Based in Georgia
What do you aim to say by the themes in your art?
Themes exist, and they don’t: in the sense that it doesn't matter what the theme of a piece is, what matters are the different perspectives of looking at them. Each theme is like a toy to play with, looking at it from various points of view. The main question for me is: what can I do with it? Use it as it is, or transform it into something else? And that’s when the fun part starts… I take themes as raw material, so that I can do whatever, I start looking at it as at a piece of clay and keep playing… I can take some parts from this toy, add others, I can make it look better or worse than it does, or I can throw it away and start over again. That is called freedom, and I give it to myself just as I aim to give it to the the spectator to perceive the suggested theme the way they choose. Even the titles for my artwork: I choose them in a kind of ambiguous way, most of the time I leave space for interpretation.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, the main thing is to keep an eye open for it. And to transform the special sparkle of inspiration sparkle into fire, it’s very important to be in a state of mind to notice and recognize it. The sparkle can be anything, sometimes quite unpredictable... a smell, a sound, a thought… wind has a lot to do with my inspiration, and pain sometimes transforms my paintings into pain-tings. And here I would like to use Nikolai Gogol’s quote, which I completely agree with: ‘Art is reconciliation with life’. That’s what makes art so powerful.
Do you have any experiences that have impacted your art?
Yes, of course. So many things have indeed… An artist is a conglomerate of the life they live. It is difficult to think about and list all of the experiences which have influenced my art. One thing I know for sure, is that it does not matter if it’s a serious experience or a little detail of your life, what really counts is the importance you give to it. The most continual experience I can think of is my interaction with the people around me. I am interested in people in general, I draw and paint personalities a lot, known or unknown, existing or fictional, but in spite of my interest in them, I need to be left alone in order to create - even the presence of my beloved dog makes me uncomfortable when I draw or paint. A small experience that impacted my art was finding my late father's ink pen, which became very important to me and gave me a splash of inspiration to create the whole series of works ‘Souls’. A very difficult experience was the death of my parents, which made me paint like crazy. Even when I knew my mother’s death was unavoidable, she was in the intensive care unit and I was not allowed there, I was painting…painting when I received a phone call from the hospital, informing me about my mother’s death. I also had the experience of having a long pause in my artistic life, being busy with establishing and managing my own experimental art studio, as well as being an art teacher there. When I started painting again, I realized that the pause was very productive for me as an artist, I didn't have a feeling of having lost time, it all came out of me like an avalanche, like fast motion, nothing was lost! And after having this hurricane for two years, I made a big solo exhibition, quite successful, in the Georgian History Museum. So, a lot of experiences had an impact on my art, more or less!
Do you feel your art challenges existing barriers?
I hope so, as one of my goals is to break stereotypes, or at least to transform them, or shuffle them around and build something different. It reminds me of mosaic pieces, which can be assembled differently, but the pieces are the same. Some things we can’t change, but we can look at them differently and we can also use them in our lives and art, and then see what happens.
What are your long-term artistic goals?
My first goal is to keep living in order to create. I really think the passion for art and the need to create drive me to stay alive in a lot of senses. I just want to keep creating and never stop! The rest comes by itself, like this interview, or any present or future exhibitions
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
I'm not crazy about giving advice in general, but if I need to, I would suggest to aspiring artists to create as much as they can or can’t, to experiment as much as possible and not to be afraid of spoiling their artworks, especially their favorite ones. I believe that there is no creation without destruction, and even destruction is often more constructive than creating your piece of art to the point where you like it, and then starting to be careful with it, in order not to spoil it. Don’t be afraid to spoil it, because that’s when you learn. It’s OK to make mistakes! That is the advice I am freely giving as an artist, as well as an art teacher.