Having suffered from panic attacks four years ago, Leipzig-based Colombian illustrator, Stefhany Lozano, took inspiration from this personal experience and translated it into a new series. Titled Kurz Davor, meaning “the moment before” in German, these paintings depict characters stuck in the claustrophobic confines of bright boxes.
There is an interesting contrast between the artist’s subject matter and her aesthetics in these works which feature a bold palette and playful compositions. “They are in very limited spaces, but the picture is quite colourful and almost cheerful because I wanted to use comical characters and not dramatic ones,” explains Stefhany. “The anxiety is not obvious in the pictures because it’s not properly there yet, but you get the feeling of it through the position of their bodies and the expression on their faces.”
This sense of impending hysteria corresponds with the series’s title, exploring the emotional turmoil that precedes an actual panic attack. “Sometimes I get the feeling that they will come back, particularly when I’m in small spaces, crowded public places and stressful situations," Stefhany explains. "So far nothing has happened, but it’s as if I’m living the moment before.”
Stefhany says that her work is often anecdotal in its themes, and when it’s not, there will still be a connection to the narrative in some way. “Most of my projects have come from very personal experiences and from thoughts and ideas stemming back to when I was a kid,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I always try to find something that touches my heart so I can really put everything into it.”
With this in mind, Stefhany says she also wants to keep working on bigger scales and in different mediums: “This new series of acrylic paintings were in a larger format than I’ve produced before,” she says. “I tire easily of doing the same thing and I like to experiment a lot with colours, textures and shapes.” She’s currently in the process of applying these new techniques and materials to a 3D installation for a festival in Germany, and two upcoming children’s books, one of which will be embroidered. “It’s all new for me and I’m really excited about it.”
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.