Interview of Ekaterina Smirnova by Verbo10 (Spain)

Ekaterina Smirnova

Alleys instantly find a place in our memory, cities awaken with a spirit of adventure and invite us to dream, nearby landscapes expose us to new found nostalgia. These fleeting and unrepeatable moments are at the mercy of a brush; the brush of Ekaterina Smirnova. 

(Please see the original article in spanish at www.verbo10.com)

– You started painting in the Art school of Siberia just when the URSS was dissolving. How was the art scene back then? 

– It is quite hard to answer this question, as I was so very young then. My view of the art world was really limited to the young artists I was painting with, and they were great!

– Has Russia changed since then?

– I just had a solo show in Novosibirsk city, Siberia, and had a chance to meet the local art community. I’d like to say that even though there are many great artists there and this city is an important cultural center, the visual art scene is still quite undeveloped, with a very small market and limited opportunities. Saint Petersburg on the other hand has a lot to offer these days, with many great contemporary galleries and world class art museums.

– Do you remember your first sale?

– I can’t remember my first sale, but one of my earliest supporters was a family friend who took a chance on me as a young artist, and commissioned a number of pieces for their business. My style has dramatically changed, and those pieces are a bit embarrassing, but they are still on display today.

Ekaterina is working on "Rainy Manhattan"

– Beijing, New York, Barcelona, etc. Have you ever thought? Why do you mostly paint cities?

– Yeah, never ever did I think I will be traveling that much and most of all paint around the world, as I try to paint everywhere I go. Now, why cities? To be honest I paint an atmosphere in the cities, not the cities. Buildings are interesting to me cause you can see the depth of the air better. Would it be rain or mist, snow or fog, all of those occasions are more likely to get my attention then the most beautiful building.

– Speaking of cities, which one is your favorite to paint? Why?

– I live in the megapolis – New York, the great city that I love. I paint it the most, I have the access to the observing points, like the Empire State Building, I cross the bridges in different times of the day, I view it from the water, when I go on a boat, I have seen NY waking up or going to bed thousands of times… So I paint it.

Studio in New York

– When you find a good spot to paint, do you just sit there and start painting or you take a photo and then work in the studio?

– I base my works on my photography. Due to the very large size of my works (130 x 180 cm; 230 x 260 cm) I can not paint them anywhere, I got to have a studio space.

But I can make a quick sketch on the site, I will use it during painting. My late interest to the views from above also makes it hard to paint on the airplane or at the skyscraper. Photos is a part of my creative process, but you need to remember to put your photo aside when you have about 40% of the painting done. Getting too attached to the reference can lead to the illustration work, rather then an artwork.

– What does watercolor offer you when it comes to work?

– I love working with watercolor as it is so fluid and can offer a lot of different textures and effects. I paint different conditions of the water, mist or rain and so on. I could not find a better media, but WATERcolor! I let my color drip, I splash, I leave puddles of paint… There is so much you can do. Color can be transparent or intently opaque. Watercolor is also a safe media, you don’t have to worry about your health.

New York + New Jersey

– What is your favorite painter and painting?

– Very hard to answer this question. There are so many great artists! Among my friends I can find true talents, who inspire me to create my paintings, support me. If to talk about classics, then Andrew Wyeth, hands down. I love his palette, composition, textures…

– When the time comes that your son tells you he wants to be an artist, what would be your advise?

– Not to be scared of an experiment, break the rules, express yourself the way you want, even if no one understands you. Be free in your art.

Do not miss Ekaterina’s solo show in Barcelona that starts on April 25th, 2013 till May 24th. The opening night is on April 25th at 7 p.m.
at Villa Del Arte Galleries, Barcelona

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