Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I am originally from Providence, Rhode Island, but currently live in lovely Cambridge, MA. My family came to the United States from Belarus in 1989, and I was born right away. They have struggled a lot over the years, and the sacrifices that they have made in order for me to succeed and make art are incredibly inspirational to me. Most of what I do is in honor of my grandparents, whom I have never met, that still live in Belarus.
What else do you do besides make art?
When I'm not doodling, collaging weird faces together, or sewing through paper, I'm most likely working at my full-time job at a startup in Boston or studying for school. I haven't finished my undergrad degree yet, but I hope to finally do so in the art therapy program at Lesley University. Eventually, I plan on getting a master's degree in community art education, and starting my own studio space for local youth and artists in the community.
Sometimes I also have pancake and wine nights with my friends, read comics, or shake it at Zuzu's Soulelujah. I'm also really passionate about cooking. There's something about making a fancy meal that gives me the same sense of fulfillment as finishing a piece of artwork.
Tell us about this series and its personal significance.
This past year has been a whirlwind -- I experienced a lot of struggle and loss in my life, but was able to remain assertive and determined to bounce back. With the help of my family, friends, and creative practice, I've found the strength to create a balance between supporting myself and doing whatever I can to achieve my future goals. This series of work actually started early last summer, right when I began to rebuild again. The themes of my work usually revolve around the ideas personal growth, moving forward, and building self-confidence. For me, creating this series helped me realize those themes in my own life again. I was able to rebuild a lot of personal strength, and I hope that sense of positivity reflects in the work. I also did a lot of playing around with Russian folk art and Byzantine icon painting elements.
When are you most creative?
I try to make work everyday, but that often makes me feel like I'm forcing myself to be creative. When I feel the need to create, get inspired by something, or just have an idea that has been nudging me for a long time, that's when I sit down and let it all simply unfold. This process is unplanned, which allows me to fully invest myself into what I make. Sometimes these pieces are deeply personal, and I've been thinking of how other mediums might better communicate these ideas and feelings (performance and animation, for example). If I'm not creating artwork, I find myself to be "creative" and in-tune with my thoughts and self in other ways, such as yoga and cooking.
What are your hopes for 2013?
2012 was honestly one hell of a year. I lost touch with a lot of my goals and self, so in 2013...I hope to be more patient with myself and peers. I plan on being more physically healthy and mindful of what I really want for myself. It's a brand new beginning, and I'm extremely grateful for what I have. :)