INTERVIEW / by Ksenia Sapunkova

I was interviewed about my show and recent artwork by Yaroslav Bobrakov and Svetlana Rakevich:

 

Tuesday September 8th was the opening night of an art exhibition by the young and talented Ksenia Sapunkova. The event took place in a charming family owned café “Hibiscus” in the heart of Kensington Market in Toronto. This was the first solo exhibition for the artist, attracting a small circle of friends and devotees of her talent. 

The atmosphere of ease and inspiration filled the air and was contagious. Everyone who attended the opening show was touched by it. Many visitors spent quite a while looking at the watercolours. In some way or another, everyone felt connected to the intimate magic of the paintings.  Ksenia’s use of watercolours, inks and other mediums creates very, light, tender and graceful artworks. The artist’s distinct style charmed and engaged the visitors.

During the entire evening, Ksenia was very open, enthusiastic and available to chat about her art.  She was delighted to talk about her paintings. After the exhibition, Yaroslav N. took a short interview where Ksenia shared her thoughts about the process of creating her works and her general outlook about art. 

What are the sources of inspiration for creation of your artworks?

Foremost I am inspired by love. I think without this feeling inside, it is impossible even to take your brush and start to create. Speaking about love, I do not mean the feeling towards one specific person, but rather the state of being. It was very important to have this feeling inside because it will affect the kind of artwork you are going to create and ultimately the vision that will manifest into the painting. For me, limitless inspiration comes from the literature. It is very difficult to imagine how many images might come from reading good books or poetry. I feel I have to depict all of those visions as quickly as they flip through my mind, and put them down on paper. Third source of inspiration for me is people and the manifold sides of their souls and beings. Those are the things I am trying to reveal in my paintings.  

Is it important for you that a viewer will understand and appreciate the idea or vision that you manifest through your paintings? 

No. It would be appropriate to say that for me it is not that important that a viewer would see that same thing that I was trying to depict. It is more important that a viewer would be able to attune to the atmosphere of the painting and have his or her own interpretation. That explains a distinctive technique, which I use in the process of creating my paintings. Watercolour is a very fluid medium to use. At the initial stage, I allow the colour to have a full freedom on the paper and only after I use controlled brushstrokes to create shapes of distinct figures, space, objects and interiors. This way I do not really know how the final version of the painting will look like, how many figures will be there, or how the subject of the painting will evolve. The technique suits me well because it allows me to depict the space quite abstractly at the same time creating an atmosphere of the scene quite realistically. It turns out to be a sort of a magic reality.  I feel joyful if the viewer sees in my paintings something special and personal for him or her. It tells me that my painting has several layers of meaning. Each one deeper than the other. At the end, all of us see the world differently and it is wise not to forget that. 

Is there anything unique about how you search for your colour combinations and mingle them together? Where do you delve for your visions? Is it in objects, nature, or something else? 

Undoubtedly, it is nature. From my point of view, there is nothing as flawless as natural colours of ordinary objects in the daylight. I recall one day when I was trying to memorize the tint of asphalt on the sunset and combine its distinct lilac colour with viridian green, inspired by the shade of grass. This is how my compositions come to be. In my earlier works, I wanted to depict very bright and pure colours. I combined them in the same painting and they ended up to be something similar to Moroccans’ shovels, excessively multicoloured. With time, I am more and more inclined to use a softer palette of colours and try to limit the number of paints. My ultimate favourite is indigo blue. It is the first paint to finish. The brand of paints and the quality of paper without a doubt play a great role in how the colour will turn out on the paper.

Do you have a muse?

Maybe (smiling enigmatically). At least when she is not around sleeping or being lazy, I can feel it. I believe that if a creative person does not use her talent for benevolence to other people, her talent will gradually flicker and wane. I cordially agree with the thoughts of Peter Tchaikovsky (Russian composer who wrote music for “Nutcracker”, “Sleeping Beauty” ballets and other works) on this subject. Speaking about his own muse, he said the following:  

“Yes, the inspiration is always fleeing away when you are trying to grasp it. However, I think that it is my duty as an artist not to succumb to the indolence, which is so strong in people. There is nothing worse for an artist than give way to it.  You should not wait. The inspiration is a guest who does not willingly visit the lazy. You have to conquer your idleness or otherwise you will give yourself into power of dilettantism (or amateurism).”

Do you have any plans for the future? Are there any special dreams which relate to your creative work as an artist? 

There is a saying “if you want to make God laugh - tell him about your plans”. I have many ideas. In the upcoming year, I have plans to organize my exhibitions in the art galleries in Canada and USA. I am currently working on a new series of paintings whose main character is a metaphorical bird. It also would be interesting to work on literary projects. 

Last year, I had an interesting experience collaborating with the writer Andrei Gretsky. Together with Sasha Alexandrova, we worked to create an illustrated book of his poetry. I really enjoy working with a rich text in which there are many metaphors and subtle meanings. It gives space to expand your imagination and has very interesting results. The release of the book took place in May of this year and it is already available on Amazon. I would also like to create a second part of the picture book “Look into Me Now”. It is one of those projects on which you scratch your head for a long time and then completely forget about it. At some point, the right idea and concept just comes out of nowhere and all that needs to be done is to put it down on paper. As for the desire, it is very simple: to be able to express on paper with colours all that will delight people and uplift their hearts. 

 

The watercolours from the series “Out of Time”, you can come to view and purchase in café “Hibiscus” (address 238 Augusta Ave, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2L7) until [date]. Although, there is another series of earlier works of Ksenia Sapunikova “A Reverie of Whimsical Mind” now in display in New Market Books/Cafe and Things 208 Main stree until October 10.