Ruth Frantziska Goldfeld (aka “Spaladonia”) is a multimedia artist in the true sense of the word. Utilizing her talents for art, music, video, poetry and writing, she explores creative landscapes in an intuitive and unconscious way, rarely creating with a specific intention, preferring to open herself up to the mood of the moment, and letting the inspiration flow through her unhindered. Her artistic creations blend elements of the ethereal and the psychedelic, with strange Daliesque landscapes populated by faces and figures. Rich with symbolism and meaning, she readily admits herself that she does not entirely know what her paintings mean, and enjoys leaving her creations open for interpretation and discussion. Her painted compositions often express an orchestrated play between order and chaos, reflecting relationships either within her own hidden psyche, speaking through her paintings, or with people who have played strong roles in her life.
“Recently, I have been creating a series of paintings focusing on ancestral connections to family members I have never met. I drew my inspiration from some group family photos I had seen from before the war, and survival stories of my mother’s family. My mother spent five years of her childhood in concentration camps during the Second World War. She is essentially a Holocaust survivor. Her mother and grandmother were the only ones who also survived. I was also inspired by “Family Constellations”, a work in which I participated for a few years in Brighton, which enabled me to heal family ancestral wounds, allowing me to more deeply relate to the grief in order to heal it. It was a wonderful process of resolution, allowing me to transmute those energies through my paintings.”
“I tend to paint straight onto the canvas, and work in close contact with my instincts, emotions and passions, allowing for change and transformation to occur as the work develops. Even though some of the subject matters may be dark or difficult, I always aim to make the finished piece pleasing to the eye. I seek harmony in the visual composition.”
Born in Haifa, a mountainous region by the sea in Israel, Frantziska began having classical piano lessons at the age of seven, in addition to drawing and copying faces and portraits from magazines. As well as dabbling in the arts, Frantziska found she was always looking for ‘The Truth’ and realised early on that that the newspapers her parents were reading were full of lies. During the Bible studies she attended she also concluded that ‘God doesn’t write books, people do’. At the age of twelve, her family moved to New York, near Coney Island by the sea, and Frantziska eventually absorbed herself in the alternative lifestyle of the time, hanging out with boys under the boardwalk, smoking grass and listening to a lot of music including The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
When her father became ill, at fifteen she and her family returned to Israel which, after experiencing the highs of her American lifestyle, she found frustrating, but she soon accumulated a group of hippie friends in Israel, and she began reading many books on Philosophy, including George Gurdjieff and Pyotr Ouspenskii’s ‘In Search of the Miraculous’. This invigorated her interest in matters of a more metaphysical nature.
“Ouspenskii was a sort of Russian version of Carlos Castaneda, and I was really influenced by his work. Although I had always been interested in such things, his was all about finding your true self. His idea that we are all asleep and need to wake up to our real selves really resonated with me.”
Upon returning to Israel, Frantziska began improvising on piano, but her mother couldn’t fathom the experimental nature of her music, deeming it ‘just noise’, so Frantziska moved to painting instead. Using oils, her first painting of an Arabic old man encouraged her to continue painting faces, people and places. She would also write poetry, and at age sixteen her first poem, an anti-war message entitled ‘Let it be’ was published in a national newspaper. Ironically, a few years later Frantziska would join the Israeli army, after which she went on to study Philosophy, which she excelled at with top marks.
“I had an image of myself back then just being the Philosopher. I could see myself walking through beautiful gardens all day long with my hands behind my back, just talking Philosophy.” At twenty, Frantziska applied to Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the best art school in the whole of Israel, and was accepted with a scholarship. However, it wasn’t long until Frantziska realised that academia wasn’t going to be right for her. She wanted to live her life free in the open air, not spend it in dark and stuffy buildings reading books.
“My life has always been about freedom of experience. I have always wanted to experience everything in life: the dark and the light, the passion and the emotion. For me, it’s all about being true to myself. I’ve not tried to be anything or anyone other than a full expression of myself. It’s not very New Age to say, but I’m not interested in working on myself, only to fully be myself. My spirituality is to live my life. I’ve never really thought about jobs or how to get them. I’ve never thought in those terms. Life for me was always about living, and being who I am. It’s a feeling I’ve always had. It’s self-evident that is what I am meant to do. What I do is what I do, and I am what I am. Admittedly though, I have often taken things to the extreme: falling in love, lots of relationships and so on. I was always a bit of a wild child.”
After several years of travelling, at twenty-six Frantziska moved with a friend of hers into a squat in London which was popular with local artists, and this marked a highly creative phase in her life of painting and music, and of course parties, where conversations were often of a philosophical nature, discussing the meaning of life and human existence. Frantziska moved several times during this period, including at one time living with a group of travellers in a house with no electricity, where she says that she painted some of her best paintings.
After 7 or 8 years of living in London squats, another friend asked if she could look after her children in the south of England, whilst she continued to teach in London, so Frantziska moved to Exmouth in Devon, and thus began a chapter in her life of cleaner living, nature and rent! Devon was a healing place, where Frantziska was introduced to hands-on healing practices, crystals and the art of visualisation. New Age spiritual practices in Devon were in abundance at that time, and Frantziska attended several courses including ‘Open Spirit’ workshops and a course in ‘Contact Dancing’. Frantziska’s passion for painting continued, and she developed an entire series of art during this period.
“I would say that a lot of my art explores the art of allowing: of allowing things to appear. Like when a sculptor has a piece of wood, and he asks the piece of wood ‘what do you want to be’? Very rarely do I create art with intent. Even when I start with a plan, it often goes somewhere else. Just the other day I started to paint something intentional, but inside me I said ‘No. I’m not doing this. I’m going the other way!’ I would say that my art has always been intuitive and unconscious.”
Saying that, it is also true that Frantziska’s art seems to tell stories, and that these stories are woven out of events that may have occurred in her life, but the meanings of those events are entirely left up to the observer to decide. Arising from her inner self, they find their way onto the canvas, sometimes baffling her as much as they might baffle the viewer.
“Some of my art I understand when I am creating it, but others I don’t. There is one painting I did that I still don’t get. But generally, I do believe that all the faces and images I’ve been painting recently arise from my own psyche, from the inner facets of my mind. From my inner family, and the different aspects of my Self.”
“Oftentimes I don’t realise until afterwards that a painting has a story woven in it. Recently I painted a painting of three woman, a man and a creature. It wasn’t until after I’d finished the painting that I realised: I live with three woman, a man and a cat! I make myself laugh sometimes.”
When Frantziska met Andrew, one of the great loves of her life, she left her painting behind her and they started travelling, at which point she returned to her love of music: playing guitar, mandolin, flute and singing. She started to record songs onto cassette tape, and occasionally she would use two tape recorders – one playing and one recording – to layer her tracks together. Eventually they found themselves travelling to Berlin, Germany, which was a hotbed of musical creativity at the time, and thus began another chapter in her musical life.
“Berlin was incredible. And we experienced such synchronicities there. On the very first night we met the people we needed to meet. It couldn’t have been better. We met a girl who was going away who had a flat she could rent to us straight away. Some others were going to start a huge art project, and we became a part of that. There was a woman who had taken over a big old train station from the Council with many buildings, and they created a project called ‘Raw Temple’, which we became involved with. It was totally ace. Wonderful.”
Frantziska’s life in Berlin initially saw her playing the guitar and singing, but it wasn’t long until she found herself in a couple of groups: one improvisational, the other more tribal in nature. Berlin was the place to be, and from the late 90’s to the early noughties, Frantziska’s musical life continued to evolve. “I could have made a career then. I was good. And I was noticed. But I didn’t have the confidence. Looking back, there was perhaps an opportunity there that I missed.”
“Some people we knew bought an amazing place in Kesselberg, near Berlin, and they let anybody who wanted to live there. Unfortunately, as there was no heating, it was very cold there, freezing, but there was a studio down the hallway, so I did quite a lot of recording there. Back in Israel however my mother was missing me deeply, and she asked me to return, so we packed our bags and headed back to Israel, where we stayed for two years.”
Returning to Israel, Frantziska decided it was time to record an album at a professional studio. Entitled Soul Stripping, the album was recorded in Tel Aviv with the music producer Amos Rozener, who played bass guitar, keyboards and electronic drums, whilst Frantziska performed on electric guitar, clarinet, sang the vocals and wrote the lyrics. In parts experimental and psycadelic in nature, Soul Stripping comprised of eleven songs, and the album was released on CD, accompanied by a video.
After recording her album in Israel, and a brief stint at another squat in London, at fifty-three years old Frantziska’s partner suggested she take a one-year course in electronic music production in London, which she attended and very much enjoyed. Towards the end of the course, Frantziska came in one day to discover everyone on computers applying for University. She hadn’t realised that the course was a music foundation level, and that she might apply for University also, which she promptly did.
Frantziska then moved to Brighton to study music, achieving a BA in Music from Sussex University. Whilst the course included music composition, music for film and electronic music as standard, to study an instrument (her choice was voice) one needed at least a Grade 8 to qualify; yet Frantziska had no grades at all. “So, I went to the head of the department, and I brought in my CD, and I said, ‘I’d like to study voice, but I don’t have any grades’. He invited me to take a test, of which I think he heard me for about 2 or 3 minutes, and he accepted me to the course. He just gave me the f*ing thing! The University was really gifted to me.”
Upon completing her BA in Music, Frantziska decided to remain in Brighton, and to combine her painting, her musical skills, and a growing interest to produce music videos for her YouTube channels. Her passion for creativity continues to express itself in innumerate ways, and she loves exploring her artistry, wherever it may take her.