Kostiantyn Kozhemiako: "Silver Easel" is one of the most serious and large-scale initiatives in the art world for today"


26 November 2017
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There is probably no person in the art world of Ukraine who does not know Kostiantyn Kozhemiako – the owner of the publishing house and founder of ArtHuss, as well as the fund for cultural initiatives of the same name.

For this person, the concept of "Ukrainian culture support " is not just words, it is his daily work, which has already been appreciated by a lot of Ukrainians.

For the second time in a row, ArtHuss becomes the partner of the student contest "Silver Easel". Thanks to the publishing house, high-quality contest catalogues are published. In October, Kostiantyn Kozhemiako arrived in Uzhhorod in order to assess the event, feel its tendency, plunge into the atmosphere of creativity. Kostiantyn told us about his impressions in the exclusive interview.

– Kostiantyn, "Silver Easel" is called a unique phenomenon in the world of the contemporary art. What are your first impressions of the contest?

– I would like to note that I am flattered and pleased that such ideas arise in Ukraine. Moreover, I will say that "Silver Easel" is one of the most serious and large-scale initiatives in the art world for today". In our specific country, there is a paradoxical situation: all the good things happen contrary to the state policy and thanks to the private initiatives of wealthy people who are the patriots and who make every effort for our country to become a European, developed, cultural one.

1-1.jpg — 152.80 kBKostiantyn Kozhemiaka – a founder of the Foundation for Cultural Initiatives ArtHuss and Nataliya Brovdi

– How important is the participation in the contest for young artists?

– The projects of the "Silver Easel" format act primarily as a platform, and there must be a lot of such places taking into account the situation in Ukrainian contemporary art! Thanks to them, a young artist can get an opportunity to show himself, see his colleagues, share the experience. It is also important that the curators, art historians, artists who will look at young people not only as strict judges, but also as mentors should communicate with them, and those who want to listen, they will hear for useful things. And this, believe me, will affect the subsequent development of their professional career.

– What is more important for the artist – talent or support?

– First of all, demand. If there is a demand, then the available talents will react to it, but the next stage is the support. It is important for a talented artist not to depend on the sale of his works, that he was supported by a patron or a professional in art, creating conditions for creativity and normal existence. In some time, there is a good chance to see a great master. But if culture is not in demand, the partial support is useless, and talented artists who won’t give up will seek opportunities for self-realization abroad – where art is appreciated.

"Today people avoid going to the gallery because of a misunderstanding of the contemporary art and fear of looking ignorant for this reason"

– How do you feel about such a concept as "kitsch in art"?

– Kitsch is something for the people’s needs. I think one should use his own brains! Nowadays it’s the time of the information-obsessed space and manipulative technologies. In fact, it is not easy for a person to remain himself now, form his own opinion and transform it over time. In order to have the understanding what is kitsch, and what is not, you have to go to exhibitions, communicate with artists, form your own aesthetic taste.

– Well, then tell me please, what the Ukrainian audience is interested in today?

– Ukrainian viewers are characterized by a certain encapsulation. We can always see the same people at the exhibitions, vernissages, and this is a small percentage of the society. And then here is a question: what are the obstacles? There is, of course, encouraging information: the people who are interested are the young people aged 25-35, people of creative professions. And, paradoxically, but people avoid going to the gallery because of a misunderstanding of the contemporary art and fear of looking ignorant for this reason. This is an exclusively psychological moment, which must be fought.

– "Do not be afraid of galleries" - this is one of the latest editions of ArtHuss, which is currently successfully working in the sense of educating Ukrainians in the art sector.

– Education in the field of art is one of the activities of Arthuss, which by publishing popular world bestsellers about art communicates transport to the reader understandable, interesting, human language trivial truths and interesting thoughts about contemporary art. These theses instil in the person the certainty that having entered the gallery, he will not find himself in an awkward position. And this edition is just one of numerous. Therefore, the main task is to involve wider circles with the aim of the rotation of art admirers.

_-.-.-6050_Bohdan-Bieliei_Portrait-acrylic-on-canvas-6050-53.jpg — 685.10 kBBohdan Bieliei’s contest work in nomination “Portrait”

– Who can learn to understand art today?

– Here you can speak the language of statistics. Approximately 75% of our publications are sold online. 90% of buyers are girls, women aged 24-35, hobbies - tourism, art and so on. It’s up to you to decide.

 "You should not imitate, you have to find your own way, individual visual solutions"

– Evaluating a work of art, for example, a painting, what do you first of all pay attention to?

– To the craft. As Sarah Thornton wrote in her book "33 artists in three acts", "... evaluate artists in three aspects: craft, attitude to politics and kinship". Of course, in order to evaluate the creativity of a person from a political or social point of view, it is necessary to learn it more deeply, to understand in what environment a person grew up, which served as sources for the formation of aesthetic views and preferences. And if you look superficially – this is a craft: how skilfully a person owns colour, understands the prospect and so on.

_14.10.2016_Bohdan-Bieliei_14.10.2016-110-1.jpg — 191.50 kBBohdan Bieliei’s contest work in nomination “Improvisation”

– It means that during the contest you pay more attention to the academic education of the contestants, don’t you?

– Yes, I do. This is the concept of professionalism, which has been developed for centuries. Academic knowledge is a fundamental basis, a basis that brings up aesthetic qualities, a sense of colour, a sense of composition. These are the qualities that later broadcast on the artist's work, although at first glance, this work can not in any way correspond with the academic canons.

– Thanks to the "Silver Easel" contest the participants have the opportunity to communicate with the most famous representatives of the art world. How important is it for young artists?

– The opportunity to communicate with the master, consult with him, learn his opinion about his work – this is, of course, great! This is personal growth because the contestants are at the age when they develop their professional qualities and own style. Then you need to think, listen, analyse, take interest in the history of art, and work. And you should not imitate, you have to find your own way, individual visual solutions.

– Do you have a universal recipe for a young artist, how to pave your way into the art world?

– Attend the exhibitions of diverse currents and trends, study and work, work very hard! Then there will be confidence in your hands and eyes!

_--.-.-6050_Bohdan-Bieliei_Cityscape-acrylic-on-canvas-6050-44--Uzhhorod.jpg — 747.77 kBBohdan Bieliei’s contest work in nomination “Cityscape”

– Kostiantyn, we thank you for openness! For the time you have spent with us. You're very exciting person to talk to! We really appreciate and respect your attitude and support of the "Silver Easel". We wish you prosperity and interesting new projects for the Ukrainian audience!

© Art&Culture Foundation Brovdi Art


Kostiantyn Kozhemiako: "Silver Easel" is one of the most serious and large-scale initiatives in the art world for today"