Inside the Mind of a Surrealist: Yulia Pustoshkina Interview
What makes a surrealist turn their back on reality? Unlocking the power of the imagination. In the run up to her solo exhibition in Sydney, we had a chat with Yulia Pustoshkina, the prodigy of a family of artists spanning over the last three generations. Russia-born and educated, Yulia’s beginning as an artist came at a young age, and was encouraged by her father, an art teacher at the art school she herself attended in her youth. With a background in drawing, painting, composition, sculpture and history of art, Yulia shares how she meets talent and skill with constant inspiration and a love of observation to create the weird and wonderful stories we see in her work today.
“I would say that inspiration or an idea is what’s most important to my artwork,” explains Yulia. “I create paintings that form collections, therefore pieces within each collection are connected by some idea. Ideas come from everywhere: my background, Russian folklore or fairytales, and my travels. I love nature in all living forms. My characters are birds, fish, flowers and plants. They interact between one another. All of these can be found around us. Imagination is the key.”
Coming from a country with as rich history as Russia has equipped Yulia with no short supply of imagination. From the very beginning, it has inspired her artistic style, which has built itself further on the Russian miniature painting technique of Palekh and Loubok. “I was deeply fascinated by other ornamental floral painting styles. Although the surfaces got bigger, I still find it hard to move away from painting the minutest of details. It works well since I receive a huge amount of positive feedback from the viewers of my art. They like to pick and interpret small details and composition.”
Much of Yulia’s work is illustrated with a smooth, blended texture, which she achieves using oil paint on canvas or linen. Despite oil paint having a reputation as being a difficult medium to use for small details, Yulia has learnt a few tricks through her experience of using oil to get the desired effect in her paintings.
When it comes to getting that all-important idea out of her mind onto a canvas, Yulia takes great joy in expressing herself with visual elements. “I love humour in my art, and I appreciate when viewers notice it. In general, I like to hear what viewers see, as their interpretation can totally be different to mine – which is always curious to learn. I like them focussing in on the tiniest details, because every detail has a meaning or a reason it’s there. Every character has a purpose. All of this is what creates a story within a painting.”
As a featured artist on Bluethumb, Yulia has received wide commendations and praise from art collectors and artists alike. “I love new experiences and adventures,” Yulia shares.
“Joining Bluethumb was something totally new for me. I soon realised the benefits of being part of the Bluethumb community and have experienced only positive outcomes. I believe Bluethumb is as excellent for artists who are just beginning their career, giving them confidence in their first sale, as it is for established artists, who find it fruitful in expanding their audience. Throughout the years working with Bluethumb the attention I’ve received from collectors is once again confirmation that what I do brings my viewers joy and a sense of fascination.”
Content with her artistic career, Yulia has gone as far to say she is “living her dream” – a goal every artist aspires to. “I’m so happy to have the ability to create and receive such a positive response to my work. The only thing that I will never stop doing is striving to achieve a better painting result through improved or newly found technique. I am fascinated every time I see a painting in progress coming out better than a previous one. When I see that I am growing and developing as an artist, it serves as a huge reward and a driving force to continue.” Among her many achievements, Yulia’s work was recently exhibited at the Russian Embassy, which she considers a particularly rewarding experience that she’ll remember for life.
You can currently catch Yulia’s work at her solo art exhibition Earthly Delights (12th – 18th December 2018), a showcase of art inspired by her recent travels through Spain and France. “Think of abandoned ruins of medieval castles that come back to life with imaginary inhabitants,” she hints. “Mystery is in the air. Think of medieval knights of honour with their shiny armour on, guarding the walls of Alcazar. A story to discover is in every painting – a dash of humour is an absolute must!”
Shop Yulia Pustoshkina portfolio here.