Early on Katerina Belkina knew about her exceptional talent to see the world through a different perspective. Born in Samara, the southeast of European Russia, she was brought up in an creative atmosphere by her mother, a visual artist. Her education as painter at the Art Academy and from 2000 at the school for Photography of Michael Musorin in Samara gave her the tools to visualize her ideas. We sat down with Katerina to talk about her current projects, inspiration, and the start of her artistic career.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I am from a creative family and was surrounded by art and all that goes with it. Well, I was destined to become an artist. All my imagination, addiction to live in my own fantasy world, it was necessary to apply somewhere. I didn't do anything so special, I just was going with the flow, not being deliberate with my life, my choices. But I always had an uncontrollable curiosity and huge deposits of creative energy.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by? Are you inspired in your creation by historical / famous Russian artists?
Mostly my childhood books were art catalogs and art history books. My mother was oil painting in that period. So a passion for classical art I got from reading about it and watching painting process. My choice of the inspiring artists was determined by long-standing affection for their creations. This is an impressive list of names and directions that inspired me in my beginning and still now. If we talk about my inspirations and characteristics of artists, it will be mainly from cinema, literature and performance. When we talk about Russian art inspiration, I think social realism has somehow gotten into me, but just as a form, without any ideology. For example Aleksandr Deyneka and his painting inspired me to create the Light and Heavy series.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
I'm a loner and used to my solitary ways in case of creation. To work with a team - that's a challenge for me.
Can you tell us about a project you're currently working on?
I am working on a series about the nature inside us. This challenging Spring 2020 experiment with isolating us from each other or in contrast, with each other in close contact showed what exactly we lacked particularly and what was affected in the first place.
When we are isolated in a limited space, then all our hidden problems, fears, fantasies begin to "bloom" around. Our desires begin to take a shape.
In my series I am showing daily life scenes in the home environment, where the blooming process starting from spring, penetrates our "home" and comes into our lives. It will be some graphic works where I try a new digital technic and some Video Installation.
What do you think you would you be doing if you weren't an artist?
I would be an actor, dancer, film director or book writer. It can be everything creative and interesting.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
Don't spend your energy and time to hate yourself and love others who don't need that. It's useless but the forces you need always. All your energy and time is spent creating.
Open your eyes and look around, collecting those moments that are so bright and so beautiful, even little details and some nice seconds. This all you can use then for you powerful and weaker moments, for a moment when you create. That's your baggage.
Don't be afraid to give to this world more (be sure you have this) and don't be shy to ask. Actually, don't be shy at all!
You are born in Samara but live and work in Berlin: are you missing your hometown?
I left my hometown so long time ago - after I was living 10 years in Moscow. Even though I miss Moscow, the city where I was born and grew up already doesn't exist. Geographically - yes, but that city which I remember - not and that's very good. But in truth, there was not so much to miss - it was very hard time for a young girl (latest soviet period and 90s).
Did you leave for artistic reasons (market.studies)?
For any reason. The most important - there's a arduous place for the women and for an artist woman doubly. Unfortunately Russia is behind the time and I mean at first the government and next society because these two things are inseparable. Of course there is a lot of brave people who are fighting to create something better, better life, better future for themself and for their kids, but I'm not so brave.
Could you tell me more about your technique?
I was always drawing and making photos, one day I got a digital camera, tried to combine and liked the result so much. As a child I liked to draw, but later something new has been added - an interest in everything new: technology, discoveries, experiments led me to that kind of mixed media the one how I work.
I take color and create air as an element of space like in painting. Following my art instincts I came to a «painterly» style.
The real photograph was always too much real for me and just drawing was too conservative. I got that I could construct from this moment my own worlds!
You won the Kandinsky Prize; can you tell us more about it: did it change something in your career for example?
Yes, it was changed a lot. From this moment it's become absolutely clear that I want to go this way of modern art and only this. Also I met my first serios gallery in Europe. All million thing that were in my mind living independent from each other came to one main concept.