for me as an emerging artist to establish my practice in London and internationally.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Since completing my Masters, I was selected exhibit in Sculpture by the Sea Bondi Beach Sydney, Australia the world’s largest annual sculpture exhibition. I also received an award of $10,000 AUD to show my work in Sculpture by the Sea. My work was among more than 100 works by artists from 21 countries. It was incredible to see the huge crowds of people (over 500,000) visiting the exhibition and interacting with the work.

The version of Whispering to Venus exhibited in Sculpture by the Sea is the same sculpture as the work in the CSR art Programme. In March, the sculpture will be exhibited again in Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe, Perth, Australia.

I was also selected to be one of the eight residents for the prestigious 2019 Airie residency program at Everglades National Park, USA. In addition, I was selected to exhibit in the current major exhibition (London Nights) at the Museum of London, 2018, and Nordart 2018- International Art Exhibition, Germany, 2018, one of the largest annual shows of contemporary art in Europe. My work has also been acquired for private and public collections worldwide including the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, Clore Art Collection, Estee Lauder Art Collection, Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Collection and the American Embassies collection. 


Itamar was one of our 2018-19 artists. Read about more of our Art Programme artists here.

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