Interview: Olga Volodina
Luca Curci talks with Olga Volodina during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2019 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Olga Volodina is a Russian-born photo artist currently residing in Bangkok. Back in the day she started her professional career as a fashion art photographer in Moscow. Olga is the author of several social and art photo projects. Her work has been featured on TV, in print media and exhibited in art galleries. Her photography projects are always very personal and sincere and intend to evoke an emotional connection within the viewer. For Olga Volodina photography is an exploration of how the camera translates her feelings, thoughts and attitudes. A human is always the main source of inspiration for Olga. Her controversial inner world comes to life conveying a message within a single frame, leading to strong compositions and thoughtful lighting decisions.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Olga Volodina – I had a lot of hobbies in childhood, but I just needed to find one that would give me the opportunity to express my thoughts. I always have a “special” opinion and I can’t hide it. Therefore, photography for me has become a kind of dialogue with society. In it, I found an opportunity to express my love for symbols and metaphors, to struggle with endless reflection, excessive emotionality and imbalance, complexes and my personal flaws. This is not only a profession but also a kind of therapy.
LC – What are you currently working on?
OV – At the moment, I am interested in everything related to the history of women’s rights and freedoms. The place of women in the modern world. How the feminist movement changed the woman’s life in the world and why many women forgot about it so quickly. A lot of people don’t even know about this fact. I also concerned about domestic violence, especially in Russia, where it was partially decriminalized last year. All of these topics I really care about all the things mentioned above and they will be reflected in my future project
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
OV – Life inspires me. The main focus of my work is always on a human. The images that I create are often my response to events in the world or in my personal life. It is spontaneous, but I record the flow of thoughts and associations that occurs in my head. Thoughts later take shape and convert to images when emotions recede into the background. I always clearly imagine the picture in my head before I start working on it. There are almost no improvisations on my set, everything is thought of in advance.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
OV – In different periods of my life, I did completely different projects. Over time, I changed, my views and taste changed, and some themes that used to seem interesting were not relevant to me today. This is a natural process. The theme of a personal transformation under the influence of information and propaganda, which was raised in “Metamorphoses”, is now very important for me. This is what happens around us every day. As an artist, I am curious, but at the same time scared to watch it unfold, because often such metamorphoses happen to our friends or relatives. The mass media manipulate such concepts as love, beauty, and faith, giving the illusion of choice and freedom. It was interesting to me to visually display how I see all this. As for the ways of visual expression, this is my subjective personal interpretation.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
OV – It’s not easy to be a full-time working artist now and, I think It never was. You have to work hard and sometimes you are full of doubts and often you have to go through very frustrating experiences. It requires a lot of self-discipline too. There is a boring and tedious side to being a full-time creator and you spend a good chunk of time not really creating but rather keeping up with social media, marketing, website building, pushing your skills, taxes, applying for events etc. It’s not easy to make your living out of it because you don’t have any guaranteed monthly income. Depending on the medium you are working with sometimes it’s very hard to even cover your expenses for buying supplies, professional printing, and framing. Being an artist often is a sacrifice.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
OV – It goes along with my interests and exploring the relationship between man, society and contemporary cities, the lifestyles and the ways of being that run on a parallel level of our ordinary life sounds exciting and challenging. It inspired me to dig deeper into the themes I have been already working on for a while.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
OV – My project Metamorphosis use symbolism to represent: fragile human consciousness influenced by mass media, the hypocrisy of the modern society and an average human, who is forced by the system to spend a precious lifetime either on basic survival needs or excessive consumption. Black and white colors are used to emphasize the edge between good and evil, that humanity is balancing on. Bodies in bandages symbolize sick mankind, weakened by prejudices and fears and vulnerable to manipulations. Information is one of the most dangerous weapons today. Like a cosmetic surgeon can change the physical appearance of a person, those who control mass media can change the perception of how reality appears to us and create the illusion of freedom and choice.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
OV – I think it is a great platform that brings together artists from different countries. I am very happy with the organization. ITSLIQUID GROUP has a good team. They are polite, responsible people who understand the needs and problems of artists, always ready to help and support.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
OV – Don’t really have any suggestions. It all seems good to me.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
OV – I think it is a great opportunity for creative people to find their audience and customers. I wish you development and success! Thank you!