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Interview with Kristina Okan

By /ART/, /INTERVIEW

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I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with Kristina Okan

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
I am a visual artist, originally from Russia but currently live and work in Berlin.

I graduated from Moscow Stroganov Art Academy with major in Ceramic Art. After  studying for 6 years, I felt creatively lost, because Russian artistic high education is very separated from the real situation in the contemporary art world. So, I decided that the best idea would be for me to move abroad and to start the next chapter of life in a new place where I have never been before, thus I moved to Warsaw, and then – Berlin. Now I am a full time artist, exhibiting and working locally and internationally.

What set you off as an artist?
I never saw other options for me in life to be honest. All my life I practice and study art. Nothing excites me more than when I express myself as an artist. I guess, it is my nature. Even though I tried to run my own art space project, to be an art manager in the gallery and to be an art teacher – I always feel that I am out of my element and I waste my time when I do something different from artworks.

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work
All my works derive from my fantasies about natural and organic beauty. I think that so much visual beauty and power is concentrated in simple, trivial objects such as apples, lemons, etc., that we get used not to notice, though they are always in front of us. Also, digging deeper into the topic of still lifes I was fascinated by how much meaning and symbolism fruits and vegetables carried in the past, in the Renaissance epoch, for example.

In my works, I often look for a balance between abstract forms and real natural objects. As I said before, I am highly attracted by pieces created by nature, and I play around with this existing beauty in my own way, creating my imaginary shapes – little biomorphic monuments. I also like the visual effect of repetitive forms and patterns, that is why all my works are made of repeated elements. For me is very important to leave a room for interpretation of my objects to the viewers, to give a chance to find their own meanings.

Is there something you couldn’t live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?
My studio is where my table is. It is the basic and the most sacred object for me in my studio. Not sure it can be considered as a tool actually, but it is the most essential element for me for sure.

Tell us how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work
Working with porcelain implies a very high level of discipline and self organization. If there is a tiny bit of rush – everything goes wrong. That is why I always prepare myself mentally in advance for the new series of works and organize my schedule the way that nothing will disturb me and I will devote 100 % of my attention to work. It is like a retreat or meditation.

With watercolor works on paper is almost the same. Since all my graphic works are meticulously detailed, it takes also a lot of concentration. Sometimes, I am so much into work that after hours of drawing, I look at the work and think: oh, wow,  did I really do it myself? Because at some point, I have a feeling that the work guided my hand without my direct participation. I think these works are my favorite ones!

Professionally, what is your goal?
My goal is to reach a broader audience and to get more visibility on international art fairs and competitions. And to have my works in David Zwirner`s collection, of course.

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?
I was working for a quite long time on my solo exhibition  MY SECRET GARDEN, but unfortuntely it was postponed and then finally cancelled due to current situation. Now I am very glad to announce that this show is finally going to happen in Haze Gallery and I am mostly focuced on its preparation. Besides this, I am working on a number of applications for ceramic biennales and art awards.

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Interview with Victoria Rosenman

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /INTERVIEW

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I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h

Interview with Victoria Rosenman

1.Victoria, you have an art education and you planned to devote yourself to painting. What was the key moment to choosing photography as your medium?

There were exactly two key moments that led me to photography:
My familiarity with graphics and painting and unfortunately also my subjective or false perception of artistic value. In the first year of study, I felt very privileged when it came to painting techniques, because I was convinced that my years of experience as a child in a Russian painting school full of discipline and all conventions proved my skill and that I was able to do something better than other people. I demonstrated lifelike illustrations on paper or canvas, but they were without content. This demonstration of the inauthentic, technical ability resulted in my first strong artistic block.
At that time my professor recommended that I write down all my suffering and other emotional states, so that as semester papers and at exhibitions I presented all the texts and formulas that came from within. The reaction of the audience was rather neutral, which made me very outraged and sad. Nobody wanted to read subjective pseudophilosophical texts by an art student. So I decided on stronger visualisation so that outsiders can better engage with my thoughts and concepts. So I started to reproduce the content of what was written in the form of photography: texts became images.

Another reason why I chose  photography and why I also continue the project „From the destruction of a muse“ (the upcoming exhibition „Don’t kill me“ is another component of the project) , are interpersonal relationships that inspire and frighten me, which I ultimately “preserve” as an eternal requiem in various forms of representation.
I started documenting an extraordinary relationship. I wanted to capture the personality of a person because this presence and aura in a good sense nourished and moved me. For me, this person was a muse – a source of inspiration. I later found out that certain characteristics and polarities of a human personality are very appealing to me and I want to „hold onto“ more of the psyche of everyone. Photography was able to clarify my visions and a certain stage of my relationships and trigger further, productive thought processes.

2.Your oevre is inspired by classical photography; light, shapes and color. What do you think is the starting point in your work?

I would not say that they are classic photographic representations. I mostly take pictures outdoors in daylight – I use almost no artificial light sources because I love painterly aesthetics and the transition or mixing of photos to and / or painting is very liberating. I don’t want to commit myself to a specific medium, the photos I take are part of the whole. Texts, installations and, of course, the “muses” are part of the whole. Often at my openings people are exhibited in front of their photographic images, which I call my muses. So I offer the viewer to compare the „living“, „breathing“ reality with my perception. Speaking of comparisons: if we come back to the original question: the classic view of my photos is explained or visible to the extent that, of course, I do not like depth of field or photograph everything sharply and light / shadow plays often achieve painterly effects that are reminiscent of old master paintings.

3.Choosing a Muse is the main part of the process for your works. Tell us about how you choose them?

I watch a lot, but I’m not looking for people who should become my muses. People who work with me on the project, despite their openness, radiate a lot of discrepancy and are not afraid to show their vulnerability. To recognise such a character, of course, I also have to spend some time with this person. The revelation of the inner polarities of a muse is the origin and beginning of my artistic work. The photographic illustration or texts are only final results or memorabilia, a valuable process that documents an interpersonal relationship – a devotion between artist and muse, an interplay of power and dependency, guilt and innocence – a mutual challenge. I also write about this in my manifestos, which I have now published in the form of an art book (the book can be purchased at the opening of „don’t kill me“)
Of course, a discrepancy between the outside and inside of a person is always very exciting and a certain appearance often leads us to get to know the personality of the person better. In the end, mutual trust counts and good friendships have developed from many processes.

4.Your manifesto speaks of a certain “seismographic perception of a person”, please explain what exactly this means and how it is displayed in your works.

My “muses” should be able to show themselves to be as vulnerable as possible. Of course, this requires a lot of preparatory work, a process that I call very valuable. In the process, we build trust, open up, deliver each other. You go through different phases together, which are sometimes attractive, sometimes painful. Later, a clear psychogram of a personality emerges – in the case for me: a photographic image of the „current“ muse. This means that a „seismographic“ approach means a meticulous recording or demonstration of the characteristics of a muse.

5.The starting points in your work are eternal human conflicts; power and dependence, destruction and creation. What exactly do you project in your works? Process or decision

The process is supposed to satisfy me in the first place and when it happens, I automatically trigger new thoughts and thus also offer solutions. Whether these solutions can be applied to other individuals is less important to me. It is enough if questions arise. „Mark“ questions people – I like this idea.

6.Describe what beauty means to you in a nutshell.

I think there are many types of beauty and their intensities increase or decrease in different contexts. For this I reveal my first, self-invented formula, which I presented on a DinA4 sheet of paper in my first year of graduation:
Degradation / effect = value.

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Q&A WITH DIELLA VALLA

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@purplehazebunny

Q&A WITH DIELLA VALLA

1. When did you realise you wanted to become an artist?

As my parents tell me, I started drawing little sketches when I was about 3 years old, but I began painting and illustrating fashion illustrations when I was about 9 years old. I always loved painting and was interested in my grandpa’s and my dad’s artworks, as they are painters as well. I was   ready to analyze the little details of their works by that time. When illustrating I was and still am fascinated from natural silhouettes, poses and famous painters’ work which also became a became as a big inspiration to me.

2. Which artists would you cite as your influences?

There are many painters and many illustrators who’s work has had a big impact and influence on me. My favorite painter is Gustav Klimt while my favorite illustrator is Rene Gruau. When I see Klimt’s painting seems like I’m in another world. His paintings have deep meaning – beautiful tones, dots, shapes, moves and on top of this all, golden color. That means everything to me and to many other people in the world as it is one of the most inspirational artists. Every painting of him fascinates me! His amazing work shaped in many styles such as pointillism has influenced me into exploring other styles such as pointillism. That is the main reason why many of my paintings are done in pointillism style. On the other hand, Rene Gruau,  as an amazing and unforgettable illustrator pushed me into turning my little sketches into real illustrations. I’m in love with his silhouettes and accents in his painting and I think that his painting style had a big effect into many artists’ work today including the motives he has lead to all of the other fashion designers to achieve their dreams.

3. Do you have a specific technique?

I have worked in many techniques and I can’t really specific any of it, because it is usually combined techniques that I use in my artworks. I often use watercolor for illustrating, but acrylic, oil colors or tempera for painting. It doesn’t usually cause any problem in which technique I am working with, it’s always about the motive I have.

4. What artwork/project are you most proud of and why?

I have done many artworks, illustrations, sketches and paintings as you can also follow me on social medias and you can be informed for every piece of it, because I am ready to share with everyone my work at any time. I can’t really specific any of my paintings cause in all of them it’s a little piece of spirit I have given to make it. It takes a while to think and decide which one I would choose. As my painting touch many topics such as feminism, I would like to mention my realism painting “The African Girl”. In this painting I have tried to express all my feelings for feminism and empower women for protecting their rights.

5. Finally, in the time of COViD – 19 what is the main message you want to share? 

I know that everyone has had difficult times and it’s a lot that’s going on lately with covid 19.Many people getting sick, many countries having difficulties in many spheres ,but I think that everyone should be safe in these times, take care of their health and be productive as much as they can.

For all the artists in the world I think it’s time that their motivation needs to be shown in their paintings. Get your papers, colors and canvas and get in to action! Your work may be a big inspiration for other people and may give them motivation  in these times to start something new, to look into new activities, into discovering new talents. Also, try to  read, paint, check out new tutorials, learn something new, do something you didn’t have the time to! Give the message to everyone that creative  work matters, show them your art and the pain for all the pandemic times we are having.