Gustavs Filipsons | Latvia
"The sole intention and purpose of my work is to communicate with the unknown in our subconscious mind. To find the connection with our true selves which I believe is something common we all possess. Another goal is to create artwork that would be some kind of new and if not new then original kind of work."
Contemporary Art Station: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
When I was a child I used to read a lot.I was inspired by fairy tales of different nations.Especially of these living in far north.I felt there is something very true in those "Fantasies".The way they looked at Nature and saw the spirits behind it truly captured me.I walked through the woods also capturing images in fallen trunks or listened to the birds as if they were one of us or delivered some meaningful message.Everything was alive and spoke to me.I was so filled with energy,I did not know were to put it.After years when I had to ask myself who I am going to be,I knew that nobody else,but an artist.I wished to carry the way I look on things and feel them further and already then I was confronted with a way of thinking the "real"world possess.That made my conviction even stronger to become a story teller myself only in visual Art.I felt I was born for it. The very idea of becoming an artist and study Arts was clear for me at the age of 15.
CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?
My approach to creation is both of those two mentioned methods.That depends on the state of mind I am in at the moment I prepare myself for the painting process.State of mind always has a very significant place in here.In fact I keep my mind open to the things that speak to me the whole time. On canvas I am trying to realize just the most vivid images or "realities".But exactly on canvas the painting actually is born.I do sketching,make photos of different kind,then fragment them and find what captures me in it. After putting on canvas the actual image I still transfer it tremendously to suit it my inner eye and feeling.The moment an excitement appears in me I know I am on the right path and soon the piece is ready. There are times I start to paint without any preparation at all.Just paint and look where "the path" leads.Images and planes appear,and I am after it, looking for inner logic of pictorial space.That is like venturing into the unknown.The process itself is intense and demanding.
CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?
When painting,there is a moment I crave for- that the moment I feel the piece fills with energy, the image becomes alive and speaks to me.That is not what happens from the very beginning.Only then I can be sure,the piece is worth something.Sometimes it takes some time to reach that goal.There are times the connection is weaker,there are times it is stronger.
CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
Each artist brings a different kind of message. The extent how influential his or her voice is greatly depends on how important for others the actual message appears to be.If its not that may take some nerve and patience to persuade there is something important behind your message. Obviously if you shout to the masses, you can expect you will be heared instantly.Of course if it suits them.I think both ways are good.Everybody finds that suits them and artist is the medium of thought in any society,which of course allows that.Artists play a huge role in communication,shaping minds of millions.
CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
Abstract expressionism,geometrical suprematism,surrealism,metaphysical art.Favorite artists:Willem de Kooning,Franz Kline,Pierre Soulages,Kazimir Malevic,Wassily Kandinsky,Paul Klee,Salvador Dali,Giorgio de Chirico.
CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?
The best advice regarding art i was given is "In order to create and complete an artwork"decently"one must be able to sacrifice the places and spots you love the most,but which hinder from achieving unity and allowing bigger ,more impressive sense to appear.The goal is some "supertask".One has to feel its found.More important is the logic and interconnection of images and directions of textures or lines, than one beautiful spot."
When painting I always keep that in mind.
CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
After I had realized I wish to become an artist,I acknowledged that in order to be it in society I have to graduate Academy of Arts,even though I thought I could be a selftought as well.During studies I was given tasks that more or less suited my initial creative goals.In composssitional tasks I could express my abstract thinking.In compositions I made there, I discovered my talent as abstractionist.Inspite the fact academical approach was the ruling one, I struggled to nurture my own approach in this hostile for me environment.My real voice I discovered when I had already graduated and worked alone.I was left to perish or that was how I felt it because abstract art is not welcomed where I developed.
I came eye to eye of what and who I am.In 2010 I created a piece called"By the Window".I new -that is me I have found.That was 6 years after graduation.
CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
For emerging artist I would give the same advice one professor in Academy gave me - withstand five years after graduation.At that time I did not quite understood what he meant. I had to withstand 15 years until someone got interested in what I do.I suffered depression and anxiety, but still I continued.One must understand - everybody is interested in themselves first.If you are not going to bring someone profit with what you do,you are on your own. To earn money you have to do what you can.Even if that downgrades your ambitions, just never give up your ideals in what you believe. Then energy shall "sing" in what you do.You have to understand - art first place is yours occupation only. Do not wait for any response soon.In order to find your true self in what you do you have to go "through desert".Believe that the very urge that nurtured in you the necessity to become an artist will stay alongside you at the darkest moments.If you hear the sound of your artistic voice in your pieces then that is the sign you must follow it and let it be heared someday.Trust-it will be.Because the sound of your inner voice has a resonance in Universe- and this alone what you do has a greater purpose- communicative one. Even if it is only on subconscious level at first.The time shall come an you will be heared and noticed. Everything of it is demanding.Be ready to feel depression,anger,anxiety.Be ready to be weak.But this is not going to last forever.Just continue.