How did you get started doing what you do?
This decision did not come in a structured or carefully thought step in my life. It appeared spontaneously and I cannot even define its timing with precision. This transformation was not driven by my educational background either. With years of graduate studies ranging from a degree in biology to event planning, and after extended years of professional experience in different fields of occupation, I have gradually discovered my true calling and realized that painting is what I really want and love to do. In my case, I guess, it was reflective of a natural flow of events and my lived experiences.
How would you describe your creative style?
From the art professional’s perspective, I would characterize my creative style as continuous abstract variations which represent an amalgamation of various streams in the contemporary art. Depending on the substance of the selected theme, the natural phenomena or elements, the aesthetic approach and style vary from impressionism to abstract expressionism and further to surrealism. At the same time, to describe my artwork in simple terms to any of my great art lovers, those who are not confined within the boundaries of scientifically precise definitions, I would say that my paintings are the mirror of my internal world and emotional sphere, do not try to find there a rational element and just enjoy. All that I hope my paintings can do is to be able to trigger emotions, thoughts and a reaction – sometimes positive, sometimes not so much – among those who watch a painting. There shall not be indifference.
What’s your inspiration?
There are two inspirational factors that influence my artwork. First of all, it is music which constitutes an overwhelming and inseparable part of my creative process. Music is that powerful source of inspiration which induces the emotional background to free the imagination and to reach the point of abstractive expression at which I create. The second decisive aspect of my inspiration is Nature. My paintings include natural environments and objects, single elements of natural phenomena and geographical ambiance, panoramic view, and wildlife. I try to embrace and show the captivating power of colour of the landscapes and seascapes, light refractions in the texture of flowers, mysterious fluctuations of water and deviational patterns of the moving natural forms. The Nature is in the core of the most of my creations. It is however, not only a theme of my work but remarkably its driving force too.
What is art to you?
Art is the way of living, feeling and thinking to me. It is closely embedded into my life and cannot be disentangled. It is influenced by our lived experiences, as I mentioned, but the opposite is also true – it influences my perceptions of the world and surroundings as well. Creation, and more specifically creation through the abstract art, is the sublime freedom to express oneself. To be an artist means to me to gain that ultimate and sought-after freedom.
How do you keep motivated?
Self-motivation is the answer. I do not seek the primary source of motivation in external world. New ideas to explore, new concepts to experiment with – those are the key motivational factors. In the meantime, I do not want to diminish the role of accomplishments, awards and recognition: they are very important too. I am pleased and honored that many of my paintings participated and won various awards at various contests, competitions and open calls. I am a Featured Artist with Manhattan Arts International, a recipient of Artmajeur Gold Award 2014, First Place Winner in CAGO Abstracts and Finalist of prestigious art competitions Donkey Art Prize (Italy) and Lacey Contemporary Summer Art Prize (UK) in 2015. My works have been published in Volume IX of International Contemporary Artists. I actively exhibit in Canada and abroad. My artwork was and continues to be showcased in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, UK, Japan and the United States. All these achievements, being an award-winning and internationally recognized contemporary abstract artist mean a lot to me. They bring certain responsibilities but also serve as a strong motivational reflection on my continuous artistic endeavors.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
Different stages of the life, experiential intricacies, positive or negative events, advantageous or disadvantageous encounters, living environment and people that surround me – all that shapes and forms our mentality and emotional state of mind. I am fortunate to tell that my environment, my ambiance is very positive and encouraging which contributes to my work and allows me to enjoy the creation process in a fully imaginative way. This is especially important in the case when the artist is concentrated on abstractive work.
How have others reacted to your work?
The feedback is invaluable for artists. I read each and every review about my works and respect opinions and comments, including any critical, from the entire art community: art lovers, galleries and curators, collectors, my peer artists and many others. It is important and it is very stimulating to hear positive reviews about my paintings. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their interest in my artwork and tremendous support and encouragement they provide. This is also a part of inspiration required to succeed and create. I am thankful to all my collaborating partners such as galleries, curators and art agencies, as well as to many thousands of art lovers who are interested in my work and follow me on social media for their supportive presence and invaluable feedback.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
In a few words, that would be richness of color, height of imagination and freedom of thoughts. In more extended way, the overarching cultural concern and social message of my work is to demonstrate beauty and power of the nature. I define the nature as a cradle of humanity and intransigent essence of our lives. The nature is a value on its own which should be preserved and not compromised. Environmental context includes the harmony within the nature as well as in the human interaction with the nature. An independent stream of my so-called “utopia” abstract artwork embraces the realities of life and surrounding world through the lens of our aspirations towards freedom and perceptions of socially absurdist human interrelations.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Try to be yourself and express yourself as freely as possible. The process of creation should be driven by sensual and emotional sphere of the artist, the rationale element of it should be contained to the minimum possible to ensure absolute introversion and introspection, the artists cannot paint or draw preoccupied with externalities or having in mind what would the viewers think about his or her future work. It becomes irrelevant at that point because otherwise the painting stops being an artwork and transforms into a marketing tool. The focus should always be the same – the internal world of the artists.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Art school is an important formational phase for artistic development. At the same time, if we speak about educational or occupational background, my conviction is that art creation is not determined by those factors, they can be contributing but not determining one’s art direction or creativity levels, and therefore there is nothing unusual with the fact of self-taughtness because creating art is calling and not an occupation or skill.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I have very ambitious plans for the year ahead. I expect to exhibit in Toronto on a couple of occasions in the coming months. In the international art arena, I am invited to exhibit in a number of upcoming important art shows and exhibitions in Europe. With regards to my special projects, I will continue my collaboration with the renowned curator Renee Phillips in promoting artistic excellence through the Manhattan Arts International’s Featured Artist Program. I also work on further opportunities with the curatorial team of Google Open Gallery building on the tremendous success of the launched Chromecast that features my art works. Another important milestone is the launch of my recent art book publication “Gaya Artwork Collection: Stretching the Boundaries of Abstract.” This notable publication presents for the first time a comprehensive collection of my artwork. Comprising thirty-three paintings of my paintings created in the last few years, interesting information about the artist as well as my conceptual thoughts about art and creative process, the collection reflects the full breadth of my multi-faceted work. Mostly importantly, about the plans, I look forward to creating new artwork, exploring new concepts and striving for creativity.
What’s your dream project?
When I start thinking about each new artwork that I am going to create, it is like a dream project on its own. To quote van Gogh, “I dream my painting and then I paint my dream.” That’s true. From more practical perspective, I would contemplate as an enormously challenging and exciting project having organized a solo exhibition in one of the world’s art capitals. Another remarkable project would be to show a series of my artwork and represent my country in one of the upcoming significant art events, e.g. biennales. These are plans for future consideration.
What art supplies do you use?
My artwork is implemented in acrylic paints on stretched canvasses. I traditionally use the acrylic and they always provide desirable outcomes in terms of my aspirations for an adequate conveyance of my creative concepts and true depiction of the original artistic ideas. My techniques differ: I use brushes and palette knives among other tools. It depends on what each specific painting dictates, what tool should be used to ensure the strongest possible effect and to be in consistence with the overall intent and idea of the work.
What’s your process like?
How the art creation starts? Difficult to say… The idea of a painting may conceive first in my mind and then go through a long way of configuring and re-configuring it virtually for days. But is some cases, it can just suddenly pop up and appear in a distinct visualized way thus triggering immediate urge for me to start painting. The common thing in the both situations is that music plays a very important role in generating, conceptualizing and maturing the idea of painting. The materialization of the artistic idea into a concrete painting is also unconventional. A lot of efforts are made to truly depict the idea; you try this way then the other way… Then you look at your half-done painting and if something is not what you wanted or an element is falling out of the context, you should rework it, in some cases from scratch. We could say a method of trials and errors frequently takes place, but not always – some paintings are created in a glimpse of an unhindered continuum of action, with no single hue being changed or refined afterwards. As I said, it depends on the nature of each painting.
How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
Art industry is now in a phase of substantive and transformative change which happens once in a few centuries. In the age of technological innovation and dominant inter-connectivity with such powerful tools as internet and social media, the traditional means of exchange between artists, art buyers and art intermediaries recede and should adapt to the new realities of the digital era and fast growing internet art market in order to remain relevant. At the same time, the new technologies bring forward their own shortcomings such as enormous volumes of information to be processed and filtered. The role of art industry is to become effective in that and be able to identify the new emerging artists and artworks at earlier stages and serve their clients, i.e. art collectors and art investors, with enhanced predictive value.