Kohlben Vodden Artist Biography Kohlben Vodden is a British/Australian self-taught artist living and working in London, England. He defines his practice as psychological art, that sits at the intersection of conceptual and fine art. Focusing on abstract figurative works in oil, he creates intimate social experiments with the beholder. His bold expressionist style commands the minds attention and is carefully designed to evoke specific emotional and physiological responses, creating a lasting psychological connection between artist and viewer. A newcomer to the professional art world, Vodden has a background in the advertising profession where he specialised in applying psychology to brand marketing. He started his artistic journey during the UK COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 when he developed “ Orange Ebby ” the first piece in a series entitled “Engineered Pleasure” that is inspired by Neuroaesthetics – an experimental field of psychology that seeks to understand how the brain perceives, and is rewarded by, beauty. His work was quickly recognised and included in the “Persona” group exhibition by The Holy Art gallery in London (UK) in March 2021. Furthermore, his work has been confirmed for inclusion in the upcoming Virtual Art Fair and he will be featured in Issue 15 of Artist Talk Magazine, a UK art collectors magazine, due for release at the end of April 2021. Artist Statement As an artist, I’m obsessed with psychology and all the questions that frame it. I’m particularly fascinated with the big questions and ideas, such as those pertaining to the concept of identity. Who am I? Am I who I think I am or am I who others think I am? I define my work as psychological art. It sits at the intersection of conceptual and fine art. To me, my artwork is an intimate cerebral psychological experiment with the beholder that seeks to move us both closer to the answer to some of these big questions. Focusing on bold abstract figurative works in oil, my style commands the minds attention and is engineered to use that attention to evoke specific emotional and physiological responses, creating a lasting psychological connection between artist and viewer. My current works are part of a series called ‘Engineered Pleasure’ that explores themes of identity and beauty. Inspired by the experimental field of psychology that bridges art and science, Neuroaesthetics seeks to understand how the brain perceives beauty. Historically, psychologists believed all beauty was processed through a single ‘beauty centre’ in the brain. But new research reveals our brain has two beauty centres. The ‘ art centre ’ triggers neural pathways associated with learned pleasure from culture. Whereas the ‘ facial centre ’ triggers primary reward pathways closely tied to sex. This discovery forms the basis of the question that my work seeks to answer. “Can I create figurative work that pulls and pushes the subjects identity with the objective of simultaneously stimulating both sex-driven and culture-driven neurological responses. To create the work, I engage in a deep creative process of connection, exploration, deconstruction and reconstruction with the subject. To connect, I ask questions about the subjects outward identity, such as what features others believe define them and those that the subject believes defines their physical identity. Delving even deeper, I ask questions about their internal identity such as what things in the external world they identity with and have internalised such as colours, animals, and places. Enlightened with these insights, I then explore and deconstruct the subjects image. Engaging in a deep meditative-like analysis of the face, I identify geometric shapes, symbols and patterns that will not be evident to the casual observer or even the subject themselves. With what appears to be a visual psychological map of the subject laid out before me, I use the symbols, shapes and patterns to reconstruct their face creating something truly unique but still recognisable. When exposed to the artwork, the viewer should experience an unusual combination of psychological 'rewards'. Primal arousal: If the viewer perceives the representation of the model as attractive, they should experience an instantaneous release of dopamine, a chemical that is linked to feelings of sex and love, into the brain. Intellectual curiosity: Their brain will actively search for patterns, shapes, and other visual attributes that might give it 'meaning' and make them feel more connected to the piece. Did you feel the rush of arousal? Did you observe yourself searching for meaning? Was this experiment a success?