L.I.ART #39 Summer 2014

Contemporary Art & Luxury Real Estate


Dimensions: 21 x 29.5 x 0.8 cm

Pages: 130

Katerina Belkina – Reflecting the reality and unreality at the same time

Katerina Belkina is one of the best modern Russian photographers and artists with a specific focus on art. She works in the digital photo medium. Katerina graduated from the Petrov-Vodkin Art College and Photography Academy in Samara. She is also a member of the Russian Union of photography artists.

What has been your path to art?
It is probably correct to say that it started with my family. My mother is an artist and it certainly must have influenced me some way. I have been drawing since I was two years old. Our house was like a big studio and all the games my parents played with me were somehow connected to drawing or different ways of fantasising. I was always surrounded by art books, paintings, conversations about art. Trips to the museums were an integral part of our lives. I have been very lucky, as thanks to my childhood I've always been inspired by grandeur and beauty, and had the opportunity to get an art education. I never thought about whether I wanted to be an artist, because I already considered myself to be an artist - a creative person who was always drawing. At one time I wanted to be a cartoonist, then an actress or to sew costumes and then - to make movies.

What stages did you go through?
I started painting when I was at school. Then I began to visit the photo studio in the House of Pioneers in my free time. There I learned how to develop film, print on paper and prepare reagents. My parents gave me my first camera, a Zenit, for my birthday, and I started to take a lot of pictures and to print them at home. Although I have always done drawing, it was photography that pushed me to consciously produce creative works. At the same time, I graduated from art school and was also going to figure skating, ballet and drama studios. Then came art college and after that photography school. All this was happening in Samara. I then worked as an illustrator for a publishing house, and later as a computer graphics artist on television. It was after moving to Moscow that photography took precedence and I accepted any job connected with it: photo shoots for magazines, advertising, portraits to order, reports, etc. Eventually, these activities stopped and I was able to concentrate on the creative side. It did not happen in a day - it was a long process until I realized I could earn money and do what I loved at the same time.

Do you have any strong artistic influences?
Cultural heritage and historic experience affect me, as they do us all but I cannot say that there were any specific personalities. I think any artist is affected by his entourage, environment, society or rather the totality of all these. From here comes the idea and the desire to embody it. An artist being an intermediate link is not aware of the idea he passes on. It is only in the process of focused work you discover that you are penetrating deeper and the more you surrender yourself to the intuitive and subconscious, the faster and clearer the idea begins to take shape. In contemporary art there is often another intermediate link - a curator or an art critic, someone who manipulates the viewer's perception. Often they dictate or explain the concept and these days the artist has nothing to do but be led by it. Therefore, the modern artist often keeps in mind the idea that this additional link is important, and it affects their work. That is neither a good or a bad thing. Each link in its own way is important and plays a role in the work.

What is your technique?
Mixed media. It is photography usinq post-processing graphics programs. Sometimes it is a combination of a digital image and "live" materials such as oil or coal or pencil. Despite the vast opportunities I now have as an artist, I try to stick to realism and change the image within reasonable limits. It helps me not to slip into the surreal that dominates the internet today. Nevertheless, technically I develop the image to such an extent as to create a sense of duality, reflecting the reality and unreality at the same time.

What is your next project?
Im working on it now and the working title for the moment is "Light and Heavy". The series will comprise 10 photographic artworks and a short film. I was inspired by my hometown, Samara. My relationship with this city is very strong, but it is not linked to the real city but rather with the dreams of my past. Our view of life is very strongly connected with the place where we live and the place where we grew up. Samara is an average Russian city and a place of contrasts with everything standing opposite each other all the time. Life is hard and yet easy at the same time. In my thoughts I'm going back to this city of youth and strength, desires and moving forward. So this is the "lightness" of my dreams. In fact, the reality of that city as it was then for me is long gone. The idea that I cannot go back means this city has a special place in my mind. It's a place of lightness, almost soaring flight. Conversely, the likelihood that I may have to live there day after day, to repeat the same routine week in, week out, turns it into something heavy, horribly intrusive and chilling. So I'm a dreamer - I prefer to keep only lightness in my memories, but I have also kept little details such as foggy backgrounds and monumental constructions which reflect the "heavy" side of being in this world.

David Dubois

Russian, English
ISSN: 2077-3641
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