Hello Dear Julia Kuzina. Thank you for giving us the chance to Interview with you. Our first question is what’s your background?
Thanks for the interview. I’m happy to talk to you.
I paint my paintings with oil on canvas. I started my career in art 9 years ago. For 1 year I was searching for my style, I was painting flowers and celestial landscapes in a minimalist style. It was a tribute to the beauty of nature, but in surrealism I find more opportunities for self-expression.
In addition to painting, I can easily admire any handiwork. To create something with my hands makes me happier. I was fond of amigurumi, beading, macramé. I've loved the beads so much so they blended in with my work, and I made a series of paintings and beads attached to them.
I have been studied at a children’s art school and still remember it with warmth. This is one of the best times of my life. My higher education isn’t about art, I took a wrong turn at some point.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what drove you to choose art as a career?
I like to draw as long as I could remember. I was good at it. I made funny pictures about my friends, I drew cartoons of teachers at school, I drew posters, I drew creative works for myself and for my friends. To my shame, my textbooks and notebooks were always painted. I was one of the best in my class of art school. And I didn’t realize that I could choose art as a profession. I was just a girl who was good at drawing. I liked the challenges back then, I liked mathematics and economics, and drawing was easy for me. At that time, a lot of people were becoming lawyers and economists, and I got into economics, too.
When I came to university, I had a paper folder with me and I sketched people on the subway. In the dorm, I met some art students and I thought, "Wow, I could have done that, why haven’t I thought about it before".
In the building where I studied was the faculty of art upstairs, sometimes I went up there and enjoy the familiar smell of paint. I was still attracted to art.
After the university, I worked in a bank and an office and did not draw. One day I went to a master class in oil painting. It was terrible, I didn’t learn anything there, but I realized that painting is what I want to do. Life still led me to where it all began. Just my path was not straight, but with a huge loop.
I am self-taught in oil painting.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist?
In the morning I am not very active, so I start my day with a routine computer job. Check open calls, update website and portfolio. I start painting after lunch. There are periods between big oil paintings when I don’t paint anything, just draw sketches.
We want to know the origins of ‘imaginary realism’, which is the main theme in your works. Can you tell us more about why you choose this theme for your main theme?
The origin is an attempt to capture visual images that respond to strong emotions. I was going through a difficult time and I could share my experiences with art.
The subjects of earlier works are darker so its flat primitive style is intended to isolate the viewer from their pain. With changing the direction from the fragility of humans to the vulnerability of nature, the painting style is transformed to more realistic.
I feel a connection to nature and it manifests itself in my paintings as new beings. The images alternate to form a fragile peace between reality and sleep.
What do you believe it means to be an artist and how did you start with your art adventure?
To be an artist means to see the world from a different angle, to learn yourself and the world. To search, to explore. To look for beauty everywhere. Never lose the ability to wonder. To transform what surrounds us into visual images so that others can see the world as we see and feel it. To do something new. Create new worlds. When I paint I feel out of time and space. I feel like all artists at the same time.
I remember sketching for a painting that started a series of my works. So I just went back to drawing when I was an adult and didn’t know what was going on in the art world. I was sitting in the park with an album and I was drawing, and my kid was sleeping in a wheelchair. I had a super idea to draw a girl with a fish and I was looking for a proportion of her face that didn’t make clear was she an adult or a child, beautiful or terrible. I was so passionate that I lost the keys to my apartment. It’s still a mystery to me because I’ve never lost valuable things before.
Later, as I immersed in the modern art world, I learned about pop surrelism, magical realism, lowbrow, met the work of many artists working in a similar genre and even saw several paintings where the girl holds fish, created around the same time.
What are the biggest challenges artists face and how did you overcome them?
For me, the biggest challenge is words. I find it difficult to describe my feelings and thoughts with words. I have a figurative thinking. I know it’s not uncommon for artists. But words are needed for public speaking, to describe your work. Most of the time, I can’t describe or even title my painting in the process. It comes later when I begin to analyze what I was feeling, what I was thinking about and what was happening when I started it.
I wish I could write beautiful stories to my paintings, maybe write and illustrate a book, but it’s more a fantasy. I hope the ability to express my thoughts with words comes with experience, I try.
What are some of your favorite sources of inspiration?
Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Nature is a perfect creator. All its creations are perfect. Living beings are amazing and beautiful. The imagination of nature is inimitable.
I don’t wait for inspiration to come to me. Inspiration comes during work. I start drawing something (no matter what) and it comes.
How do you choose the subject of your painting and what is your creative process like?
At first the idea must appear. It’s rarely the whole painting usually small details. I sketch what came to my mind or write down notes when I don't have a sketchbook. I have a big note with ideas on my phone.
Anything can be an inspiration for me: my emotional experience, an injured finger, a cut tree, a sky, light and shadow, color, words. This is a fleeting emotional response transformed into a visual form. And this visual form may have nothing in common with the source of inspiration.
I see beauty in many things, especially in nature.
I often take the sketchbook don't knowing what I'm going to draw and ideas appear in the process of drawing. I look through my notes with ideas and my old sketchbooks to add details.
When I think that I found something great, I want to paint it ASAP, I even can’t sleep thinking how cool it is. It's like falling in love.
Then I took reference photos. I take pictures of myself, my ball-jointed doll, clay head, and other objects that I need for painting. One day, in order to draw a bird, I photographed a pear by inserting legs from a doll in it.
I’ve made a clay head of my character, it helps me a lot to put the right light and shadows on the face. After that, I make a detailed sketch of the future painting and transfer it to the canvas. There's a lot to do to create a painting.
When I paint the original idea may transform into something else. Painting takes on a life of its own. My paintings are multilayer. It takes me a month or more to finish a painting. But I usually paint several paintings at one time.
Can you talk about any other current or upcoming projects?
I’m going through a phase where all my current paintings are done and I feel something new is growing within me. I like this feeling. It’s like something great is about to happen.
So far I have plans to participate in several exhibitions and maybe to live in new places.
Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?
Sometimes the paintings begin to live their own life, not with the original meaning I gave them.
I say that paintings tell stories because in my imagination my paintings are dynamic, some-thing has happened before and is about to happen, and what remains on the canvas is like a frame taken out of the film.
The story they tell is different for everyone and I love it when people share them with me. Feel free to share them with me.
I hope people will be able to see the beauty in what many people think is ugly, prosaic, or in-conspicuous, to treat all living beings and nature more carefully because we all are connected.
Thank you for your time!