Interview with Alena Smolina

March 30, 2021
Alena Smolina in her studio
Alena Smolina in her studio

Tell us how did you become an artist? I have been drawing since I was a child, so it did not take long for me to choose my profession.

How your art evolved through the years?

I studied glass and for a couple of years I had been making glass objects. After that I turned to graphics on paper with the technique that was based on the stained glass technique. Later I moved to canvas and added some colours. And then recently I started doing watercolors and collages, mixing techniques, with printing something on canvases and painting above all of it. After that I completely switched to watercolor and paper, this resulted in one large project “Word formula”. Now I continue to work with watercolors, while exploring new technics and materials in parallel.

I love to experiment, never want to stand still. I cant really imagine how an artist can devote her or his entire life let’s say, to “depicting forest”. And every new technique that I try opens something new in me. I believe, if you are an artist -  you can express yourself in different ways- this can be canvas or These are just instruments. For me the running theme for all of my project is “ What if”. What if there will be only one language, what if we will not depend on anything; what if the flowers wont die; what if memory will last forever, what if what if what if

How would you define your style now? If we are talking about the painting, I would call it figurative abstraction. In general, I do not stick to one style necessary, it depends on a particular project.

Where are you taking inspirations from? What helps you to focus on creation?

My inspiration can come from anywhere. Most of the time, I think about a color or a compositions that I see just by a chance on the street or even a tv show... some of the instant pictures that can have great impression on me majority of people would not pay attention to... Another great push can come from observing works from other artists – this is like an exchange of energies. After seeing a good exposition, I get a great amount of energy to create.

 What would you like audience to think when looking at your works?

I would want my works to immerse the viewer into another world, to provoke some memories or hidden or forgotten feelings.

Any particular artist that made a big impact on you?

I like contemporary in general, but if we are talking about real influence, this would be Amedeo Modigliani.  I was 9 years old and my mom gave me an album with his works. It was so different from other artist that I had seen before , that I was profoundly impressed. My world has changed...

 How was 2020 for you? Plans for 2021?

My 2020 failed on me because of some of some health issues, but there was also some good moments – for example I moved to a new studio. Plans for 2021 –  there will be my personal exhibition in Saint-Petersburg – already preparing!

Your watercolor series – “Word formula”-  could you tell us more about it.

These works are part of one, total installation about the search of one, universal language. Language that has the potential to change our reality. Through these complex and harsh images I am trying to tell about the beauty and humanity of people.

The project is about combining different medias: watercolours, textiles and video projections.  Here I offer my option of the dialectic belief in word. Constantly repeating video images is a search of new universal language, language that can reveal our hidden inner potential for change. On contrary to the perfectness of utopias, the “Word formula” is rather about an algorithm of search, which might be not complete and not perfect, but with this imperfection it is still much closer to the real world.

I started working on this project in 2019 as I wanted to get back to the watercolors. So I started to create it piece by piece starting from a color drop. Color is very important for me and I love complex everyday scenes – I search for them in my everyday life – taking pictures on mobile or search for them on internet. I get back to this project once in a while, when I see a suitable reference. It currently consists of roughly 80 works.

How do you feel when your works find new owners? When creating a new piece do you think sometimes about its future?

It is a great joy when the work is not just collecting the dust in the studio. This is really cool when the piece is finding its owner – in some way it is about exchange of energies. When I work on something new I actually do not think much about its future, otherwise I will not be able to finish it...

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am working on three projects in parallel. When I get too tired of one, I just switch to another one. All three of them are installations in different media. But I would rather talk about them a bit later...

What are you longterm ambitions?

I would love to have regular expositions in Europe and US. We will see...

About the author

Daria Lobyntseva

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