Thursday, July 15, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Zhanna Kan

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Zhanna's painting "Chickadee" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

What did you want to be growing up?

I dreamed to become an artist since my early childhood. One day we were visited by a familiar artist. When he saw my artwork, he exclaimed “she should study to be an artist”. So his remark settled in my head. I associated artists with people wearing berets and with a sketchbook over their shoulder, who only draw outside. For some reason I thought that artists painted only landscapes.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I began drawing quite early, according to my mother's words, before I began to speak. I spent my childhood in a village, in my grandparents’ house. Therefore, since childhood, I was surrounded by beautiful nature, fields, rivers, pets. I had my own workshop – a drawing table, pencils, watercolors. I drew trees, forests, animals, people, various objects and I also created illustrated stories.

After school graduation, I entered an Art College, where I studied for 4 years as an artist-designer.

(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I had a rather long break in my creativity. After graduating from college, I was interested in studying Korean language and then worked in the commercial sphere. Then there was my marriage, my family, my daughter’s upbringing in a musical environment. Thanks to her, I discovered classical music in a new way. Music turned out to be no less interesting than fine art. Attendance at concerts, competitions, trips to master classes, all this greatly captivated me.

Later my daughter went to study to Europe, and apparently this moment made me decide to go back to my vocation. True, then I was just planning to return to creativity, but I did not know in what technique. Before doing anything, I first studied and got prepared, so it took me almost two years to go back to painting. And the last impetus was a visit to an exhibition of contemporary artists. After the exhibition, I bought materials for painting and gradually began to paint. 

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal to you?

I like both watercolor and oil techniques. It seems to me that in oil technique is easier to paint in various styles, such as realism, and impressionism, etc. As for the watercolor technique, it has always attracted me. But the watercolor technique is much more difficult and professional watercolors always have the plan what to do step by step. Water colorists remind me of chess players. After all, all the steps must be planned in advance. In oil painting, I usually begin to paint from colored spots and then move on to detail without step by step plan. The most important thing is to see the finished painting in my imagination.

In my youth I loved to paint seascapes, landscapes, but now I prefer to draw birds, animals and still life painting more. But I am at the beginning of my journey, so maybe I will return to landscapes.

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What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

It seems to me that I have not yet formed my personal style. Most likely there are personal preferences and certain skills that you follow. Even while studying at college I was impressed with impressionism. After all, impressionism means the first impression. Therefore, I prefer quick drawing. It seems to me that quick painting most accurately conveys the nature and properties of the subject. Therefore, when I was studying, it was difficult for me to paint a portrait for 50-100 hours, as it should be in academic teaching.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

I love mainly French impressionists, these are Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro. And Russian impressionists Konstantin Korovin. I also love the work of Toulouse Lautrec, although his work already relates more to Post-Impressionism. As I said above, I like impressionism because this style most clearly shows the character, there is usually a lot of air, light, freshness and life in the artworks.

Grey Tabby Kitten
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

I would advise only - don’t be afraid and do it. If you feel gaps in knowledge, then just study this point in more detail. In addition, visit exhibitions, see the artworks of other artists, this will broaden your horizons. And of course more practice, the more you devote your time to what you love, the better you get.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

The good planned daily schedule helps me. Every day I devote the first half of the day to painting. In addition, of course, I have to earn money to live and it also plays an important role.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

As for painting if I begin to feel self-doubt, then I just tell myself to stop. The most important thing is to stop on time. Then I just start painting another picture. In other cases - the rest, walking in the fresh air, changing activities helps me very well.

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What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

For short-term goals, I would like to increase the categories and sizes of paintings. As for a long-term goal is it would be great to have own workshop studio and the opportunity to earn enough to live by selling my art.

What does success mean to you personally?

When I decided to return to creativity, I made a plan for each day to achieve my goal. Every day I painted and marked the date of creation on each painting to see my progress. Therefore, it was a success for me to return to creativity and then to begin to sell my paintings.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

My first paintings that I posted on Instagram. The first positive reviews were my pride, now the feedback from buyers.

(click to view)

Thanks, Zhanna!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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