Xaxa Calleja, Painter

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How did you get started?
In 2006 I started going to classes at the Jason Lu Studio. He was an inspiring artist to work with; not only did he train me in the Braque Classical method of drawing and painting but he also helped me and inspired me to develop my own personal style.

What genre do you consider your work to be?
I don’t really stick to a particular genre, I just do works which I have to do at the time, they could be figurative, or inspired by landscape or a combination of the two. What is important to me is that it is relevant to my life at the time. I often say that my works are my diary: you can see what I am going through the time I am creating the work.

Describe your work in less than 10 words.
Personal, expressive, flowing lines.

Where was your first exhibition held?
My first solo exhibition was “365”, an installation of 365 masks and was held at the Maritime Museum Birgu.

How long have you been painting?
I have been painting since 2003.

Which is your favourite from among your own artworks?
My favourite artwork is the Ouroboros, it is a work that I created last year. It is a work which represents the circularity of life, and how we are a part of it.

Whose artist’s work are you most inspired by?
I like the darkness of Goya, the expressiveness of Van Gogh and the honesty of Frida Kahlo.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I would have liked to be a singer but I don’t like performing in front of crowds.

What is the epitome of happiness for you?
Finding the flow or the flow finding me when I am creating a work.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am on a hiatus, I have had solo exhibitions back-to-back for the last 4 years, so it is time to recharge before embarking on a new series.

Are you a morning person or do you come alive at night?
Night owl, but if I have time and the energy I would like to work in the morning as well.

How many coffees a day? Don’t embellish.
At the moment I am off coffee too but when I am not creating usually up to 3.

Sundays can be very productive for some and very unproductive for others. How do you spend yours?
It depends if I am well-rested then I will work Sunday morning; if not then I will sleep.

Wine and cheese. Yes or no?
Don’t drink much but I do like cheese.

If you were given a million euros, what would you indulge yourself with?
A beautiful workspace and travelling to all the exotic locations I can’t afford right now.

Favourite place to holiday?
Any beautiful European city will do


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Paula Fleri-Soler

Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.

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