Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Featured Artists & Creators- June

  This feature interview highlights the work of phenomenal artist Katia Zhukova, and goes behind the scenes to discover her journey, process, and what moves her to create what she creates.

   Katia Zhukova describes herself as primarily a self-taught artist with a love of "color, movement, and abstraction." With her use of color and high-contrast, her work produces an energy that simply pulls in the viewer. Through the media of acrylic, graphite, charcoal, and colored pencil, her work conveys a drama that turns the canvas into a stage and invites the viewer to an experience that goes beneath the surface.

                                                                                                interview by:
                                                 millian glenn


 mg: So Katia, a little about yourself, where are you from and how  
        did your journey as an artist begin?


Katia: I was born and spent my childhood in Odessa, Ukraine.
          After living a short time in Europe, I came to Western New  
          York. I had always enjoyed drawing throughout my child
          hood and teenage years, however, I didn't start to take it
          seriously until the end of high-school, when I had to do a
          self-portrait for a required art class.
mg: How did where you're from influence you as an artist    
       growing up? Besides your innate abilities, who or what
       encouraged your creativity early on?
Katia: Not sure about that really… I started competitive figure
           skating at an early age in Odessa, so most of my time was
           spent with sport. I would draw once in a while, but I really
           didn't much think about it till high school. And even then, I
           really didn't take to it much, until I tried my first portrait.
           But once I did, I really couldn't stop :)
mg: The bulk of your work is figurative; what is it about the 
        human form that sparks you as an artist?
Katia: I've had this question posed to me many times before, and I've always struggled somewhat to explain it, but I recently saw a wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde that I think perfectly states what I've been trying to put into words: "Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter." And I think that for me, that is absolutely true. I think that in essence I am painting self portraits in the form of different people.

mg: The "dancer series" in your etsy shop features different types
of dance and movement; what is it about the performing arts that inspire you as a painter?

Katia: With my figure skating background, dance is a very natural inspiration for me, the movement and elegance of dance being very similar to skating. With my Dancer series, I wanted to take the person out of the dance, and focus instead on the pose itself, and on the movement and color, as opposed to the specific dancer herself.                   

mg: Are any of the vibrant characters depicted in your work inspired by real people, or did these images emerge from your imagination?

Katia: Usually, I’m inspired by something or someone I see. When I work with models for portraits, I just try different  poses, and then basically turn up the tension or drama in the image when I paint it. With my Dancer series, I looked for poses that appealed to me, and then took away the person, leaving the pose itself, and then added color, leaving the images almost the opposite of what I usually do; that is, focusing on  everything but the person.

mg: This is a two part question: "Damiana"( pictured at the top) is
        one of my favorite pieces. I love the drama conveyed, as well
        as the emotions lying beneath the surface. What moved you to
        paint this particular piece? What is your favorite piece, if any,
        and why?

Katia: "Damiana" is one on my most polarizing portraits. It’s very
           interesting the various reactions that I get from this
           particular painting. Some people absolutely love it, and it is
           one of my favorite portraits, but other people who see it
           seem to find it quite off-putting, and even vulgar. The
           reference I used for "Damiana" was a lovely picture, but it
           had a very different feel from the finished painting. It was
           very light, and almost ethereal. The finished painting
           became almost the opposite, much darker and somewhat
           gritty. I don’t have any one favorite painting, but there are
           some that feel closer to me than others. "Alexa" is one,
           "Damiana" another, and there are several that are newly
           finished, that I haven't shown yet, that would fit that


mg: Which one of your pieces, to date, have provoked the
greatest response?

Katia: Of the portrait series, I'd
probably say "Alexa". It was the first painting in my current portrait series, and somehow it really seems to appeal to a lot of people. I think the pose of the image really draws people in, and invites them to think of her story.

mg: Have you been able to visit any of the countries or cultures depicted in your work; if so, where have you visited, if not, where would you like to go?

Katia: I did spend some time in Italy, and Austria as a child, and
          of course Ukraine and Russia, but I definitely would like to
          go back to Europe at some point. I'm particularly drawn to
          European architecture and art, especially that of Spain and
          Italy, and would love to spend at least a little time there.

mg: So now, where can we find and purchase your work?

Katia: Directly at my website at: or at my Etsy shop:

mg: Going forward, what subject matter(s) can we expect to see you convey in your work in the near future?

Katia: I’m currently continuing my work on my portrait series. I have a few paintings done already, and a few more that I'm currently working on. I will be putting some of them up on my website and Etsy within the next few weeks.

Self-Portrait: "Door"






















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