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Inka Essenhigh is an art world unicorn, respected by both the figurative art community and also the wider world of contemporary art, she bridges the gap between the two with grace.
You had a lot of questions for her and she answers them all with incisive directness.

When I was thinking about how to describe Inka’s work I came across this description by Alex Jovanovich in Artforum which I think is great. So here’s what Alex says.
“When I come across a work of art as weird and seductive and startlingly beautiful as an Inka Essenhigh painting, I haven’t the faintest desire to engage my critical faculties. I just want to be overcome by the supple, erotic strangeness of her surrealist narratives; the chitinous (kuy-tin-us) sheen of her works’ surfaces; her Prada-meets–Star Trek palette; and the gelatinous, ectomorphic figures.
You want to dissolve into an Essenhigh painting, in the same way that she dissolves virtually all solidity within her forms and spaces. Every body, every thing looks as though it’s made of melted caramel, or flowing silk, or liquid latex suspended midair, or some sinuous, alien protein.”
I really like that description I think it’s a great little piece of writing.

Inka’s work has been shown at the Museum of modern art in New York, The Royal Academy in London, the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil and those are just the highlights.

Here are some of the subjects we visit:

  • Inspirations,
  • Intuition,
  • Automatic painting,
  • Beginning a painting,
  • Reference material,
  • Size,
  • Substrates,
  • Enamel paint,
  • Oil paint,
  • Brushes,
  • Feedback,
  • Studio lighting,
  • Painting schedule,
  • Freedom from technique, skill and talent,
  • Soft eyes,
  • Personal vision,
  • Mythology and world building,
  • Artists marriages,
  • Motherhood,
  • Consistent style,
  • Disappointment,
  • Stories,
  • Size,
  • Art school ,
  • Being in textbooks,
  • Following safer paths,
  • Early career challenges,
  • Advice,
  • Figurative art in the broader art world,
  • Underlying themes,
  • Art dreams,
  • The future,

To find out more about Inka and her work go to:


Referenced in the podcast . . .

Inka’s interview with Tyler Green for, The Modern Art Notes Podcast.

Factfullness – Hans Rosling’s book

Other artists mentioned in this episode who have been on the podcast . . .

Ep 117 – Alonsa Guevara : The Fruit of Life

Ep 110 – Rebecca Leveille : Persistence of Vision

Ep 107 – Steve Chmilar : Personally Universal

Ep 87 – Kyle Staver : Human Touch And Persistent Heart

Ep 30 – Alyssa Monks : Creating the space for connection


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