R egina Buryak is a San Francisco based published watercolor and ink, mixed media portrait artist. With a specialty in female portraits in the con- temporary / pop art and fashion illustration, she shares with Blanck her influences and perspective on mental illness. Can you tell us briefly about yourself? I’m a female artist who primarily uses watercolour and special- izes in portraits of females done in a pop icon style. Occasion- ally, I use ink and other media in my works. I also love creating surreal florals and abstract works on paper. Where do you draw your influences from? Fashion photography plus vintage ads is a mash up of what’s appealing of the modern and the classic. Who inspires you as an artist and why? Tina Berning, I love the way she uses mixed media and collage together and even photo to make compelling works of women. I was lucky enough to see some of her pieces in San Francisco a few months ago. What inspired you to become an artist? This issue we are discussing mental illness; do you have any personal experience you would like to share with people? I love the creative process. Starting with a blank piece of paper and slowly watching it morph, or evolve into something both striking and beautiful as I work at it, is for me taking part in the Creative (with a capital C) process that God has put in us all. It is fulfilment. Many artists struggle with different forms of mental illness; it seems to go hand in hand for many of us. I do know this, paint- ing, creating, gardening can all help tame the beast of depres- sion and anxiety by getting into flow and losing yourself at best and at worst it can fan its flames. Is this a full time job or do you do other things? Let me explain, even the most centered artist can sit down to a canvas or piece of watercolour paper with high spirits and then have them plummet upon “ruining” their work. But one must think of this “ruining” as a zen exercise of sorts. You must, pick yourself up, let the feeling wash over you, “yes, this didn’t turn out the way I wanted or expected it to”, then you have to make the conscious choice to be okay with this. One must be mindful and then let it be. You can get quite good at this the more “mis- takes” you sit with. Art is beautiful mistakes. In addition to painting I am a speech-language pathologist, spe- cializing in foreign accent reduction. I work with the high tech community in Silicon Valley which is highly diverse. How were you introduced to painting? This is a neat origin story, about three years ago a friend, in from NYC took me to a paper making class, we were asked to adorn the papers with different tools and materials, I chose waterco- lours. This was the first time in my adult life I had touched them and WOW! They made a huge impression on me. I fell in love. Upon arriving home my husband sensed my enthusiasm for my new art medium so he purchased me a set of “White Nights” paints from St. Petersburg, Russia. My husband is a published Ukrainian photographer and remembers these paints being su- perior. This is how my painting career began. Tell us about this particular series, what is the title and what inspired it? I’ve always loved the demure, femininity of Mucha’s girls, they stand juxtaposed to most of my more modern more punkish femmes. These women were front runners in the movements of their own times: for women’s rights, equality and “having it all”. Coquettish as they, their looks belie their power. Who is the woman in your painting and what would you want to tell us about her? The women are an amalgam based on Mucha’s works. To me, they represent strong, femininity, a sly, coy glance is how she doles out her admonishments. She’s a classic brought back to- day with the modern prowess of a woman of our times. What has been the high points in your career so far? Getting to create new series, like Parlour Girls, every day in my home studio. Each time I sit down to a blank paper I never know what will really be “born” from the paints and brushes. How can people reach you or buy your artworks? All my originals are for sale as well as prints, 33 / BLANCKLITE / OCT 2018 /