A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via Flickr about an interview by Anastasya Bolshakova, who runs the Russian art site "My Moleskine". Today the interview was posted, and I let Anastasya choose any images of mine she thought went well with the words. She does an excellent and thorough job at the site, which I can appreciate, after interviewing artists about their work on a monthly basis for a couple of years myself. It's not an easy process, believe me. Below I decided to post the English translation for your reading pleasure. Also, plenty of Splotch Monsters were selected for the interview. A big thanks goes out to Anastasya and My Moleskine for taking the time to do this! In the meantime, stay tuned for some new tea/coffee hybrid monsters up here soon.
Q: When did you start using a Moleskine? What Moleskine is most convenient to draw in?
A: I began using Moleskine sketchbooks about four years ago, when I began drawing again on a regular basis. My favorite are the watercolor Moleskines, any size, because they're durable and you can use all kinds of media in them, without causing any damage.
Q: Now, you - the recognized, well-known artist. Has this changed something in you?
A: First off, thanks! I'm glad you think so, and though I'm not by any means famous, it makes me very happy when people appreciate my art work. I think anytime someone reacts in a positive way to my work, it shows they believe in me, and as a result, I want to improve and get my stuff out there some more.
Q: Who do you teach and what does teaching mean to you?
A: I teach art to kids from age five-to -twelve for ten months of the year, then for a couple of weeks in the summer, to teenagers. Teaching means a lot to me, because I want to teach young people to have the ability to think creatively and think for themselves. There are so many forces out there that are trying to do just the opposite, so in a sense, I feel like it's somewhat of a mission I'm on. Also, if I make a kid happy and help them find something inside that makes them proud of themselves, then I'm doing something right.
Q: Do you participate in any art exhibitions?
A: I've been making more of an effort to get my art in shows these past couple of years, both locally and on an international level. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn't, and while it can be tough at first to get rid of your work, there's nothing quite like the feeling of having someone purchase your art. The places and spaces my art is being shown in lately is pretty diverse and interesting.
Q: Do you have experience illustrating children's books and would you like to try?
A: I don't, but I certainly would like to. I've been knocking some ideas around in my head lately for some books, but have yet to make a real, concerted effort in formulating a concise idea and contacting some publishers. Speaking of, I just got some extremely good news from a publisher in London, who will be using some of my artwork in a hugely popular book series, which I'm psyched out of my mind about. For now though, I'm keeping it mostly top secret, and only a few people know about it. I will say the book is due to drop Halloween, 2012. ;)
Q: Describe your life in a few sentences.
A: I listen to a lot of music and think of life being similar to that of a constant, underlying rhythm, with layers of beats and different polyrhythms coming and going. While there is a constant, there are also changes taking place in time. The goal is to keep it rich and somewhat interesting.
Q: Who or what influenced you in your vision as an artist?
A: I think my first visit to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, while on a field trip in high school, completely blew open the doors for me, as far as what my perception of what art was at the time. Seeing all of this amazing, modern and postmodern work in person at the time, merged with the music I began listening to as well back then, opened up a whole new, far more interesting world for me.
Q: What do you think of that Time Magazine named «Abstract protester» man of the year?
A: You know, I didn't get a chance to read that article yet and the work on the cover looked a lot like that of Shepard Fairey's. As far as the protester, I think it's perfect. I think there is a definite shift going on right now in the world, and the people are finally beginning to wake from their zombie-like slumbers and fight back. There are still those who are content to be controlled, manipulated and fooled, mostly out of fear and as a result of brainwashing, but it's changing. Their oppressors and the wrongdoers of the world are losing their grip and are going down, one by one. Theocrats, dictators and ruthlessly greedy, narcissistic twits won't go down without a fight however, and it's very unfortunate that violence sometimes has to pave the road to independence. There will be turbulent times and I can only hope to live long enough to see the day when people respect each other on a mass level and finally begin to live each day connecting with their higher selves, rather than indulging in the very opposite. If such were the case, we wouldn't have greed and hatred and the need for protesters. I refuse to believe that this is being too idealistic.
Q: Are you attracted to the field of art that is video art?
A: Absolutely! I'm a child of the eighties, when MTV played music videos of all kinds. So, I actively keep a close eye out for good videos to go along with some of my favorite music, and it's incredible what folks are doing. I've got a friend who also works at some galleries in Pittsburgh, where they do all types of awesome, big conceptual sound and video art shows, featuring work from around the world. So I'm always seeing what's new in the world of video art. While I really don't make that kind of stuff myself, yet at least, I really love most of it.
Q: What things do you need to live in harmony with yourself?
A: Love first and foremost. Hearing good music. And last but not least, making art that is true to me.