When an artist becomes an artist? What was the foundation for my artistic practice

I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very early age.

Even my mom was telling me various stories about how I was stealing her lipstick when I was little and drawing all over the walls at our place.

But my very first own memory related to anything to do with art was when I was drawn by someone else whilst spending my summer holidays with my grandparents. And  I can remember it like it was today.

It's summer 1994 in a small Latvian village.
And it's super hot outside.

latvian image photography inspiration

I am 7 years old and I am speeding up along the gravel road on my favourite bike - a sky-blue Shkolnik, one of the most common makes in the USSR.

shkolnik bike photograph

An elderly lady on the road waves at me to stop. She looks a bit odd and somewhat mysterious, she is wearing a black dress and her head is covered with a black scarf, so my childhood imagination ends up seeing her as a witch.

When I come a bit closer, she offers to draw my portrait. She pulls out a piece of cardboard-like paper and a tiny piece of charcoal and starts drawing.

piece of charcoal for drawing and art

I get very surprised and am struggling to believe that someone can draw using a piece of burnt wood.

As her wrinkled hand is moving quickly on the paper, I am standing still next to my bike looking into the horizon. After what feels to me like 20 minutes the lady calls me again to show her drawing.

I gasp...

I am fascinated by the contrast of the image, it looks a bit surreal but there is still a lot of resemblance to what I look like in real life. It reminds me somewhat of the comic drawings that I was a big fan of back when I was little.

Even today I still remember the wow-effect that this drawing had on me.

This was one of the significant moments in my life - a moment when I realised for the first time what an artist is capable of and that all sorts of mundane materials can be used for art, not just a pencil or a pen. It changed my perception of art for the rest of my life. And following that experience, I was often sneaking into my grandparents' kitchen to get some charcoal pieces for my drawings.

Even though my memory about that day when this lady drew me is still very sharp in my head, I would give a lot to see what the image looked like in reality (it was lost, unfortunately) as it left such a deep impression in my soul.

And today I still apply this understanding that I acquired in my childhood - this idea that one can use all sorts of materials and tools in their artistic practice and create something fascinating as a result.

For example, my photography practice isn't limited solely to photography - it includes a bit of DYI, a bit of sculpting, a bit of painting/drawing and a bit of everything, really.

brick and various materials for art

I also combine various types of materials in my art, including but not limited to clay, papier-mâché, wood, metal, fabrics and even rocks.

rise

Rise

If you'd like to see some of the artworks I've done in the past - feel free to visit my online store here. 

And I am currently working on a new art piece - so keep an eye on my social media and email newsletter - let's connect on Instagram (@photoportrayal_studio) or Facebook.

Until next time,

Vadims


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