April 2018 Artist Interview
Artem creates three-dimensional paintings from screws. He is an artist from Russia and was born in 1990. Artem professionally worked as a graphic designer almost 10 years. These art works speak to important aspects of life, such as love, freedom, humor. In his works he strives for realism with an interesting color transfer, hence the interest in the pixel style. Each colored screw-pixel-is a piece of the reality around us, that constitute real life as a piece of art and creativity. Sometimes it's bright and colored, sometimes black. The volume in the works is generated by the screws being screwed to different depths and the symmetrically aligned vertical hats. The paint is applied after the creation of the "iron" skeleton. Each work is an attempt to draw a parallel between life and its aspects, to learn something new or to revise current experiences.
At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become an artist? Did the realization emerge slowly?
I have always loved drawing, even when I was little I never parted with my sketch pad. Then, this interest became in creating animation and computer graphics. I was graphic designer for almost 13 years. I looked to local painters and portrait painters with envy, but where I used to live to be a painter is something bad and not very respectable, it means guaranteed not having any money nor a stable job. In some moment, my interest for the job of designer just disappeared, and the inspiration and joy gradually left me. But I didn’t know what to do, how to change the profession, that had always supported me. To leave it meant to starve and live in destitution from the next month. I started moving to other cities and countries, started to visit contemporary art exhibitions in quest of inspiration.
Besides, I didn’t see myself as a painter at that time. When I moved to Barcelona, under the influence of the artistic atmosphere, I suddenly couldn't keep creating exclusively with computers. I felt that I had gathered a lot of energy that could be used only to create an object with my hands, like a sculpture. I started looking for materials and a style that suited me.
I cannot say that I wasn’t a painter before, when I worked dealing with orders, drawing computer graphics. There were other needs and values. But this included a creative process like any other activity.
How did you evolve your style and favorite mediums?
Once I went to an exhibition of paintings made out of Rubik cubes. I liked that very much, and started looking for a material, with which I could cause a similar image effect. When I found it, the paintings were striking but flat, and I wanted to give them some volume, as I used to do with the computer. I saw on the Internet the possibility of making them with screws and nails to create images with volume. I even practiced how to use them both, and this process and the results cheered me up and they continue to do so until now. At this moment I am looking for other materials that I could add to the paintings.
What are your time management techniques? Do you have regular working hours...or favorite times to work?
When I feel I want to work and I can, I start to work. Fortunately, this happens almost every day. My work includes many different phases: from the sketches in the computer or the preparation of the wood for the work, to journeys to other cities for materials. Despite everything, I sleep, often it occurs at night. I saw and drill during the day, I draw in the morning or in the evening. In between I also sing.
Do you work on more than one piece at a time, or primarily just on one?
Usually I work on two paintings at the same time, again, so to vary the activity (sometimes it is hard to draw for 7 hours 5 days in a row, and I want at least to change what I am doing, to drill a little bit).
What would you say is your biggest influence -- that which keeps you working, regardless of all else, your most steadfast motivation?
I don’t need any motivation to continue living. When you live in the present, completely - is it really so important what you are doing? Creating anything in your life is an absolutely normal state of things. Every person has to choose what he can create. For me, it is art, for any other person it can be music or dance. For others, projects or new researches… the choice is very wide.
Does trying something new and not knowing the rules -- the boundary pushing -- create anxiety or excitement in you? (Or both?)
The limits are the most common trap of one’s mind. It whispers the price of the project if nothing changes or produces, it murmurs about the loss of your love, or attention, support and people’s understanding, the unbearable weight of a mistake. And, at the same time, the disproportionate pressure instilled, that is represented from the outside as depression, drunkenness and other negative expressions. They take out the joy of the creative process and the feeling of freedom. I work on dealing with my limits, something that I recommend to everyone.
Do you enjoy having the "duality of both chaos and control" or are you happiest with a set plan?
I try to not to be in conflict with the universe. As I see the question, harmony implies the absence of this kind of pressure. There is always a proportion of chaos and control, and I let them show up, there is no reason why I should control that.
Do you have any projects or events forthcoming?
Yes, I am working most of the time in new projects, I have lots of ideas and planned experiments. Exhibitions have been the biggest challenge for me: I took part in the last Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. Maybe I will send some of the paintings to Affordable Art Fair New York in the middle of March. I have been invited to many festivals and exhibitions, but for the moment it’s complicated for me to participate in all of them because of lack of funds.
Material - 6 783 screws, acrylic paintSize - 95 × 120 cm
Material - 2 500 screws, acrylicSize - 147 × 138 cm
Material - 1 575 screws, acrylicSize - 35.5 × 44.5 cm