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Interview with Aleksandra Weld Queen

By /ART/

Ekaterina Uryutova

Interview with Aleksandra Weld Queen

Purplehaze Magazine enjoys meeting creatives — artists, designers, photographers who talk about their interesting life experience and share secret to success. This time we talk to Aleksandra Weld Queen, the artist who creates scale sculptures and installations by welding metal. And, yes, she does it herself because she is a qualified welding specialist. While Weld Queen is at work in her own castle (artist’s studio), her major works decorate both public spaces and private collections. How to combine arts and crafts, deal with artistic blocks and balance in the world where sexes do battle read below in the interview.

P.H. Hi Aleksandra! I wonder how you came to be Weld Queen? By the way, why Weld Queen exactly?
A.W. Well, you might say that this image came to me by chance. I created my first sculpture work in 2015 — waking up on one April morning, I imagined a huge meditating cat called Tikhvami and realized this was just me! I felt so much energy at that moment, so I was ready to throw myself into art. Of course, I was sure that my life wasn’t going to be the same as it used to be. I needed a kind of a stage name, so I asked a friend of mine for help. She’s a linguist. Together we could think of a couple of names but there was one that just hit me — Weld Queen, that’s how the choice was made. In fact, Weld is a noun or a short form of the adjective, for this reason many colleagues and partners tried to correct me all the time — say, you’d better call it Welding Queen. But I don’t really care as Weld Queen sounds fine.

P.H. You weren’t interested in art before 2015, were you?
A.W. Actually, I’ve loved arts and crafts since I was a child. Remember, at the age of 17 I enjoyed putting together LEGO model kits while many girls of my age were dating boys. I took up oil painting in 2007. It was more like a hobby for me, pretty naive. However, I quickly realized I was searching for more, so I asked my stepfather to teach me to work with metal (he is a big expert in this field). I started creating small sculptures — back then I had no grand ideas, but some images I wanted to bring from canvas to reality. I entered Welding Technologies at the Polytechnic College, as I was never aiming at receiving academic art education — I had to work instead. In fact, I didn’t see myself as an artist in those years, it came much later.

P.H.  Honestly, the image of Weld Queen looks bold for Russia. Do they consider you to be a feminist? What is your attitude towards feminism, by the way?
A.W. Good question! No, I’m definitely not a feminist. I don’t feel like proving something to the opposite sex. I appreciate men and don’t see them as my competitors. They are more like my companions, there is much to learn from them: e.g. assurance, determination, manhood. By the way, I coined a special term to describe my attitude towards gender issues — neofeminism. I see it the following way: Russian women have recently started to realize their rights and possibilities, so they want to break free from dependence on men. In the Western countries the evolution has already taken place — everyone is aware of the girls’ power. But what comes next? Yes, women do have a right to work, to have leisure time that they can devote to their personal interests. I would say, it’s internal struggle that comes next as women try to prove all those notions to themselves. When you finally achieve this inner freedom and have some faith in yourself, you just leave the senseless battlefield. I enjoy exploring my gender role as well as the position of women in society while making art. In the performance Nutrient Medium I am sitting inside the woman-shaped metal case and “charge” mobile phones with my breast (in fact, charges are attached to the case at breast height). That’s how I observe the woman’s position — in a game, watching from outside. It can be a good engine. I accept femininity and related with it expectations that arise from society — however, I’m outside the game. I am glad I realized it. It’s a work done for good, not in spite of something.

P.H. Apart from making sculptures, you integrate your image into performances. Imagine, it can steal viewers’ focus from the art you make to your personality…
A.W. I don’t think it’s a problem. Meanwhile my artistic activity is running smoothly: I wouldn’t prioritize either sculpture or performance. My life itself is art, everything is interlinked and goes so naturally. Whatever I do, I explore the energy flow, choosing a proper medium through which I want to show the concept. Performance pieces just enhance the perception of my works. In fact, I fully identify myself with Weld Queen, nothing else exists for me at the moment. For example, yesterday evening I was going out with my friends. Guess what I had on? No, not jeans or trainers or any casual outfit, I just couldn’t dress like that! I had my hair done, just like a royalty, so I put on the Queen’s dress and grabbed an iron fan… I felt the way real woman might feel when they wear traditional clothes — totally accepted and approved by the society. My body seems to like this appearance but anyway it’s simply a convention, the one that embodies a stereotypical vision of woman’s dress. Personally I try to live as natural as possible, doing the things I like. You can see it in my art: I enjoy being Weld Queen and living her life.

P.H. Can you think of the work that you’re really proud of and the one that didn’t meet your expectations?
A.W. The Mother sculpture exhibited in Zaryadye Park is a very important work for me. It took me almost a year to create it: from the moment the idea was born until its complete realization. People who came to lie in the arms of the Mother shared their impressions — they reached the outer space, they say! Some of them came at night to avoid crowds and spend more time interacting with the figure. Visitors who had this experience appreciate the feeling of acceptance and protection they had in Her arms. Probably I fulfilled my duty bringing the Mother to life — It made people happy for a moment. You know, everything in life is a part of the World harmony, for this reason I don’t find any of my works disappointing. Actually, visions come to me, I don’t make them out, that’s why there is no point in hesitating, I just put my ideas into practice.

P.H. Does it mean that you never change the design of the objects during the working process?
A.W. Well, it happened once. I had an idea to create a woman-shaped figure wrapped into a robe. When my team and I started working, I suddenly felt I was going to change my mind about that image. As the steel casing showed up, it struck me — she doesn’t need any clothing! Later I understood why — the figure lacked openness and courage. Was I afraid to admit it to myself? Anyway, at that moment it became clear. We corrected the casing, so it all made sense. You see, it’s all about the inner feeling that guides you. Just stay true to yourself.

P.H. Does your creativity depend on such external factors as weather?  I wonder if you work more or less on gloomy cloudy days…
A.W. Well, I don’t really depend on that. I love all the seasons and have no idea what Moscow melancholy (as we call it) is. Moscow is Moscow — sometimes it’s gloomy, sometimes it lacks sun. The latter is a problem, by the way, but still, it’s easy to solve — you just buy a plane ticket and fly away somewhere warm. Apart from this, I love this city. It’s beautiful in the meaning of architecture and culture and even weather. My studio is located on the territory of a real working factory, many trees grow there, so in autumn the ground is fully covered with colourful leaves, while in winter it’s all in the snow. Just stunning! In fact, I can’t understand people who don’t love place where they leave. If it’s so, why not to change it? However, this is hardly the case. Feeling bad inside, you won’t change things drastically just relocating to Goa or Thailand. You need an answer from within.

P.H. What about artistic blocks? Do you face any?
A.W. Yes, I do. However, they are not about the weather changing or anything happening in the outside world. When I have a work overload, I get quickly tired and start digging myself out. Here is what I found out: if you don’t feel good, a nice sleep, vitamins, hot tea and maybe an intimate conversation are all you need. Declines happen to everyone, however, I wouldn’t like to put it on public display.

P.H. Are you looking forward to participating in any specific exhibition/project?
A.W. As an artist I would really like to take part in Art Basel Miami. This summer I went to the art fair that focuses on the works by emerging artists called Scope Art Miami Beach. It’s been my fourth trip to the US, meanwhile my goal is to take a look around. I can’t think of any specific galleries I would like to work with yet. One thing is for sure — America is my destination, I am also interested in the Asian art market. I would say Western countries are more involved in the contemporary art field, local art institutions have much to offer to artists. The scope of services provided by some American galleries just amazed me — I could only dream of it!

P.H. Thank you for such an interesting conversation, Aleksandra! Before saying goodbye, please wish something to Purplehaze readers. ❤️
A.W. I wish you to listen to your heart, doing the things you enjoy. Trust yourself and follow your inspiration. If something gets you carried away, stop looking for excuses, just commit yourself to this activity. This is my secret to success.

Lotte Bruning Donskoi „Shame on who?“

By /ART/


Photography, production, art-direction, post-production: Lotte Bruning Donskoi
@lottebruningphotography from agency @thenextchapteragency
Artist/Illustrator: Soraya Basiran @soraya_basiran for the agency @angeliquehoornmanagement
Styling: April Jumelet @apriljumeletstyling
Hair & Make-up: Liselotte van Saarloos @liselottevansaarloos for MAC Cosmetics, Bumble & Bumble and TUSH Brushes
Hair & Make-up assistant: Wout Philippo @woutphilippobeauty
Models: sisters Merel @merel_aj & Femke @femke__bloem from agency @tjardamodelmanagement
Photography assistant: Pim van Baalen @pimvanbaalen

fashion collagist Valeriya Manasaryan

By /ART/

artist of the week: fashion collagist Valeriya Manasaryan
From an early age I spent more time with scissors and a glue stick in
my hands than with pencils. Vivid pictures on cereals boxes and gummy
bears caused my genuine interest and admiration. So all meals I ate
turned into a fun game, during which I created unimaginable stories and
new characters. Over time, my interest has shifted towards glossy
magazines, piles of which I found on bookshelves in my parents house.


Calder-Picasso / Musée national Picasso-Paris

Until August, 25

What do Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder have in common? The most obvious answer might be: they both were striking artists and contemporaries. The current exhibition examines however a more profound resemblance — the Franco-Spanish painter and the American architect had a genuine interest for different dimensions what made them explore space and find new ways to interact with it. Whereas Calder’s pre-kinetic sculptures are full of a scientist’s curiosity and intellectual power, Picasso’s works are introspective and self-expressive at once. 120 works altogether of the two geniuses of the 20th century (shake, but don’t stir, please) are certainly something worth seeing in the city of (art) lovers.

What else to see: Berthe Morisot: Female Impressionist at The Musée d’Orsay; Bernard Frieze. Without Remorse at the Centre Pompidou

I remember appreciating the days when my mother allowed me to take
a couple of old, already forgotten editions as if it were a holiday. I used
them all — various boxes, candy wrappers, old tickets, different labels.
I enjoyed turning “garbage“ into postcards and posters and hanging it on
the walls of my teenage room. By the way, the love for bright scraps did
not disappear while studying at art school and university. However, it was
the manual graphics that identified my student artworks, making them
look different.

What else to see: Summer of love: art, fashion, and rock and roll at the Palais Populaire; Gustave Caillebotte: Painter and Patron of Impressionism at the Alte Nationalgalerie

For me collage is not only a hobby, but also a way to make a living, which allows me to meet new interesting people, collaborate with artists, magazines and photographers. I am 21 years old now.

What else to see: Summer of love: art, fashion, and rock and roll at the Palais Populaire; Gustave Caillebotte: Painter and Patron of Impressionism at the Alte Nationalgalerie

You can already find a number of projects for some famous music groups
and publications for Harper’s Bazaar Russia in my portfolio, even though I
do not live in a big Russian city like Moscow or Saint Petersburg — I reside
in Rostov-on-Don. I learnt to find inspiration in everything, but still I am
really influenced by talented people, fashion and my own achievements.


By /ART/

Marcos Rodriguez Velo


Art Exhibition 18 MARCH – 13 JUNE at GALERIA BRUKOWA

Exhibition by KRISTINA OKAN an award nominated international visual artist
Curated by Irina Rusinovich

Berlin, Germany —“SECRET GARDEN“, is a new exhibition by Russian born visual artist KRISTINA OKAN. The opening reception is scheduled to take place on WEDNESDAY the 18th of MARCH starting at 7:.00 pm at the GALERIA BRUKOWA, Lodz, POLAND. The art exhibition features artist’s ceramic, drawing and graphic works and will be on display until 13 June.

Kristina Okan is an award nominated international visual artist, born in Russia in 1991. Lives and works in Berlin and Moscow. Kristina obtained her Master of Arts Degree from Stroganov`s Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts in Moscow. Her art links include exhibitions and awards across Europe and Asia, including the UK, Italy, Greece, Germany, China. In her ceramic works, she uses mainly porcelain clay preserving the whiteness and purity of the material focusing on the sense of texture, translucent and opaque effect of the surface, while her drawings and graphic artworks conjoin the complexity of color interaction and transparency.

KRISTINA OKAN, the artist: “The language of abstract geometric forms in visual art is expressive and thought-provoking. In my artworks I challenge the viewer to find their own meaning, wake up feelings and emotions, associations and fantasies, which are more covert, carrying some secret and mystery. I see artwork not just as an object with concept behind–at first, it is a communication of a particular object with a particular viewer. Their private dialogue.
Inspired by Renaissance traditional still lives with theirs visual relish of objects I create sensual biomorphic shapes based on repetitive and fractal modules.

My ceramic works are made mainly of porcelain because of its unexampled and unique qualities as a clay body: its subtlety and fragility. Smooth surface quality refers to something mysterious which intrigues me. This special material is able to give you the sense of texture due to its pure whiteness, astonishing translucence and ability to take on fine details.

Contact info CURATOR : Irina Rusinovich Phone: +491746127171