Thursday, September 4, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elena Lunetskaya

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Elena's painting, "Rainy City" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been drawing since childhood. When I was three years old, I wanted to write a letter to my grandmother. I did not know how to write, and decided to draw it. I drew a story, painted with gouache, then found an envelope, took my mother's sewing kit and began to sew. As I didn't know how to end the stitch, when the thread ended, the needle remained hanging outside. As a result, on the letter hung about fifteen needles. It was my first art object. My mom kept it in a box for a long time, and often pulled it out, scaring guests.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

There was a time, after the completion of training at the institute, I worked as a designer in an advertising agency, then as an illustrator in publishing. Then my son was born. Continuing a career in the office was difficult and I again took up painting.

Rainy City
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Elena's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I experimented a lot. When I was younger, I even drew comics and won a prize at the international competition. Quite a long time ago, I did decorative compositions in mixed media (and I still do this sometimes). Oil gives more options, nothing is better for painting that has been invented.

I also attended the Russian school of painting, a very conservative school. It is absolutely authoritarian. Our artistic education is offered through great schools, but no one teaches students how to creatively apply their skills. Usually, well-educated Russian artists do not have stylistic diversity. They are always wanting to do everything correctly, but can't explain why. Some understand it later, and someone - never.

My husband is an ethnic Georgian who studied in Batumi, Georgia - a small Caucasian country with a strong identity. They teach very little of the classical school of thought, but there is a distinctive national artistic style. I can always recognize works by Georgian artists, they are difficult to miss. So now, we have each other to retrain. I gradually forget about what I was taught in St. Petersburg and my husband learns my northern style. Sometimes we work together.

Strawberry Fields
(click to see original image)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Comics have stuck. :). As for the rest - everything is up in the air, nothing can be sure. Maybe soon I will again work as a book illustrator. Everything is constantly changing. I think my author's style has not yet formed completely. I am slowly but surely forgetting what I was taught and teaching myself to live.

Who or what inspires you most?

Oddly, I love art from the early 20th century. I love the great mystics - Mikhail Vrubel, and Philip Malyavina. They both have a unique power (though perhaps blasphemous to compare them). And Pavel Filonov literally grows his paintings from animal or plant cells. They are scattered on atoms, separate worlds. When creating them, he does not think about anybody - just about collecting his painting, like legos, listing everything that comes to mind, collecting the smallest particles. You watch them, you raise them in his head, watching them rise and wilt.

What else inspires me: I like to read a collection of essays by Alexander Jakimowicz "Magic Universe" - inspired works of art as a struggle against the absurdity in our worlds. And, of course, Jorge Luis Borges. Wise man, who established the guidelines of the infinite chaos of modern culture.

And anything can inspire. In my youth I was familiar with an artist (he was quite successful, some of his works were purchased by a Russian museum). I came to him once as he was hanging on the wall a blank white canvas. And on it - an orange spot. He says to me, "I cannot tear myself away - what a beautiful orange spot. For a week I look at it, there's nothing more I can do. Why should I paint now, if I can't make anything more beautiful than this orange spot? I just sit on and look, I need nothing more. "And then he sold the apartment and went to Donetsk. To this day, I still remember it.

Pink Orchids
(click to see original image)

No matter what the source of inspiration is, the most important this is, ultimately, productivity: to not to get stuck and not go crazy. My small personal nightmare is to lose myself in the orange spot and never be able to create again.

Only you can inspire yourself. You wake up in the morning - there you are, and that's a reason for inspiration. This is something that can not be changed. Previously, the artist has been an integral part of their environment. He went somewhere and talked with colleagues and critics. Now, there you are online, you can see everything at once, and no one can digest all of that information. Now, I'm in Russia, St. Petersburg and am writing you this interview. Someone from Australia will see my pictures. Here you have the Library of Babel, and Borges would never have dreamt of this.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination - no such thing. But a week doing nothing - it's scary. Idleness breeds demons. Scariest is not procrastination itself, but that it creates apathy and laziness, and then is replaced with a fatal belief in the impossibility to change anything.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I teach painting classes as a profession - making time for art is not an issue.

Along the Coast
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I do not have constant ideas or have continuously experienced subjects. Although perhaps ideas come spontaneously - you can see something, then remember something. Daily work of life, travel on trains, types of villages and roads, all of it gives me ideas. It is probably not so much an idea, but a way to express a certain state. I love the story of Agatha Christie, who is asked where she takes subjects for her works. She replied, "I come up with them while washing dishes. When I wash the dishes, I always think about murder."

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

This is an interesting question. Ultimately, any creativity powered internal dissonance, it is also its consequence and cause. In fact, private madness is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Thank God, this is not about me. In fact, the variability of perception is a feature of any normal person.

The Dandelions
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Contemporary art and life in general, are both a deeply creative process. We choke, not only in the stifling of passions, but also in the information chaos. There is so much information and the brain is small. It's hard to remember, and even more difficult to organize and catch trends. One of my dreams is to cut off the excess, leaving only the essentials. I would like to know that my actions will have real meaning, and not just to me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I would like it if someone, upon getting one of my paintings, took a long look at it as my friend did on the orange spot. For a whole week they would do this - as a continuation of the absurd. And they would see what I see and feel. But this is impossible, and the glory of God. You can not change other people's worlds, imposing your own. Therefore, I would be happy if someone received one of my paintings and was just happy to have it. :) Just because it's cute and cool and it adorns the wall. I'm quite a logical and a nice lady with only the best wishes for all.

Thanks, Elena!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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