Can't Unsee

paintbrush yellow.png

Can’t Unsee

Nora Hanasy-Cheers

“She’s this winged creature, presumably flying around in the moonlight, who caught a glimpse of this naked man as he leaped into the sky.”

Interview by L. Valena

What did you respond to?

It was a very interesting sketch of three unfolding croissants, and as it was unfolding, there was a naked man that was revealed, sliding out of it! It sounds like one of my dreams. He was older, with this cone-shaped head, and he was repeated all over the page in a variety of poses as he jumped from his croissant slide into the air with glee. My first reaction was: this is going to be harder than I thought.

Why is that?

I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't that!

Aside from realizing it was going to be harder than you expected, what were your other first thoughts?

One of my first thoughts was to do something French, because of the croissant. But then I got into a conversation with my husband about the technicality of the croissant, and where it's actually from. We started looking at Turkish history and French history, and eventually got off the topic. Because I'm primarily an assemblage and collage artist, I decided to go with collage, and just play. I had a lot imagery already, that I had been cutting out of magazines for years, so I was just looking at things. I was playing around, and came across this naked lady who was shielding her eyes, looking away. I thought it might be interesting, so I went with that concept.

Tell me more about how you got from a naked man in a croissant to this lady.

She was perfect, because it gave me the title. It gave me the idea that what has been seen cannot be unseen, and I was responding to this nudie cartoon man with his legs open wide in the air! I decided to use her. She was very Venus-like, very beautiful. She was painted by one of the old masters. I stood her on an open gerbera flower, which represents purity and innocence. I gave her wings. She's this winged creature, presumably flying around in the moonlight, who caught a glimpse of this naked man as he leaped into the sky. She shielded her eyes away from it. So that's how it kind of happened.

So these two characters are in the same place?

Well, yes.

That is amazing. How does this relate to the rest of your work?

It relates perfectly, because I use the materials that are available to me, and the materials themselves dictate where it is going to go, both with assemblage and collage. It becomes another part of my collage collection.

How was this process for you?

I thought this process was fantastic- it really challenges you. What's fun about it is you have freedom within restriction, and that makes it really interesting.

Is there anything you learned about croissants that you would like to share?

The pastries were originally made in Austria or something like that, but they were more bread-like. Then the French changed it a little bit, and made it more pastry-like. But they weren't first to create the croissant, it was the Austrians. There's some little story that they're in the shape of the moon because it was a warning against the Turkish invasion, and the Turkish flag had a moon on it.

I'm a food history nerd, and I can't believe I've never looked into this. So that moon comes in here pretty nicely. She also seems to be on the beach.

The background isn't really relevant.

What is the climate like where you live?

Well, actually I live on the beach!

Ah, so it is relevant!

Where we live is absolutely beautiful. We live in a little treasure trove, it's just gorgeous.

There are some wild creatures on the beach of Australia, aren't there?

I think that's sensationalized a bit in America. It's not really that crazy.

Call Number: Y17VA | Y21VA.haCa



Nora Hanasy-Cheers was born in Budapest, Hungary and has lived in Australia for over 30 years. She completed a Bachelor of Education degree majoring in Visual Arts. She has been an art educator teaching Secondary Visual Arts for over 16 years and recently went part time to devote more time to her art practice. She works with a variety of mediums preferring to layer and mix her approach when interpreting themes and subjects. Her main medium is collage and assemblage art using discarded and found materials.