Interview: Gaya Lastovjak
Luca Curci talks with Gaya Lastovjak, honourable mention of the of ITSLIQUID International Contest – 14th edition.
Gaya Lastovjak creates three-dimensional paintings with her own technique using papermache, canvas and oil paint. The artworks reveal a sculptural vision of form, they surprise with their diversity in terms of structure and message, focusing on showing the aspect of human existence. Most often, the artist raises questions about the duality of man, that is good and evil, which is part of human nature. In her paintings, thanks to the specific gestures of the silhouettes, she shows valuable human qualities, such as unity, help or love, as well as negative ones, such as jealousy or lies. The artist glorifies good traits and criticizes bad ones. She also engages in a dialogue with current events and phenomena. The departure from the traditional range of colours in favour of white allows for the perfect accentuation of light and shade. Everything seems to be saturated with symbolic content, the author entrusts her thoughts to the artistic matter and impresses it with her own feelings.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Gaya Lastovjak – In the beginning, I would like to thank you for inviting me to this wonderful interview. I gained my current artistic practice mainly thanks to perseverance, regularity, and trial and error. I started my adventure with paper mache from small forms such as masks in art school lessons. When I learned the basics of this material, I began to expand the forms into larger and more complicated ones, that’s why it takes so long, sometimes several months, to create one artwork. I tested a lot of glues and newspapers to use the currently used proportions. Patience and time are also very important in this technique, you can not hurry because then, the form made with paper mache, can be distorted. Over time, not only the forms but also their content were expanded. The current paintings have an important message, which is shown by specific poses of silhouettes or compositional arrangement. I call my art contemporary figurative because human is the main theme of my work. Human is filled with a whole range of emotions and that fascinates me the most. In my works, body language is very important due to the power of the message, shaping the meanings and content of the work of art. I often talk about good and bad human qualities, but I also touch on current events in the world as well as reveal personal fears or views. I do not stop developing further, because there is always the next stage and more things to talk about.
LC – What is art for you?
GL – I’ve been interested in art and creating for as long as I can remember. Even when I was very little I used to draw or paint all day long, instead of playing with toys. Over time, when I was growing up, I attended all possible additional artistic classes. In my life, I dealt with sculpture in metal, analogue black and white photography (I developed photos in the darkroom), batik technique (painting with wax and paints on fabric), wood carving, and manual graphics such as woodcut. I learned a lot of interesting artistic techniques. I studied art history and got a master’s degree in that field. Looking at how much time and space art had in my life so far, it’s easy to see that it is something more than a passion or work. It is a way to express my own feelings, emotions or worries. It’s my voice in a changing world, it is part of me.
LC – What do you think about art on social media? Are they turning into the new showcases of contemporary art?
GL – Social media has a very important role in the current art world. It is a way to show art to a wider audience. Not everyone has the time or opportunity to go to an exhibition or museum. It’s also a great way to observe the news and artistic achievements of artists from around the world. However, one should beware of fake art enthusiasts. Despite this, social media has significantly improved communication and visibility of art. I remember the times when I didn’t have Internet at home, which is hard to believe now. At that time, I read about current art only from art magazines, but there were articles only about well-known artists. Nowadays, you can watch everything on the Internet. Everyone, regardless of style or possibilities, has a chance to show their creativity and passion, which I really like.
LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
GL – I intend to develop the current style I created but add new materials. So far, such elements as metal nets, rope and recently – puzzles have appeared in my works. Each of these elements has its own meaning. Metal net is usually woven into the figure to show that it is falling apart, that it is broken and sad. The rope most often symbolizes oppression or a connection, and puzzles – something edifying, complex like knowledge, cognition or thoughts. In the future, I thought about turning to a more organic direction, such as the use of moss or branches, to move or remind people not to leave rubbish in the forest or beach (what I saw a lot during my holidays). Not only does the topic of garbage in nature bother me, there are many things to talk about. I do not consider myself an activist, but I would like to draw the viewer’s attention to the problems in the world, such as aggression, depression, loneliness, rejection or lack of respect for another person. I hope that my small voice will gain strength in the future and contribute to changing people’s habits, thinking and behaviour, at least to a small extent. That it will change them for the better.
LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
GL – There are a few ideas that I would like to realise. Of the less crazy projects is an idea to combine a solo exhibition with something like a fashion show. Models on the catwalk would carry the paintings in their hands, thus presenting them to the public. Another idea is to dress up as my own painting, that is, to create a costume that will look like my work and walk among the viewers at some art festival or fair. Finally, the craziest idea – was to create huge moving mannequins on platforms that would move with the help of a mechanism. They would have to look like the characters from my paintings. I hope that in the future you will see one of them.