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Interview with artist Jan Prengel

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Jan Prengel

Text:
L y u b o v  M e l n i c k o w a

Interview with artist Jan Prengel

Hello Jan! Thank you for taking time for that interview. How did you become photographer? Was it a long way to find yourself in art?

It’s my pleasure!
The serious interest in photography came up during a trip to Paris in 2010. I photographed urban life with a small, simple digital camera. The images printed out afterwards ignited a fire in me and my path began. I decided to study photography.
Starting with commissioned photography for companies and architects, etc., I have implemented more and more of my own projects and developed my personal style.
But I think finding yourself in art is a never-ending process. As long as you change yourself, your artistic creation will also change and redefine from time to time.

Morocco_Pastels

The main subjects of your works are modern architecture and urban spaces. Why did you choose this particular direction in photography?

I have chosen these subjects for my work because they allow you to project your own visions and feelings onto them. They provide the visual basis for it. For example If you portray people, they bring their own complex story with them, which you cannot and should not suppress for your own ideas.

Morocco_Pastels

Morocco_Pastels

Morocco_Pastels

Minimalism is a rather subjective concept. It leaves a wide space for the viewer to perceive the work. What does minimalism mean to you? Why did you choose this concept?

For me, minimalism is more than just a visual aesthetic. Minimalism has a calming psychological impact on the subconscious. It leads to internal order. Similar to the feeling after you’ve tidied up your home.
I think the greatest lasting happiness is when all energies are balanced and minimalism is a good basis for that.

Concrete_Berlin

Concrete

Who are your favorite photographers and where do you get inspiration to create?

Andreas Gursky, George Byrne, Josef Hoflehner.

My inspiration is a product of the totality of all external sensory stimuli as well as the mental processing of them. The thoughts often wander around for hours and you can only hope that something ‚tangible‘ will emerge from it, an idea that can be realised.

External influences can be documentaries such as: Gerhard Richter – Painting, or the red light of a car park that falls into my girlfriend’s apartment at night and creates a cinematic atmosphere.

Light_of_Lisbon

Graphic_Lisbon

Graphic_Lisbon

Who are your favorite photographers and where do you get inspiration to create? How has the pandemic affected your creative process in terms of goal setting? How did you deal with lockdown and limitations of last year?

The restrictions of the pandemic made me dealt with new subjects. For example I created my series Plants from Space. There has been also a strong self-reflection and personal development that will give future projects additional levels and depth.
So there has been a positive impact on my work. Nevertheless, I long for the freedom to travel with the opportunity to discover new places and to get new influences on my photography.

Blue_Theatre

Blue_Theatre

Untitled

What are your future photography plans and current projects you are working on.

I am working on projects with new concepts and themes where I include my recent thoughts and visions.
I don’t want to be more specific about projects until they are finished.
You never know what the future will bring.

www.janprengel.com

Interviews with the artists of the exhibition „DO NOT GO OUT THE WINDOW“

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Joke Amusan, Standing, Despite It All

Text
E k a t e r i n a  S i d o r e n k o v a

Interviews with the artists of the exhibition "DO NOT GO OUT THE WINDOW"

Few days ago in the HAZE gallery we opened a collective online exhibition called Do not go out the window.
This exhibition is focused on global problems that we’re forgetting, because they stay with us permanently, as information noise. All of us got used to these problems and became much less sensitive.
We spoke with artists about their works, the situation in the world and things that we should do to remember despite the circumstances.

Joke Amusan, German-born Nigerian artist living in England
@ibijoke.img
jokeamusan.com/

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

My art practice highlights the experiences and complex beauty of what it means to be a Black woman. My art pieces are conversational, encouraging women to come together to speak up, share their stories, and embrace who they are unapologetically. Words are an important aspect of my work and they weave through my practice like a narrative, joining everything together.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

I admire a lot of contemporary artists and the list changes all the time, but I would say the one constant person I am inspired by is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Although she’s a writer, I still view her as an artist. I admire the way she poetically tells stories and addresses situations that often get overlooked. She’s not afraid to voice her opinions and make sure that she’s heard.

I also love the work of Carrie Mae Weems and her photography work which are powerful yet have a certain vulnerability to them as well. It’s as though we, the viewer, are given an insight into an intimate setting. 

Joke Amusan, Against The Tide

I’m currently interested in the works of Billie Zangewa and her beautifully hand-sewn collage tapestries which explore the intersections of identities too.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

I would say that while my artistic vision is still pretty much the same, my way of expressing my vision has been evolving recently. While I was at university, I explored many different modes of presenting my art, and for a little while afterwards I felt stuck in one particular mode. I’ve recently become very interested in including myself more in my artworks and filming the processes of “staging” some of my art pieces. In this way, I’d like to show the process or journey of getting from A to B, and the various diversions that may present themselves in the middle of that journey. I don’t just want to share the somewhat finished and polished piece, I want every high and low, every mountaintop and valley to be seen in my work. I’m allowing myself to be more vulnerable and enjoying storytelling in that way.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

The theme of the exhibition really stood out to me because I’m a huge fan of speaking up for what’s right and fostering a space where we all listen to one another. I think the Do not go out the window exhibition is important because it reminds us that we must continue to stand strong in our beliefs and not allow the world to sway us. To not allow the obstacles in our way to scare us away from even trying.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The two pieces I exhibited in the exhibition, If You Have A Voice, Speak., and Sharing Stories Breaks Barriers, collectively sums up what my art practice is all about. I initially created them aimed at Black women in a bid to help break down that wall where we feel that we can’t speak up or that, if we do, that it won’t amount to anything. It’s been great to see so many other people also resonate with the pieces. I truly believe that having a united front can break barriers, and the seemingly ordinary conversations that we’re having today can and will shape future generations.

Joke Amusan, This Too Shall Pass – Volume 2

Joke Amusan, Still I Rise

Joke Amusan

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

Being vulnerable is such a powerful and important thing. It is always worth it! Don’t be afraid to go against the current or have different thoughts that others may not necessarily support. Be steadfast and choose to rise again every single time you fall.

 

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Iran
@elyana.shamselangeroodi
www.elyanashamselangeroodi.com

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

Creating digital collages came to me at a very difficult time in my personal life. Finding it almost impossible and crippling to put my feelings, thoughts, and experiences into words, I began creating surreal spaces that brought me joy, allowing me to envision a world where life was simple, even in its complexity. My work was once described as ‚making friends with kind giants‘, and at the time it referred to large animals (namely elephants and giraffes) always being central to the stories told. Over the past two years, my work has begun exploring concepts of fear, joy, happiness, sadness. The kind giants have taken shape in facing the fear of the unknown, the difficult conversations, the scary thoughts. My expansion as a person has resulted in my practice extending itself beyond digital collages, introducing mixed media and new media to allow for the stories to unfold as best they can.

Elyana Shamselangeroodi

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Vera Molnár.
Dalí and Magritte challenged how we see the world. Unique in their styles and storytelling, they each invite us to view everything from a different perspective, regardless of how unreal they might be. The courage to imagine something beyond the surface, created the fundamentals of many great novels, films, and visual art that we have seen, and continue to explore, in the 21st century. Vera Molnár, one of the pioneers of generative and computer arts, as well as the first woman to use computers in her art practice, introduced a 21st century medium to the arts. She is a major inspiration to me as a female artist, for her bold choice of using a medium that was unthinkable in a way that is complex yet stunning in simplicity at first glance.

 Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Over the past year, alongside my digital collages, I have begun working in mixed media and new media as a way to expand my storytelling. In the beginning, getting used to painting over paint, messing things up, and exploring as I went was incredibly difficult to me, and I think that is primarily because digital work allowed me to have multiple versions of the same piece, without having to compromise. Getting over the fear of losing work, and embracing what would unfold as I went along was a challenge for me; however, it is one that I believe has made me a bit more brave. What I have learned in the past few months is trusting your instincts and the process.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

Do Not Go Out the Window highly resonated with me for providing visual arts a platform to be a form of protest against repression. As a woman from a country with many restrictions, especially for women to exist in the society and even in their own homes, we often find unconventional ways to have our voices and stories heard. I found Haze Gallery and this specific exhibition to shed a light on the significance that art can provide at times of personal, societal, and universal need to speak up, unify, and become more brave — and am thrilled to be a part of it!

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Unlearn

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Beautiful Ruins

Elyana Shamselangeroodi, Submerged

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

I think for the unusual time that I found digital collages to be my rescue, I threw my loneliness and its familiar struggles into pieces that made me feel less lonely. Similarly, I have heard individuals connect with my work, empathizing having felt the emotion that the pieces often try to convey silently. I would hope that the viewer knows that they’re not alone, that the struggles they may be going through will make them stronger, that they matter in this world, that this world would certainly be missing something without them.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

There’s a poem from one of the most iconic contemporary Iranian poets — Sohrab Sepehri — that reads:

Wherever I am, let me be
The sky is mine
The windows,
Thought,
Air,
Love,
The earth
Is mine

This piece has time and time again reminded me that I belong on this earth, regardless of anyone who wants to go against it, and so do you. Live life on your terms. You belong here, you are worthy.

 

Kateryna Repa, Ukraine
@repaekaterina
katerynarepa.wixsite.com

Kateryna Repa, Evolution Earth

Kateryna Repa

Kateryna Repa, CatDog

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

In my works in the field of painting, sculpture, and media, I touch on the topic of ecology and the impact of human consumption on it, as well as the types of its consequences for the environment and us.
In graphics, these are different manifestations of the human essence, such as it is, in my opinion, at the given moment of development.
I also touch on the topic of evolution and its manifestations, linking it with technologies, their influence, and possible themes of their manifestation.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Damien Hirst is great at marketing, some of his work reflects reality.
Marina Abramovich – she brought performance to a new level, some of her works reflect the dark essence of humans.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Yes, it has changed, it has become more reflective of the events that are taking place in my country (Ukrainian) and has become more manifest.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

I wanted to talk about the real events that are happening now in Ukraine.

Kateryna Repa, Evolution Arch Water

Kateryna Repa, Stingray

Kateryna Repa, Gorilla

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The message of humanity. This is the only thing that can help us. And that cardinal changes are needed in the system of government of countries in order to prevent military actions.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

I want to wish everyone to never forget the person inside of you.

 

Viktoria Salma, Uzbekistan artist living in German
@viktoria_salma
 www.viktoria-salma.com

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

In my art I’m looking for things hidden behind the facade and trying to capture the beauty of the true self of people and animals, sometimes landscapes. As I truly believe, we all are souls traveling through time and space and each of us has a story to be told.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

For me it´s Francis Bacon with all the distorted reality in his paintings — his work feels so contemporary to me, especially when we think, what is going on in the world. Adrian Ghenie with his historical topics. And surely Banksy – with his social critical approach.

Victoria Salma

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

The last few months showed me even more clearly how important it is to stand for your own ideas and values.

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

I grew up in Russia — in our history we learned a lot about violence and injustice. Especially against people who do not agree with the regime. But history repeats just in front of our eyes. I could not stay silent.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

The mix media drawings from the series „In Memoriam“, were originally started in honor of victims of Stalinism, as my great-grandfather was one of them. They are about the helplessness and the pain of not being heard. From February 2022 they are developed to be dedicated to all people who suffer from totalitarian regimes.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

We live in a very special time, where everyone has to find her or his own truth and to stand for it. No one can hide behind others any more.

Victoria Salma, Metamorphose

Victoria Salma, From the current project Tonkashila

Victoria Salma, The spirits I called

Pawel Pacholec, Poland
@paul.piotrowicz
www.behance.net/pacholec-pawel

How can you describe your art in a few sentences?

I wish my art to be thought provoking. Symbols that I use are often related to humanistic and social topics. I don’t consider my collage artworks to be very aesthetic, rather I care more about conveying reflective content. I try to fill the gap after C.G. Jung’s words that we live in thoughtless reality.

Can you call the most important authors in contemporary art? Why?

Since my main technique is collage I will mention the greatest in this field such as Robert Rauchenberg, Kurt Schwitters and Raoul Hausmann. They all created collages in the style of dada which is one of the best ways to comment on current affairs. Their collages were uncompromising, they criticized various political and social situations, often in a sarcastic or ironic way. This is an intelligent approach to art for thinking people.

Did your artistic vision change in the last few months? And how?

Present events in the world inspire deeper reflection. We are facing the greatest economic collapse ever and the social changes are very substantial and moving fast. The Overton Window mechanics can be seen very clearly as never before. I try to respond in an artistic manner to most of these turbulences.

Pawel Pacholec

Pawel Pacholec

Pawel Pacholec

Why  did you decide to participate in the exhibition Do not go out the window?

Topic that you propose is very close to me at the moment. Those massive changes in the world that we witness are forcing me to get more involved in politics and socio-economics. As the saying goes: “Evil feeds on the cowardice of good people”. I don’t want to be silent in these times.

What message do viewers will have seen in your works at the exhibition?

My main concern in life and art is the human condition. There are in my opinion way too many attempts of aggression, abuse and propaganda. I want to point out those subjects. I try to express my dissatisfaction with violence, as well as social pressure, repressions and aims to limit personal rights.

What would you like to wish our viewers and all the people in general to remember and never forget?

Follow your ideals, have some discipline, do and buy art that you love.

Pawel Pacholec, Absurd

Pawel Pacholec, Freedom

Pawel Pacholec, Body In Metamorphosis

Vanishing essences

By /ART/, /NEWS/

Text
E k a t e r i n a  S i d o r e n k o v a

Vanishing essences

In 2020, when the whole world was isolated, many of us found ourselves in a situation when we were locked up face to face with other people in small spaces and it was mentally challenging. In this period artists started to explore new points of view, because many things were seen from a different angle and, as we know, restrictions are always the opportunity for something new. During the lockdown all social life, including art practices, changed. Many of us had problems with socialization, or rather without socialization and without usual communications.

Before the quarantine, for about five years Timur Antonov had been  drawing the characters of his family and friends. Using line as the main expressive medium, he accented on forms and prominent features to make portraits more individual.

Timur Antonov, Photo by @reinkarnatskaya

Timur Antonov, Photo by @reinkarnatskaya

The main theme in his artworks has been human identity. As an artist he tries to find a unique personality in his models and catch something that vanished in real life because we don’t look close enough.

But it’s indeed a difficult task, because in modern society we have an overdose of information including visual messages — advertising, social media, and the Internet. That all made our perception more insensitive, like selective flashes. We see images, sights, but we don’t understand the point, and miss the essence. We have connotations without denotation, because we can’t comprehend information and messages from the artist and can’t get the gist.

In March of 2020 Timur Antonov made his project dedicated to illusions in people’s characters and vanishing essences. He lived with his friends and with other guys in an apartment. For a long time he couldn’t go out because of lockdown rules. He was exhausted without his own space, without an opportunity to get out, to go for a walk. Living with other people for a while, observing their behavior and habits, Timur clearly understood how different they can be in various situations and how hard to catch their inner motives and feelings, their natural individuality.

Some traits of these people became annoying for Timur, some — attractive. But that all was something faintly discernible, when he tried to catch these traits, they always disappeared at the same moment like a silhouette in the smoke.

NeonMaid

Resentment

Yana

Working with icons, characters, Timur uses water pencils for vanishing effect. Despite the classical mediums and techniques, all of the images by Timur Antonov are airy, full of light and foggy haze. People at portraits look like a momentary mirage. When you look at the portrait, you have to focus very strongly, because you feel that the shapes will melt in the next few seconds. As the artist says, all icons in his works are not finished and they will never  be finished. They are like real humans, flexible and volatile, and never stay in rest. 

Experimenting with form and shape, the artist transmits the mood of his models through his technique and makes lines individual, characteral for each person. If we look at a portrait called Resentment, we can see a young girl in bloody-red shades and with red-lighted eyes. In her face we clearly see tension and anxiety. Pencil lines are sharp and intermittent, they transfer inner voltage to viewers. 

On the contrary, portraits from the Childhood series are softer, painted with care and tenderness. The author uses restful and deep shades for these portraits. The portraits are also unsteady and exciting, but they are like an airy haze, pleased and  virginal, without anxiety and worrying.

In general, all his works explore the fluctuation of the self-identity of the persons, their inner personality and traits that can’t be noticed from first sight. It’s a deep philosophical research of human nature and volatility in a new flashing reality with constantly vanishing essences.

The Face of Desolation

Childhood

New Romantic

Following the trends of the time, Timur Antonov turned to the theme of transience and through the images, lines and color forced people to hold attention and feel the evanescence of identity in the portraits.

Ukrainian women in Photography

By /ART/, /NEWS/
Ukrainian women in Photography

Eva Dzhyshyashvili

I explore myself deeper and deeper to finally find myself on top of personal
perception, through reflection the image is manifested, the generalized female image of which I become a part. Private, individual, personal leads to the generalized. I concentrate on the parts, looking at the fragments of my body to crumble and relieve tension. Because it is not me anymore, on the surface a female image, so powerful and fragile. And I’m in the depths.

„Swan“ Symbolic revival by Anna Cherkas

This project presents autographic images. The author symbolizes himself with a white swan.
The goal of the project is openness and acceptance of your body. Reflection of the
symphony, with the help of the body and feminine natural beauty, in a symbolic image.

According to belief, the bird is equated with human qualities. They are a symbol of true sincere feelings, pure and mutual love. According to the sign, the swan is a bird of poets. A meeting with him is considered lucky.

HAIR by VICTORIA LIKHOLYOT

Ph: Victoria Likholyot
Models: Victoria Likholyot, Tatiana Afanasieva

Long hair in modern culture is a female secondary sex characteristic. I religion, traditional culture, mythology, many stories are associated wit women’s hair: from the traditions of covering the hair after the wedding to the Christian stories about Saint Agnes, who had her hair grown to cover he nakedness.

Victoria Likholyot is a photographer based in Kharkiv, Ukraine. She studied photography at the School of Contemporary Art and the Chekachkov Photo Academy, both in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Likholyot’s work has been exhibited at the Kharkiv Municipal Gallery, Kharkiv, Ukraine; Lavra Gallery, Kyiv, Ukraine; and the
Grand Palais, Paris, France. She is currently a lecturer of Feminist art at the Karazin National University in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Julia Lazumirska

Christina Yang „Red Noise“

By /ART/, /NEWS/

RED NOISE

Production: Christina Yang (@christ.ywn) & Ruka Zheng (@zwenjiejie)
Photographer: Christina Yang (@christ.ywn)
Styling: Ruka (@zwenjiejie)
HMUA: Wenzi 
HMUA Assistant: Yeye
Model: Rain 
Assistant: Shao & Kun

Wardrobe:
Fashion Design:
Aojierou (@aojierou) 
Yueqi Qi (@_yueqiqi) 
022397 Bluff

Accessories:
Sunwanw (@sunwanw) 
Mojo G 
#MX# 
MATHILDA
GEL啫喱

Interview with Female Artists from HAZEGALLERY

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

Text: I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h
All photos are provided by the authors of the HAZE Gallery

Interview with Female Artists from HAZEGALLERY

Interview with Marina WitteMann

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

It was a series of colour fields made of paper that has become a turning point for my career as an artist. Prior to that, I analyzed every work of mine considering it to be a new step of development. Thus, my creative self evolved and infused with each of my artworks. However, even I was amazed by what happened at the very beginning of this series.

Ever since I can remember it, I have enjoyed a special relationship with colour. It’s called synesthesia: when sensations emanating from one sense organ are also manifested in another one, for example, seeing the pain in colour or feeling the shape of a cold. Therefore, my art revolved around this. Before, I didn’t understand why it happened. The desire to analyze, reproduce, compare the colour with form and material prompted me to do new experiments. 

I love oil paints for its texture and colour purity, but this has never been enough for me. I felt a need to go beyond the canvas, to feel the colour in the space. In sculpture, the shape interferes with the colour, that’s why I opted for it. The way I work now allows me to use paint and other materials as they are, leaving out the original colour and the history of these objects. That’s how I translate the emotions I experience daily through artistic materials.  

How has being a woman affected your career?

Surprisingly, I have always enjoyed being a woman, though perfectly realizing that women tend to think in a too complicated way and yield to emotions. All that prevents women from discarding the unnecessary and focusing on what is really important. I cultivated those qualities myself, so now I can control my emotions, while still enjoying my feminine essence. I seek to express the tenderness and softness of female nature in the floral and gentle shape of my art objects. The paper structure catches the eye and lets one penetrate the surface at the same time, just like the woman nature implies.

What makes a great artist?

It seems to me that an artist becomes great when their art begins to resonate in the souls and the minds of other people. It’s just the way it works in all spheres of life. A great artist is capable of creating a piece that is equally simple and complex. For example, imagine a work where a composition reveals through the material, while the material, in turn, establishes many associations the viewer might recognize. The colour grabs attention and starts a discussion; the texture excites and awakens a desire to touch the piece, to communicate with it physically… From the work, the viewer gains a longstanding experience and a sense of time. Therefore, a great artwork is inevitably modern, as it reveals the timeless conditions of being alive. 

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

This list is endless. And by the way, I don’t divide artists into men and women. Primarily, I look at the object or the non-material result of work and only then, will I read the author’s story. I can still highlight a few of my favourite female artists and just women with a capital letter W. A great woman who inspires me is not just a woman who paints with oil or makes sculptures. For me, it’s a creative being full of willpower, authenticity, and capacity to communicate with people and life. 

Here I would like to mention Matrona Moskovskaya as one of my sources of inspiration. Saint Matrona was blind and lost the ability to walk early in life. With all the hardships, she was so strong in spirit that she kept working wonders for people. So those miracles for me are what artists should strive for in their artistic practice. In general, being an artist and a saint at the same time, like Andrei Rublev, for example, seems to me an especially fruitful combination (and history proves it). 

Another Russian artist who inspires me is the ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Her energy, passion, hard work, strong character, elegance and progressive thinking are what I am guided by in my work. 

Choreographer Sharon Eyal is no less inspiring for me. When I first saw her Untitled black performance in Shanghai, it felt like a shock and an extravaganza. I was struck by the incredible naturalness of the movements the troupe did on stage. Music, costumes — everything looked as if it were taken from the future. It seems to me a real work of art should be just like that: progressive, challenging, highly material, and sensual.

In general, I tend to consider my contemporaries while searching for inspiration. For example, artist Phyllida Barlow is like a teacher to me now. If I have a question, I will certainly look for an answer in Barlow’s works. I love the simplicity of her materials and the way they’re interpreted. The completed work should be viewed not with the eyes, but with the soul. To be able to ‘read’ art objects that have been created on a sensory level, one needs to use their sixth sense. I feel a strong connection with Russian culture here: I guess we, Russians, often communicate this way. 

Last but not the least, I should mention artist Marina Abramovic. I will never stop learning from her. The way she communicates with the viewer and reaches catharsis, the mediums she uses in art, all that captivates my attention. For me, it’s about feelings, soul, experience, and in general the development of the sixth sense.

What advice would you give to emerging female artists entering the art world?

— Take yourself seriously and enjoy the process. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one will, why should they? In art, you can lie, neither to yourself nor to the viewer; if someone senses a catch, the work won’t be recognized as a true art. At the same time, if you don’t experience pleasure from doing art, you will hardly be able to engage others with your ideas.

— Listen to yourself and constantly work, then everything falls into place.

— Always try new things. And reflect on it.

— Compare yourself with contemporaries and geniuses and draw conclusions: has your work differed; if so, for better or worse etc. 

— Continue to doubt, otherwise you may either remain ignorant or stop your search too early.

Interview with Elena Fuks (Lentov)

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

I wouldn’t call it pivotal, however, my decision to enter the sphere of art was related to this particular piece. It was the first artwork I sold: a watercolor on an A5 sheet of paper portraying a little girl in the style of Yoshitomo Nara. One day, I was invited to participate in the big student fair of contemporary art at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Among the participants, I was the only non-student; full of hesitation, I was in the process of choosing my future career at the time. Nevertheless, I had all of my artworks sold by the end of the fair.

How has being a woman affected your career?

I find it really difficult to answer this question without having an experience of being a male artist. I can’t say for sure, but female art seems more emotional and sincere to me. 

What makes a great artist?

A great mind and an unquenchable inspiration.

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

To be honest, I don’t have idols and normally I don’t pay attention to the gender of the artist either. I’m rather inspired by the art piece itself and the emotions it conveys. For me, the pure source of inspiration is hidden in daily life, in the stories and personalities of ordinary people… So you can be the first to transfer these feelings into the realm of art. 

What advice would you give to emerging female artists?

Be yourself, don’t dread the ‘journey’ with all its ups and downs, and always remember about your goals.

Interview with Kristina Okan 

What artwork/series of works do you find pivotal for your career? 

I would say it is my Allusions graphic series. What I did in the period of 2017—2018 defined my entire artistic practice so far. I feel like I have found my voice. Besides, I have realized that the process itself is just as important as the outcome in art. 

How has being a woman affected your career?

Luckily, my gender has never affected my career in neither way. I believe there should always be enough space for both male and female artists on the art scene.

What makes a great artist?

Honesty with yourself. Sensitive interaction with the world. Regular doubting and questioning what you do.

Which other great women artists inspire you and why?

Alicja Kwade is an absolutely mind-blowing artist for me. The way she works with materials such as stone and wood is great and simple and smart and impressive at the same time, it looks like pure magic! Giovanna Garzoni has become my recent discovery: her works are very inspiring because of their mesmerizing quality and a very sensitive admiration of nature they transmit. I also think here of Yayoi Kusama, her parallel universe where you just lose a sense of reality.

What advice would you give to emerging female artists?

Be in contact with your inner voice, never let it down. Always be the best version of yourself.