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Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

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Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

How did you get into photography? 

For a school project I started to dig into abstract photography. I got all the books I could get my hands on from the library and spent all summer learning as much as I could about it. In autumn I tried all kinds of abstract photography experiements in my black-out room.

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Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

First of all it needs a great idea. No matter if it’s for a personal project or a job with certain requirements, the idea and the concept are the most important part for a coherent series.

My aim is to implement each job in a way that it’s good enough to make it into my portfolio. I want to create photographs that touch the viewer and create emotions. This cannot be done only through great execution. The content of the picture has to be compelling, has to be new, and polarizing. My photograph is a good one when it makes the viewer pause and provokes a reaction. This is what I’m going for in every photograph I create.

When it comes to architecutal photography the process is a bit simpler. The preparation is a detailed analysis of the building and the location. I then decide on which time of day I have to where and in what weather conditions. Everything else is then created during the process of photography. I try to get a feel for the architect’s idea and bring the three-dimensionality into the two-dimensionality of photography through my clear and simple style. To me, the highest art in photography is to find a clear, unbiased perspective, in which I don’t influence (architectual photography is documentation) while still creating emotions.

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Do you have a favourite photograph or painting, which inspires you?

Untitled, 1992
Adam Fuss

Which photographer  of the past would you most like to meet? 

Man Ray

Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely? 

thankfully not.  I’ve always known that that’s gonna be my path and my passion.

What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?

My own path to being an artist is long from finished. Instead, I’d like to answer this question in regards to a path to photography.

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I think it is important to take enough time to figure out what kind of photographer and artist you want to be.
There are a milion possibilities, but if you want to be successful and be able to give it all you’ve got, you should be in it with your head and your heart, and love what you do.
A good, solid training is the first step on this road. Ask yourself where you can get the best training for what you want, regardless of the degree that comes with that training. For some people a regular apprenticeship with a good photographer might be a better fit than a university programme. Keep in mind that it requires a high quality of your educational insitution that also aligns with your own interests.
Once you’ve finished your training assist, assist, assist. There is no better way to gain precious experience of what your day-to-day life as a photographer is going to be like. Mistakes aren’t as grave and you’re starting to build a network that might pay off down the road. Never forget being a photographer is also being a business (wo)man. You’ll need to know how to run a business, because being a good photographer won’t help you to land any jobs.

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Instagram Janik Gensheimer: @janik__g
www.janikgensheimer.de

Exclusive interview with Nadine Dinter, director of an Art PR agency in Berlin

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photo: Steven Kohlstock

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Exclusive interview with Nadine Dinter, director of an Art PR agency in Berlin

Can you tell us about your background in the arts, and how you ended up working as an independent PR agency specialising in photography and also as an art collector?

As long as I can remember, I have loved the arts. As a child, you would always see me with a piece of paper and a crayon; later I copied famous works like those by Franz Marc or visions of Venice. While I was doing my A-levels in art, I went to every museum show possible. After making my first steps in the business world, I moved to New York as I wanted to add some experience to my first two courses of study. In the summer of 2001, I enrolled at NYU to study art administration. I also got an internship at the renowned non-profit space White Columns, and immersed myself in the local art scene. Experiencing art and working with professionals really helped me to navigate through the overwhelming New York art scene.

I strongly believe that doing and creating have always been more valuable for me than just reading and listening. Theorie vs. Praxis, as we say in German. Internships and project experiences helped me find the kind of work I wanted to do. After New York came an internship at Boris Abel Kunst, then work at C/O Berlin, followed by a job at Asperger Gallery, then one at Alexander Ochs Berlin/Beijing. In 2006, I was ready to strike out on my own and founded my PR agency. As a lover of photography and avid photographer myself – this quickly became the focus my activities: promoting photography exhibitions for galleries, museums, and artists. During the early years, I often accepted art pieces as part of my payment; later, I bought art that “spoke to me” – at art fairs, during studio visits, even at flea markets. I have also received work from artists as a token of appreciation for my services. So you could say that art collecting came with the job, or is a pleasant side effect of my PR work.

Photographer Olaf Heine, Press Officer Nadine Dinter and model Maik Eichhorn, Galerie IMMAGIS, 2018, Photo: Michael Tinnefeld

What is your earliest memory of photography art, and what led you to start collecting it and promoting it?

Photography has always been a passion of mine. As a teen I started taking pictures using an old Praktica I inherited from my grandfather, and I loved visiting the few photography galleries that were around in the nineties in Berlin. Rare works at Kicken gallery in Berlin-Mitte, high-fashion photographs at CAMERA WORK in Charlottenburg, as well as the fantastic Helmut Newton retrospective in 2000 at Neue Nationalgalerie are three highly memorable shows from the early years.

The reason I started collecting and promoting art came from my strong desire – or even need – to have art in my private and professional life. And photography, with its exciting history, captivating works and protagonists, plus my own photographic work, seemed to be the perfect medium to build the rest of my life on. The rest is history…

How would you describe yourself as a photography PR specialist?

24/7, passionate, professional, open, ambitious, well-connected, a healthy mix of outgoing and discreet, eager to constantly learn about the classics while discovering the work of new photographers. My motto: Consult, communicate, connect.

Together with the Hilton Brothers Paul Solberg (left) and Christopher Makos (right), Waldorf Astoria Hotel Berlin, 2016, Photo: Dietmar Bührer

What is the main motivation behind your work?

The central aim of my work is to create maximum exposure and media attention for the projects I am promoting. This means international press articles, well-orchestrated press events and openings, and the many visitors activated to come and view the gallery exhibition, museum show, or festival. Personally, I love the feeling of being immersed in the art experience. It’s also immensely rewarding to be at an opening and to see the happy faces of the client, the artists, and the visitors.

What are the three main qualities an art consultant must have?

Willpower, patience, and connectivity.

What are some dos and don’ts artists should know when working with a consultant?  

Dos: If you decide you want support, then be open, cooperative, and willing to accept advice you might not like at first.

Have a clear vision of what you want, or try to express the essence of your goals as clearly as possible, so that the consultant can pick up on it and build your personalized strategy.

Don’t: Don’t overestimate yourself but also don’t underestimate yourself. Be ready to let go of old habits and to let in fresh perspectives, new ideas, and unusual approaches.

With star photographers Inez & Vinoodh and curator + director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Matthias Harder, HNF Berlin 2019

During the opening at the Deichtorhallen, with photographer Miron Zownir (left) and his gallerist Bene Taschen (right), Hamburg 2016

 

As a PR and art consultant, how have you built up your wide network of artists and clients? How has this changed since COVID-19? 

Part of my work is visiting major photography events, such as les Rencontres d’Arles and Paris Photo, but above all, the photography-related events here in Berlin. This is where you see the artists, clients, and curators you already know but also where you get to know new people in the scene, by being introduced to them or by introducing yourself. Going to openings shows their respect, and signals that you, too, are an active part of the scene. Plus you can see the works in person: for me, a digital representation is no match for a live experience.

Since COVID-19, the scene, the personal encounters, and the whole feeling of togetherness have been hit incredibly hard. Otherwise simple acts of meeting in person to talk about art and life, all the little human interactions, not to mention travel – these have all been put on hold. On top of that are the financial woes that have come with the closing of the art spaces.

What is the most recent work of art you added to your personal collection and why?

A beautiful black and white portrait of Alfred Hitchcock, taken in 1970 by Greg Gorman. On the one hand, I adore b/w portraits, and on the other hand, I love Hitchcock’s movies. So two passions are combined in one photograph.

With jazz musician + photographer Till Brönner and photographer Tom Lemke, Berlin 2016, Photo: Steven Kohlstock

Has digitalization changed the way you collect art?

Not really. Although I do read market reports, which inform on what is being auctioned or sold digitally, I am a classic collector who loves to stand in front of an artwork, to get a better sense of its materiality, feel its power; the live experience is what stirs my desire to buy the work.

Where is the future of the art market headed?

This year and last have proven that there are other effective means to show and promote art than “just” exhibitions and fairs. It’s great that novel ways of displaying and selling art are being developed and implemented. But at the same time, the art market seems to be shifting in favor of wealthy, blue chip galleries – at the expense of the diversity of the art scene, which consists of big AND small galleries, institutions and non-profits, temporary project spaces, artist initiatives, and so on. I sincerely hope that the art scene will start recovering soon, and that it will be able to regain its previous energy.

Top three art destinations

Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
Camera Work, Berlin

Three inspiring artists to watch

Marie Tomanova
Armin Dietrich
Chloé Jafé

Opening of Berlin Photo Week, with Thomas Kretschmann, Richard Kruspe and Olaf Heine, Chaussee 36, Berlin 2019, Photo: Christian Behring

Instagram Nadine Dinter PR @nadine_dinter
Website: dinter-pr.de

Curator Feature / Interview with Sade English, founder of Anticlone Gallery

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E m m a n u e l l e  M a r e c h a l

Curator Feature/Interview with Sade English, founder of Anticlone Gallery

Founder and Artistic director of Anticlone Sade English, invited me into her Home Studio to discuss Anticlone Gallery and the evolution of her journey and the Arts industry as she see’s it. The Anticlone Gallery is the evolution of a conceptual and contemporary Art which platforms an unparalleled selection of unique, non conformist Artists.
Surrounded by a mixture of Contemporary and African Art, we turn the tables on the multifaceted Curator, who usually is the one asking Artists questions. Personally invited by Sade, I am the first Black female journalist to interview her yet. Signifying a change and demand for representation not just within the Arts & Design Industry, but globally.

Studio Shots

As the Founder of Anticlone , it is known as a movement, concept, and now Gallery. Can you talk us through Anticlone as a movement and concept, please?

The Anticlone Definition is: to not conform to society. Anticlone as a concept has evolved through life experience, whilst breaking down and understanding society as a whole. I recognised society has a somewhat closed minded view that attempts to prevent our true freedom of expression. This was from experiencing first-hand, the contradictions we face as we evolve as individuals from adolescent to adult age. Especially within the media, educational system and society’s overall impression on how we should or shouldn’t be. We are almost becoming clone like through existing rather than truly living. Witnessing societies constant desire for all to conform to the ‘norm’, created an urge to resist which birthed the term Anticlone.

Anticlone became the conceptual term for my first project in 2013, SADE ENGLISH a Visual Arts and Design brand. With this, the concept became a movement consisting of Artists and likeminded creatives that shared thoughts and methods of expression all through simple conversation. The term Anticlone has become a beacon for individuals to collectively share whether in front of my lens, or now through their own Artistry within Anticlone Gallery. Anticlone as, a concept is embodying non-conformity.

Studio Shots

Can you tell us what your vision of the art world/industry is at the moment? What was the reason that led you to create Anticlone Gallery?

Art to me has and will always mean expression. It’s an unspoken language that enables great conversation which has always been necessary. However, the Arts industry as it currently stands seems to narrate a repetitive story, that’s has not evolved. Artists that are currently seen as ‘of the moment’ to me personally, seem to have as similar back story. The story being, Arts institutions, mentorships, internships etc, have the same mundane narration which is projected as the only route to what society sees as a ‘successful’ Artist. To me, the Art world is not evolving with the Artists, but instead the Artists must surrender to suit the Art world. I have noticed this, which led for me to create Anticlone Gallery.

Whilst I founded Anticlone, the definition bonds an entire community which has evolved to become a movement and collective of powerful individuals who do not allow society to mould, devolve, nor silence their freedom of expression. Anticlone Gallery was made, in memory of my late mother Marcia Byfield, a Graphics Designer and Teacher who uplifted and embraced non conformity. Myself embracing nonconformity, after witnessing her death in February in 2020, I made it my duty to develop the Anticlone concept into a Gallery.

Studio Shots

Your gallery specialises in Conceptual Contemporary Art & Design. Whilst the Anticlone movement describes the Art produced in the era we are currently living in, it feels like the Arts industry as whole is stuck on both the past, and Artists of the past. Why is that in your opinion?

The Arts industry like all establishments has set traditions and foundations, we know Art signifies expression of the Human mind. The past is essential in order to learn from, for this reason history has always been important. However it’s repetitive teachings and practises of old skills alongside continued discussions of the same Artists, in my opinion is to mould and pre-empt which Art is socially acceptable. All Artists are gifted and talented in their own right, however Individuality becomes less apparent and somewhat blurred, when the industry reinforces old styles, or Artist from the past. The ability to create something completely new is rare, and perhaps even impossible as we are subconsciously inspired by things before and around us. I believe if the Arts industry showcases the same Art, style, methods and
teachings, it hinders true freedom of expression. Art as expression is often in response to societies control. Freedom of expression in my opinion should always be the focus, true freedom of non-conformist expression is what at the core of Anticlone.

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Do you feel that also explains why artists from non-conventional backgrounds don’t get the visibility they deserve?

Artist from non-conventional backgrounds rarely get visibility. However, there is a small handful, these few are often connected and manoeuvre within the Arts industry within the same circles, it is never by chance. The Arts industry wants to showcase diversity, Globally we see this is apparent and a change has come, but the balance of non-conventional vs conventional is still far from equal. Alongside class, gender and race, I feel that the Arts Industry is built upon a legacies of individuals that lead the culture for this reason it will always recognise Artist’s from conventional backgrounds over an independent artist. Welcoming Artists from all different frames of life is essential in order to nurture raw talent, conversation and expression to be shared. Talent is far from few, but access to talented Artists is the problem. Due to
titles used such as ‘emerging’ or ‘established’, raw talent is not often platformed into the mainstream media. Stressing the importance and value of true expression, without surrendering neither the industry nor society’s labels. Anticlone Gallery has removed these blurred terminologies altogether, enabling the viewer to appreciate Art for what it is, an expression of self.

What should an artist have to be exhibited in your gallery? Can you tell us about some of your Artists and why their work matters?

Simply true freedom of expression, as human beings we have dealt with conformity in one way or another, the freedom to create authentically and transparently is the foundation for each Artist within my Gallery. The ability to share our emotions, thoughts and indifference through visuals is powerful. Every artist that Anticlone Gallery represents matters, I cannot single out one, Othello De‘ Souza Hartley, Conrad Armstrong, George Kanis, Parma Ham, Alexandra Jamies, Elika Bo, Robert Mateusz Marciniak and Tia Yoon’s work all matter. Each Artists is a multidisciplinary within their works, they embody Anticlone.

Conrad Armstrong

You are an artist yourself, but you’re also a woman and mixed-race. How did your experience inform your decision to create Anticlone Gallery?

Being both Founder as well as an Artist enables me to have a grounded and level understanding of what Artist themselves wish their work to symbolise. Understanding the technique through my own Art background, gives me an advantage that in my opinion cannot be taught. Having a concrete relationship with my Artists enables trust, as I truly believe Art is an extension of each Individual’s lived experience in some way or another. To be vulnerable is strength and each trust me with their vulnerability through representing their work, which I am thankful for.

Being a woman, and a Mixed-Race woman doesn’t solely define me, however it is a huge part of my tory, being of Native America/Italian , Jamaican and African ancestry has given me the strength and confidence to move forward and achieve ambitions and goals with great pride, women in the history of Art were often seen as a Muse. I as a woman, and a Mixed-Race woman at that , am here to own my place within the Arts industry shamelessly.

Conrad Armstrong

Your gallery is dedicated to your late mother. Is legacy important to you? Why?

There are few Black/Native American owned galleries in London. So legacy is extremely important to me, my ancestry is rich with culture and creativity, my Jamaican great grandmother & grandmother Daphne English were both Dressmakers before immigrating to England. My brand SADE ENGLISH is named in Memory of her. While my Mother was and Artist & Art Director before becoming one of very few Black teachers in schools she taught in. All of the women in my life have paved a way for me to have the confidence and ability to be where I am today, I take it upon myself to represent them. Legacy paves way for others to know what they are cable of.

You are creating quite a unique gallery in the art space, with a pool of creatives whose craft is different from one another. You also seem to pay a lot of attention to their stories, why is that?

I personally feel peoples lived experiences is what makes them human, this is what bonds humanity as a whole. Understanding an Artist’s personal journey and experience in my opinion gives me a clear insight of their Art is on a deeper level. Art is an extension of an Individual, however it cannot determine the Artists entire existence, only a small entity.

Alejandra jaimes

Anticlone Gallery was meant to be a physical space, but you had to change your plans due to COVID19. How was/is the process?

The Plan is to continue developing the online platform. Lockdown has awakened ideas, where I am able to focus on ways that enable www.anticlonegallery.com to be as interactive and informative as possible. This process has been important in order to create a new dimension and connection with the viewer. Covid 19 has caused many unfortunate issues world wide, the Arts have been badly affected. It has raised many questions from both the Industry and the Artist’s to explore and adopt different methods to interact with their audience. The plan is to do a physical exhibit once it is safe, I have plans to bring Anticlone Gallery to London, Morocco, Ghana, Tokyo, Berlin and Paris.

You are creating quite a unique gallery in the art space, what would like Anticlone gallery to be and not to be when you look at other galleries? What would you like to see change?

I want Anticlone Gallery to be a safe space for all, a space where both Artists and viewers can come together to express, question and learn from one another with no barriers, whatever their background.I am a proud Londoner, I grew up in Peckham, south east London and felt free to explore everywhere, because of the confidence my late mother instilled in me, however there are many who still feel that the Arts industry is not inclusive of everyone. This is something that must change, and Anticlone Gallery is somewhere I wish break this cycle. Galleries and Museums have free collections for all, however having these things in grand spaces that do not often enough engage or interact with diverse communities is unfortunate. Change Is happening, but there is still more that needs to be done.

Tia yoon Painting

Greg Kanis

Othello De’Souza-Hartley

What is next for Anticlone Gallery?

New works from Anticlone Artists will be launching online the shop at www.anticlonegallery.com over the next few months. Alongside this there will be a series of new interviews that will be released giving the new audiences an insight to each Artist Anticlone represents. February will be the month I also introduce a new section titled Anticlone Articles to the online platform. Creatives, journalists and friends I have gained on my travels will be contributing Articles on everything from subcultures, Artists and more that embodies the definition of Anticlone, stemming globally from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

Instagram: @sadeenglish & @anticlone.gallery
Website: www.anticlonegallery.com  www.sade-english.com
Email: anticlone@sade-english.com
Twitter: @AnticloneG & @sadeenglish

Etching technique nowadays. An interview with Agnieszka Pestka Paulina Brelińska

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Paulina Brelińska

Etching technique nowadays. An interview with Agnieszka Pestka

Agnieszka Pestka is a Polish visual artist based in New York whose works reflect personal stories from the perspective of a young and open-minded woman, a traveller. I talk with her about how she draws inspiration from the feminine power and why she decided to make the etching technique up-to-date.

 Could you say a little more about your creative path, where did you learn the graphic techniques?

 It all started when, living between Tokyo and Sydney, I decided to take a risk and go for my dreams. I know it might sound simple but it wasn’t. If I had to explain it briefly, I would say that I went to New York, where I rented an art studio and learned all the techniques I wanted to. Of course gaining knowledge was connected with my studies at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. It all started with a four-month course in screen printing, but discovering etching was the moment when I found the satisfaction and need for further artistic action. I enrolled in a course in etching and metal furniture making at the same time. However, once I had learnt the basics I started to follow my own creative path.

Exhibition “I don’t want to lose her“, La Vie Gallery, Warsaw 2020 fot. Nel Niezgoda

Who is your mentor? Did you meet him/her during studies?

 Larry B. Wright! I absolutely have to start the whole conversation with this personality. He was one of the lecturers at the School of Visual Arts in New York (SVA) and Robert Rauschenberg’s personal assistant. He wasn’t my teacher directly, but the one who gave all the students the incredible energy to create, get inspired and motivated. He gave me the feeling that everything is possible through hard work. I can’t wait to get back to the studio and hug him! What an amazing man!

When I look at your works I notice that you go beyond paper and prints and focus on the spatial aspects of etching, which might draw me to the conclusion that you draw inspiration mainly from the graphical matrix?

 Sometimes I do paper prints and I really appreciate paper, especially rice paper for its softness and strength at the same time. However, as I said before, metal chose me and vice versa. What appeals to me most is its coldness, strength, weight I have to handle while working on spacial forms. I knew from the first moment I entered the studio that I was in the right place. I touched the metal plate and started imagining how I can shape it. I tried working with paper several times, but it wasn’t the same as working with plates and seeing a three-dimensional form. Imagine that the viewer is inside your sculpture, hidden in the polished surface, and the acid-washed indentations can be seen not only on the work but also reflected in the space where the work is exposed. I perceive light, movement and the ever-changing space as a crucial part of my work.

What do you mean by this?

 I have shown my work in various places and in various configurations.

Agnieszka Pestka, She comes to me at night (and take me in her arms), print on rice paper, 100cm x 183 cm

What is etching to you? Do you think the art and design market is open to this technique?

 Of course it is! When it comes to the sphere of openness, I believe that art is a place of freedom! As artists, we should not look for limits but for solutions in order to exist. This is the role of the brave artist in a rapidly developing capitalist world. Of course, there are trends in art and at the moment there is certainly a lot of colour, in my opinion. But the world is always looking for new fresh looks, even when you use old techniques. Etching is a rather forgotten technique and that is why I have decided to bring it back to life. I want to represent a fresh approach. Usually my work ends up on a polished cool piece of zinc plate. Prints are created rarely or as an addition. For me, etching is unpredictable, surprising, painstaking, unlimited, but also very mine. It is the method that defines me at this moment.

You often pose with your works, how do you consider them? Are they a record of your thoughts and feelings? Do you have a problem with parting with your works?

 My life is quite intense. I am an artist but also an activist. I have lived in 14 countries, travelled a lot and always wanted to experience a lot. I met many people and interesting stories on my way. „Jasmine“ is about an American-Egyptian woman who worked for the pentagon and while washing my face, tells me about the death of her father. The sculpture „River of Blood“ brings me back to memories of watching someone strip the fur from a fox that was still alive, the canvases „Carmen“ are dedicated to the female prisoners I sat with in immigration prison, it tells of women’s freedom. „She comes to me at night (and takes me in her arms)“ tells of my temporary loss of sight. „Let me love things in you that don’t exist“ is about love, the community of women, it answers the question of how women complement each other when they connect on different levels and in many situations. The topics look very disparate but they are a whole and they are united by one common female view of reality.

Pestka Agnieszka, Water, fot. Nel Niezgoda

Exhibition “I don’t want to lose her“, Gallery La Vie, Warsaw 2020 fot. Nel Niezgoda

Agnieszka Pestka, Water, fot. Nel Niezgoda

Could you tell us more about American art world? How would you describe it?

 The United States is a big country. In Miami, New York or Los Angeles there are different rules and trends. But in general Americans are open to the art market and novelties. They appreciate handmade things, work input and personal touch of the object. You could say they are familiar with art galleries. In New York, we often go to a gallery on our way to a restaurant or during a Saturday afternoon walk. Art is really a part of big-city everyday life and thus it’s easier to be artistic and notice other artists.

Instagram: Agnieszka Pestka @peeestka
Web site:Agnieszka Pestka www.apestka.com

Interview “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity”

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L i s a  L u k i a n o v a

Interview “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity”

An exhibition of works by British photographer Cecil Beaton will be held at the General Staff of the Hermitage from 9 December 2020 to 14 March 2021. 

Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is among the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. After the Second World War he became the official photographer of the British Royal Court; in 1964 he was awarded an Academy Award for his work on the film My Fair Lady. In 1972 he was honored with the title of Sir. Over a career spanning more than fifty years, he has created a portrait gallery of great personalities, from Hollywood superstars to bohemian artists, from surrealist figures to a young Elizabeth II. Beaton described his main task in portraiture as staging an apotheosis – an arrangement of a spectacular appearance of a person in high society. The exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity” presents over 100 portraits taken by Beaton over the years from the photographer’s studio, the V&A, Vogue magazine and Vanity Fair archives. The focus will be on Russian expatriates who have defined fashion culture and posed for Beaton’s portraits.

PurpleHaze team held a short interview with the creators of the exhibition. So, the questions are answered by Julia Napolova, architect and creator of the architectural bureau PSCulture, and the curator of the exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity”, and researcher at the State Hermitage Museum Daria Panayotti.

Hello Julia and Daria, thank you for taking time for that interview. Let’s start with a first question.Please tell us about the PSCulture Bureau, the projects it is involved in and its creation?

Julia Napolova: PSCulture was founded in 2014. From the beginning, the objectives of the Bureau have been positioned in the field of culture, and since then, the company’s course has not changed. Despite its narrow specialisation, the projects are really diverse: concepts for new museums, design of temporary exhibitions, design of international exhibitions. Each new project gives us a new perspective on the multifaceted nature of the subject we deal with. Following a professional challenge, we have put together a team according to the same principle: everyone at PSCulture has their own unique experience and style. At the moment the bureau is working on projects such as the Regalia of the Moscow Kremlin, the Moscow Planetarium exhibition and the Polytechnic Museum. In 2020, in spite of the pandemic, we opened not only Cecil Beaton in the Hermitage, but also exhibitions about Alexander III in the State Historical Museum and Yesenin in the Literary Museum named after A. Dahl. Dal.

The exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity” was launched at the State Hermitage Museum – a project dedicated to the absolutely legendary twentieth-century photographer. Please share what it was like to organise an international exhibition amidst the pandemic?

Daria Panaiotti: At various stages of the project, the participants were required to show very rare qualities that require great composure: a blind faith that the project will happen and a desperate will to keep working at the same level of mastery; optimism in the face of logistical and other difficulties that at first seem insurmountable; the ability to mobilise quickly and start working at maximum capacity when confirmation finally comes about deadlines and the completion of the various stages of the project.

What exactly fascinated you about Cecil Beaton’s work? And why has he become the central character of this new project? Could the theme of secular photography from the turn of the century be of interest to today’s viewers? 

Daria Paniotti: Beaton can be called one of the creators of the culture in which we all live today: the culture of the celebrities, which is based on an avalanche economy of visual images. We all create our public image with selfies on social media today; Cecil Beaton formulated many rules that remain unalterable to this day. 

At the same time, it is a special challenge for the curator. The terminology relating to fashion, secularism, and public culture is poorly developed in Russian. Beaton is part of the phenomenon of British culture, which is very difficult to explain and with which it is difficult to draw parallels in Russian culture. I found this task very challenging because it was a very interesting one.

What was your main source of inspiration in the visual design of the exhibition?

Julia Napolova: The main inspiration for us was Beaton himself, his personality and approach to his work. Cecil loved unconventional moves, provocation, irony – but his camera idolised its characters. We have tried to express this contradiction through the selection of materials. Lace, as the main leitmotif of the decoration, is meant to stun the viewer with its luxury and glitter, but these stars are just a background for the real, Hollywood stars hidden behind the shimmering curtain. The texture of the decorative plaster references the velvet of the Royal House, with which Cecil has worked for many years. The perimeter display is maintained in a more austere monochrome frame, emphasising the aesthetic of black and white photography.

Tell us about the organisers of the exhibition and the team. How did it come together? 

Daria Paniotti: The Contemporary Art Department team and the Hermitage team, which consists of many professionals in a variety of fields, had a lot of help from colleagues at the British Friends Foundation. I think they were also interested in bringing in such an important name, which for some reason has remained very little known to the Russian public.

Many people say that the Internet will soon replace exhibitions. Aren’t museum exhibitions a thing of the past?

Daria Paniotti: It was very important for us to bring exactly vintage prints to the exhibition; nothing can replace the materiality of an art object and a historical object. We’ll see what the long-term effects of the pandemonium will be. Before it, the example of Sweden’s Fotografiska, an ultra-popular museum that actually takes vivid photography from the pages of creative content aggregator sites into physical space, offering a cultural experience of encountering art, a kind of accessible form of high-end consumption, shows that museums cannot replace the Internet.

What is the portrait of your target audience? In your opinion, what and how can you draw the audience’s attention and interest these days?

Daria Panayotti: The Hermitage is one of the main museums in the country, so we always have a task to work with the widest audience. We have tried to select works and compose texts accompanying the exhibition in such a way that it should also attract people, who actually came to see their favourite impressionists and to look at their works.

How do you think the art world will be in 5-10 years?

Daria Paniotti: I think there will certainly be fewer blockbuster exhibitions, and museums will work more with their collections, discovering new things and rethinking old ones. This trend, even before the pandemic, began to be set when MoMA was reorganised. Museums, even the largest ones, will turn to local, urban audiences. Curators will have to look into the eyes of their audience and learn to apply the good old laws of rhetoric, whereas before it was accepted that the curator would create meanings in cooperation with art, while the spectator was often excluded from this dialogue. In Russia, this means that the language of art talk will change in a major way; it will become more transparent, more accessible, and in big cities, it will have to be done without simplifying the content. In my opinion, a very noble task!

What are the three components of a successful exhibition? What is the best way to attract the attention of a person interested in art nowadays?

Daria Paniotti: I think this will vary greatly from country to country. The content of the exhibition needs to resonate with certain social attitudes (strangely, one of the most popular pieces in Cecil Beaton’s exhibition was a portrait of Aldous Huxley; it is a rich source of thoughts! For the Russian viewer, an introductory text which sets the modus vivendi of the art perception is very important (even if it has to be intuitive, rather than intellectual – it had better be spelled out). And, of course, the very organisation of the exhibition must „draw“ you in; it is clear that just displaying the objects in the showcases is not enough; you have to create an environment that will entice the visitor to stay longer, to extend the physical and social experience of going to a museum.

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Interview with visual artist Folrry

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Interview with visual artist Folrry

How did you get into ART ?  

I got into art literally by studying other visual artist’s artwork. I loved what they created, and I wanted to create. So, I learnt and started creating my artworks.

How would you describe your creative process?  
I spend a lot of time thinking about concepts sometimes and I start creating parts of the artworks bit by bit. I start with space; what do I want the space to look like, what goes into the space, what story am I trying to tell, or am I even trying to tell any story? I must say, I view every artistic element that I create to make up the final artwork in a singular and standalone form. They all come together in a pluralistic manner to form a singular masterpiece, which is interesting, and at the same time challenging because I am working with shapes, characters, forms, objects, and most importantly translational human experiences; be it my personal experiences or those that I have witnessed.
Most times the process takes weeks or months and sometimes it is rapid. I might be sleeping and here comes the idea, the concept, I get up at midnight and I start creating the piece of art and I don’t stop until I finish it.
What was the key influence that led to the development of your process and style?  
Shapes, forms, objects,colours, their relatedness and relativity to human experiences, emotions and feelings. You get into a spacious room and the way it is set up really makes you feel some kind of way, sometimes you understand it while sometimes you can’t really grasp it, or wearing or choosing colours for an outing or occassion, loving a car because of how it looks on the external and the aftereffect it has on you depending on what you feel at that particular or prior to it. It is fascinating, the human nature and reaction to these things and this has in turn been an integral part of what influenced my art process and style. It is a very multiplex influence translated into a simplistic metaphor of beautiful artwork.
What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?  
To me personally, art means experiences. Be it from artist perspective, or viewer perspective. Spoken or unspoken experiences, tasteful or distasteful. As far there is an experience, then there is art.  Every art I make accomplishes a goal, because I didn’t keep this thought, experience and concept to myself, I shared it in a form of art piece. Hopefully, someone or group of people somewhere can relate with it. I feel that’s the ultimate goal, because from it springs other goals.
How has covid affected you and your art?
It gave me time to create and made me come to the full realisation of art as a product and service. Create the best, be better than the previous best, ask for the best. Covid effect on me personally, is anything could happen anytime but don’t stop believing in yourself.
What’s next? 
You will see…smiles☺ 

Instagram: @folrry
Behance: folrry

Interview with artist Andrea Familari

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Interview with artist Andrea Familari

Dear Andrea, thank you for taking time for an interview with us!

Your work is very diverse, expressing itself through the use of various media. Tell us about the creative process behind it.

It’s true, it is really diverse, it combines a lot of practices in one single person. For Tribute to the Noise, the latest series I am developing since two years and a half, I focused on representing the randomity of the behaviour and the constant that in a lot of studies is described as “random variable”: something that you must calculate in all scientific studies, and the one that if you wish to avoid, it will always be there.

In my work, I am translating this random variable into a video with the use of the noise, the video noise. Each video relies on its own rules but, from the audience point of view, it can be perceived differently: you can feel it, understanding its substance immediately. The results can be described as “chaotic”. As an outcome of these explorations, I have developed an original code in GLSL that uses a random value generating the noise itself.

With this process in mind, applied to my personal aesthetic and colours research, I wanted to push my practice forward and use this palette in the most various way possible, therefore experimenting with lots of different media. I wanted to constantly practice by generating and developing different artworks with the same “random” variable, permeated by the same aesthetic: from a big LED wall to a more conventional FULL-HD screening, from different dimensions and aspect ratio of screens to a LED Fan Display, from Prints to 3D Sculptures.

My palette of colours and video movements is definitely evolving with time, but the core remains the same and it is applied in everything that can be produced in the arts – following the daily growth of possibilities found in old, new and future media.

I am very critical towards the rush to the new technologies, the risk to create the first installation that comes to mind, or use them in a simple way without questioning them enough, using them only for the reason of their novelty. To me, time is of vital essence to allow new technologies to sediment and find a truthful, artistic meaning, not only using them for the pure rush of being the “first”.

Right now I’m focused on developing a VR installation and continuing my research on printing techniques, testing different papers, aluminum and 3D sculptures.

At the same time, I’m producing a new show with Fronte Vacuo (frontevacuo.com): an artists group which I co-founded with Marco Donnarumma (marcodonnarumma.com) and Margherita Pevere (www.margheritapevere.com).

The group was born with the aim to address the current convergence of ecological disruption, socio-political polarization and technological advance. We are working really closely in order to achieve a shared, collective critical thinking flux, each of us with their own expertise but in a continuous exchange of ideas. I’m really glad and proud to have found this sinergy.

What is the main idea you want your audience to take with them?

It’s not really an idea, but feelings. I’ve always appreciated standing in front of an artwork and understanding my own version of it without even reading the description, sometimes not even the title. And I have always remembered the feelings that I had, stronger than the idea that the artist wanted to share. Sometimes these two might overlap, but not always.

When you find yourself in front of an artwork with no coordinates to follow or over explanatory labels, you will try to reflect on something starting from it, and that will probably carry your mind somewhere else. That’s the journey I am interested in. By allowing yourself into my artworks, I am sure half of the meaning resides already there in yourself: then a part of the audience will maybe reach my idea, or not. And it doesn’t really matter in the end.

How would you define your personal aesthetics?

In a few words I would say a raw, hardcore grudge.

Naturally it’s not just that, but I would love this to be the only and final definition. I am focused on the grotesque that you can extrapolate from the use of the colors and shapes.

Tell us about the spaces within which you work.

It’s been two years since I started working in my current studio in Mitte. It’s a shared space with four artists – visual artists, sound artists and film directors. It’s basically divided into two different spaces: one which is more like an office with desks, computers, electronics and so on, and then a basement/atelier/tryouts space. Usually, most of the time, the only thing I need is my computer. But it is not the typical space where everyone has their own desk and we are by ourselves. We all have a good alliance and are really close, we are friends. We are trying to maintain an environment where mutual help and exchange are fundamental values at the core of our shared practice and space.

Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?

Yes of course, during the last nine years it happened more than once. I guess every artist, every year, questions themselves.There is a moment, when you perceive the shadow of futility, looking at years and years of practice and feeling completely out of time or without a clear message for your audience…

From my perspective, it comes down to the fact that, in the end, we are human beings. With all the feelings and implications that derive from it. The most important part, though, is to get through these bad times. No matter what or how. I am usually getting over these moments by working harder.

Do you find that Berlin’s art scene inspires or influences your art?

Definitely. At least, when I moved here for sure. I moved to Berlin because of the incredibly nuanced and growing media art scene. A lot of artists from the past that inspired me were living here or their works were “born” and exhibited here. I wanted to see them live and not just on the web. After seven years of research and investigations, I found my own aesthetic and the aim in my work; what defines my “brush”. Even today, Berlin is still a place where I am intrigued by the art that is constantly in the making and the community surrounding this production. There is still a good exchange and knowledge sharing in the artistic community. It’s something that I have and I will always appreciate.

What advice would you give to a young artist following your steps?

The best advice that I continue to believe in and follow everyday is to “never give up” and “work everyday”. It sounds obvious and cheesy, but it is the fundamental part of every practice. As I said before, there will be dark times where you will question your entire career, but staying focused and continuing to believe in it, after years of trying and changing, and changing again, you will achieve what you have in mind. From my experience and encounters of my career, I didn’t find only one path to follow, no one can direct you where to go.

A good piece of art or, actually, any kind of job requires hard work before achieving the ideal results. It’s not something that appears overnight, but after years, and it may never do. And we need to keep on creating, being at peace with it. Everything needs time, and everyone has their own times.

Instagram Andrea Familari: @famifax

Interview with artist Ewa Doroszenko

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Interview with artist Ewa Doroszenko

Description of the project

Body Editor

photographic project (a series of photographic prints and GIF files)
Link to the full project: ewa-doroszenko.com/bodyeditor

The project was inspired by the failures and bugs in the popular beauty apps, where unnatural bodies get distorted. While the Internet can seem like a place disconnected from the physical world, much of the activity that occurs there deeply affects how we feel outside of it. In the age of social media, technology provides women with tools that allow them to quickly create dream digital images of themselves. Using various beauty applications, they can smooth, contour their faces, whiten their teeth, add a few centimeters of height, enlarge their eyes, choose different mouths, and use many other options. Digitally edited images can serve as aspirational fantasies and occasionally they even can have a positive impact – when they are just effects of joyful entertainment. But can the game in which your body is a battleground be truly enjoyable? The phrase from Barbara Kruger’s iconic work has just as much resonance today as it did more than a quarter of a century ago.

While preparing the project I used photography as a starting point, alongside digital tools to create an expressive project that is both a critique and a celebration of the ongoing progress in contemporary technology and culture. I employed many methods of creating images: preparing three-dimensional collages constructed from free stock images and my portraits, photographing the scenes, printing in large sizes, physically manipulating prints, and digitally editing selected photos. In the final work, I tried to leave visible traces of digital processing, partly revealing my working methods to provoke discussion about contemporary photography.

How did you get into art?

I never doubted that I wanted to be an artist. Even as a child, I heard very often that I am very talented in drawing. Although my interests were quite broad and I liked science very much, the desire to create my own reality through art eventually won. I studied painting, which quickly became a basic medium in my projects, and finally, I got my doctoral degree in fine arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. During my studies, I also began to experiment with a conceptual approach to photography. I started to understand photography not as a single act of liberating the shutter, but as a sequence of resulting actions, which extends from aesthetic choices, the staging of scenes, physical and digital manipulation of images to the final arrangement of the exhibition. Currently, in my work, I use the consonance of many media – from photography to sound. I am constantly fascinated by art and its use as a kind of language.

What does art mean to you personally?

First of all, I try to use art to create new worlds, a reality different from that which surrounds me. Art is also my primary tool for researching and describing the issues of contemporaneity. I am primarily interested in the meaning of the image in technological reality and the fluidity of beauty standards. My artistic explorations are not limited by any medium, either traditional or digital. Trying to express my thoughts, I experiment with various methods and technologies. Whenever I think about creating new works, I try to create structures with multiple layers of meaning. The material choices are calculated and meant to bring on the idea.

Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?

Sure, I usually try to have clearly defined goals. Of course, as I grow and respond to a changing situation, I modify my goals. This makes it much easier for me to make decisions. On the other hand, there is a lot of room for experimentation in my artistic activity, so I often don’t know where the whole creative process will lead me. That is why I try to maintain a balance between planning activities and responding flexibly to the situation.

At the moment, together with my husband Jacek Doroszenko, we are working on a new project entitled „Bodyfulness“, which, like our previous activities, is a creative experiment combining sound and visual art. My goal is to release the project this year in a form of the unique music album and present an exhibition which is an audiovisual study of how modern technology and culture change our intimate relationships.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Yes, I have a certain philosophy of life. In a nutshell, it can be described as follows: I try to concentrate my energy on the things that depend on me. If I do something, I want to do it in the best and most professional way possible, regardless of whether my action is appreciated or not.

How do you think the art world will shape in the future?

The ongoing pandemic and simultaneous digital transformation have a huge impact on economic and social development. There are also great changes in the field of culture and art. As reality is increasingly being challenged by the virtual world and technologies are developing so rapidly, I think that in the future artistic productions will become more engaging and interactive. These new approaches and tools will perhaps allow even more artistic freedom, offering completely new creative opportunities, including the possibility of mixing elements that were probably impossible to combine before. I think that in the future, the physical experience of the exhibition will continue to be strong. But galleries will expand significantly in ways that are not just physical, but also digital.

Ewa Doroszenko Instagram: @ewadoroszenko

Interview with artist N.Stortelder

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Interview with artist N.Stortelder

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Every time the process is a little different. Ideas are everywhere and when one sticks I have to get it out of my head. Sometimes I will set up a photoshoot with a specific idea in mind and other times the structures of an image will lead me completely. Photography is almost always the basis of my work but I still think sculpturally; copying, pasting, layering, and transforming imagery into a new reality.

Sometimes it feels like I work in reverse. Only at the end of the making process when I feel the work is finished I can clearly see the meaning in what I was trying to achieve.

What is your daily routine when working?

I don’t have a set daily routine when working and that is something that I like. Each phase of my art practice has its own routine characteristics, however, in all of my practice the studio must be tidy and clean. This keeps my head empty enough to focus on the art.

Meditation helps me to listen to what is really important, and coffee helps me buzz with ideas whilst listening to the Coffee Jazz playlist…

What was the key influence that led to the development of your process and style?

During a study of advertising, communication and design I realised I was drawn towards the photographic elements of the process. This led me down a different path into the fine art world where I eventually graduated as a sculptor from the art academy.

The choice to switch from the foundation year “Lifestyle & Design” to Fine Art and graduating as a sculptor has been of great value not only for the process but also my style.

What does art mean to you personally? Is there a goal you’re trying to accomplish?

Art is my diary. It is an escape and a release. It is a filter to see the world through. I try to understand myself and the world through art.

Do you have a life philosophy? Does your creative practice fit in with this philosophy?

My motto in life since I was little has been „Then die“ (in response to the question; What is the worst that can happen?) This motto has brought me to special places, has led me to special people and has pushed me to do things that I was initially afraid of. This sounds a little heavier than it actually is because of course I don’t want to die…

I also try to live a healthy life by looking after my body, but also my mind. When they are in balance, the creative work can flow more easily.

However, I am aware that black cannot do without white. There are days when everything goes against the grain, when I don’t understand the world. These “dark” days can also give me inspiration. This makes me wonder what happens when everything is in perfect balance. Could I still make art?

Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?

Of course, everyday.

How has covid affected you and your art?

Practically speaking, because of the pandemic my part-time work as a teacher was largely canceled, and therefore, I had all the time in the world with my good old all-time favorite friend; My Art.

It felt like home. I finally had some time to take a step back and see from a distance what I had been doing all these years – only creating, with no real structure or plan. I decided to invest some time in organizing all of that work and create more structure moving forward.

I was also able to create a bit of a platform for my work and communicate with a small but appreciative audience which I feel extremely grateful for, especially during these times.

How do you think the art world will shape in the future?

In the same way it has always done.

What’s next?

I am currently doing research on how I can bring my 2D digital work back into a 3D reality. Next to that, I want to create a solo exhibition with the biggest prints possible.

Instagram Noortje Stortelder: @noortje_stortelder

Profile picture is made by photographer Jon Twigg jbtwigg.com

“Success is an Emotion”: Interview with Fashion Designer Roma Uvarov

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Julia Kryshevich

“Success is an Emotion”: Interview with Fashion Designer Roma Uvarov

Roma Uvarov is 23 years old, seven of which he has devoted to fashion. Born in the small city in the south of Russia, he first moved to Moscow to showcase his collection at Fashion Week and take part in a popular TV show about vogue. Internationally acknowledged as an up-and-coming Gen Z designer, Roma Uvarov admits he neither enjoys rubbing elbows in professional circles, nor likes talking too much. However, he has generously shared his life experience with us. More on the contradictory personality of Roma Uvarov (who is a renegade, a romantic, and a hard worker at once), read in the interview below.

PH: You call yourself a visual, and it is reflected in your biography. While attending the PR faculty, you felt disappointed in the learning process and took up some creative pastimes such as Photoshop classes and reading self-help books. Why fashion? After all, it requires some hard skills like sewing and stitching… 

R.U: Even before entering the university, I thought of running my own business. You know, I realized the irrelevance of public education rather early — it just makes you lose your interest in the subject chosen. However, I felt the need to study marketing so that I could promote and present my business in the future. There are many examples like that today, when a really good artist or a graphic designer just can’t tell the audience what his works are about. 

In my case, I was impressed by fashion from early on, watching TV shows as a kid and trying to make conceptual collages later. Yet I wouldn’t think of becoming a fashion designer at the time! But at a certain point I started thinking about my plans for life, asked myself what I wanted to achieve… and then Olya Sadovaya came along. Olya is quite a prominent fashion designer in Krasnodar, the city I was staying during my studies. So, yes, we met at some local party and she offered me a job at her studio.

PH: That’s how you received your first job offer in fashion. When did you have a feeling you were ready for more?

R.U: In Olya’a studio I was responsible for social media marketing and brand promotion. My boss was satisfied with my work, so quite soon my duties were expanded. I became Olya’s right hand, together we elaborated new collections, making them cool, unusual without spending much money. Otherwise it wouldn’t work as we needed to stay within the modest budget of the studio (I even worked for free for 2,5 years there). Then Olya would marry, have a child and, obviously, step back a bit… At some point I realized I got to move on, so I started thinking of setting up my own label.

PH: So you left? 

R.U: When I first tried making clothes myself, I felt something had changed. Back then I was young and active and open to experience. I experimented a lot while still working for Olya and finally I decided to launch my brand of sweatshirts. I think it was 2016. Since then I’ve been signing my clothes, which brought the competitive spirit in my relations with the head of the studio. 

The last straw was the arrival of a potential (and long-awaited) investor, who was ready to support us financially on the condition that he could influence the brand’s politics and vision. Of course, I wasn’t ok with that. One day I left the studio. Working as an independent designer now I always strive for autonomy. I don’t look back at the others, I try to create something brand new. Yes, I’m an introvert, yet I love finding myself in the flow of life. 

PH: What collection do you consider your first one?

R.U: That’s hard. I see a collection as a pool of looks and garments, something big… While working for Olya Sadovaya, it still wasn’t like that. When I got separated, yes, that’s another story. My first collection consisted of T-shirts, just a merch. I would get bored soon, so I switched to creating fully-fledged ready-to-wear looks.

PH: In 2018 you debuted at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. You’ve been a regular participant of the fashion event ever since. However, we didn’t see any collections by Roma Uvarov Design in the recent seasons of MBFW (April and October, 2020), which ran mostly online. Why? 

R.U: Oh yes, I perfectly remember how it was. A few months before the MBFW we (hereinafter, Roma Uvarov Design team) wrote a letter to the organizers of the event complaining that young regional brands, unlike the Moscow-based ones, don’t receive any financial support. So they agreed to help us! 

Concerning the latest seasons, Roma Uvarov Design should have participated in the program in April, however, the life shows were cancelled and we didn’t want to engage in digital format. Personally I don’t feel anything special while staring at the screen… Together with my assistant I headed to my homeland Adygeya to wait out the period of quarantine… and then the MBFW organizers reached me. It was three days before the event and they eventually wanted me to take part! So we created a series of mood boards with some bright colleges that looked somewhat bizarre, just in the spirit of the brand. 

Of course, I hoped for a life MBFW taking place in autumn, I wished I could show two collections by Roma Uvarov Design at once. Unfortunately, it has even got worse in terms of the pandemic, so we decided to make a separate life fashion show inviting guests, constructing some art objects, all in all, making up an entire concept. 

PH: By the way, in the recent season of MBFW there were a few participants of the Krasnodar-based ‘Fashion a la Russe’ project, namely, Olga Kazakova, Nadezhda Belousova, Valeria Klimovskikh. Do you know any of them? You might have crossed paths while hanging around in the designers’ community in Krasnodar. 

R.U: To be perfectly honest, none of the names sound familiar to me. While working in Krasnodar, I desperately sought an opportunity of working independently, thus, I was for separation from the professional community. On the whole, I’m not good at getting on with those people who I differ on certain points with. It brings negativity to my life, which I constantly try to avoid. Actually, you don’t have time to chat, when you are all about work. 

By the way, it was the ‘Fashion a la Russe’ project that helped me to get to my first MBFW. Although I could take part in the event for free, I badly needed money for the trip and accommodation and staging the show… We turned to ‘Fashion a la Russe’, and they provided us with some financial support, so we could showcase our collection in Moscow and in St. Petersburg the next day. 

PH: You also took part in ‘Podium’ (editor’s note: the Russian counterpart for ‘Project Runway’ reality TV show). What do you think of that experience? Do you see it rather as a way to promote yourself or an opportunity to level up, advance your design skills? Is it real at all to learn something on TV shows that are primarily meant to entertain the audience? 

R.U: You can always learn something in any situation. The thing is to realize what and how you can learn in specific circumstances. Frankly speaking, I don’t enjoy being solely identified with ‘Podium’, because the collections I launch under Roma Uvarov Design are superior to anything I did on the project. What I do now is more sincere and laborious, however, I love reminiscing about those times on the project. 

Taking part in ‘Podium’ turned out to be a tremendously new experience for me. For 2 months I and the other participants stayed in a hotel where we did nothing but worked and interacted with each other (on camera, of course). We neither could use our mobile devices, nor chat with strangers on the streets. The pressure was strong, which made us do our best. 

As for the TV show itself, it would be an exaggeration to claim that ‘Podium’ focused on vogue. First of all, it was a reality show about designers, an old-fashioned one, I might say. Just imagine a group of fashion designers competing for the title of the best tailor or cutter. That hardly matches reality, does it? Obviously, I wanted to promote myself participating in ‘Podium’. It was 2018, I already graduated from the university and was planning to settle down in Moscow. The project just quickened the move and made a great ad campaign to my T-shirts collection (which I, actually, foresaw). 

PH: Today many young creatives face the issue of self-positioning. In the modern world it seems ok to promote oneself on every corner. However, sometimes that can prevent the person from striving for quality of the product. How do you figure out this problem? 

R.U: I just realize the brand’s DNA. It absolutely coincides with my DNA as a designer. Roma Uvarov Design is all about the taste, it’s really subjective. Thus, the promotion of myself and my brand are twin interdependent processes. I am personally engaged in PR support and other tasks. I don’t find it right to devote all the time to creativity — one also needs to market and establish the working process. All in all, my job is very important and reasonable, I would hardly call it creative. But one thing for sure, I purely enjoy it. 

By the way, I’m a big fan of restrictions. To my mind, a free person is the one who establishes some frameworks and lives with them. Otherwise, I just mess around clutching at everything (If only I could do all those things perfectly). I also don’t enjoy having free time, it discourages me. 

PH: Back to your collections. One could call you an upcycle-designer: you take some long-forgotten things and use them as decorative elements in the outfits. Is it just a creative approach or you follow here an eco-friendly mission? 

R.U: It’s a kind of inner impulse. I want to recycle the old material to give it a second life. About 80% of my first collection was manufactured under the upcycling principle. I have always been into upcycling, but in the beginning of the pandemic I felt the relevance of that issue anew. 

The question that I faced at the time was what to do with the winter collection that I couldn’t fully present. So we together with the NOB agency (editor’s note: Roma Uvarov Design is presented by the Moscow-based fashion bureau and showroom NOB agency) decided to collect all the unused materials to integrate them into the new out-of-season collection. There were so many things that we feared not to be able to cover them all. However, we managed to do that. Nothing had been thrown away, the upcycling policy was also applied to the production of accessories. 

PH: Minimalism is all the rage. People try to get rid of the extra items and obsessions. Collections by Roma Uvarov Design don’t really fit into this philosophy, right? 

R.U: To begin with, Roma Uvarov Design is not about following fashion trends. Surely, we elaborate our collections in compliance with some principles that we share such as calm, rationality, body consciousness. However, I don’t think that minimalism is so trendy. Folks have always liked standing out of the crowd. Thus, in the nearest future it might be appropriate to talk about austerity blended with a grain of personal approach. 

How do you define ‘success’?  

R.U: Well, it’s tricky. On the one hand, success is about stability with everyone doing one’s own thing, enjoying it and charging for it, of course. On the other hand, I, personally, feel successful when facing some unexpected projects, stepping out of my comfort zone. The latter is even a better fit for me. Unfortunately, the industry of fashion in Russia doesn’t develop that quickly. Sometimes I feel like my job doesn’t fulfill me, everything goes so regular. Yet under stress I feel a lot happier. Say, success is an emotion. Every team should have it, because it unites and enriches all of us. 

PH: And final question, how has the pandemic affected your creative process in terms of goal setting? 

R.U: I find the COVID-19 pandemic a very interesting time with no bindings existing. No doubt, there are still some unwritten canons for designers: e.g. one should launch new campaigns. But at the same time one is free to work at their own pace and on their terms. It feels like life has been put on pause. 

I had the same thing. In early spring 2020 I went home to the sunny Adygeya. In fact, I didn’t have to work, so I spent my time reflecting. As a result, I started accepting myself. Before that I used to be afraid of calling myself a romantic (that I obviously was). I thought it went against the grain of my public image. I used a pretentious look as a protection means against the world around me. Today I have every confidence that clothes should play up a personality, and not vice versa. I have also reviewed the history of my family. It’s the new genuine Roma Uvarov standing before you now with fresh green blood running through his veins.

All photographs provided and owned by Roma Uvarov Design