Artist Interview | Kate Stavniichuk

When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do in 100 words:
I am superstitious about what I do. Art is not just the work I love to do; it’s magic that lets people feel or imagine something invisible and hidden that I’m trying to show. Every art piece done by me has a special meaning. Even when it’s a portrait, I write the whole story without words. And only if you look at the details carefully, can you reveal the secret. You might think I only do abstract art. No, I’m a realist artist. But who said that reality is not magic?

I hate being the same; that’s why I like to challenge myself and choose different themes. I do believe that we attract what we think about or what we do, so I’m very careful with my choices. Of course, it doesn’t mean that all my artworks are bright and cheerful because sometimes art is just a mirror of your soul.

What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a new solo exhibition. Can’t say a lot about it because it’s a secret project for now. But it’s going to be a new level of my work.

Why do you do what you do?
I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember; my works were exhibited many times, but I never thought it would be my job. That’s why I never studied art. I’m not from a rich family originally, so my parents wanted me to have a stable, good-paying job. But I kept fighting for what I do now. And then it just happened. I remember being in the last years of school; I started to earn money from my art. I became completely immersed in it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else but art.

I believe in destiny… that what is meant to be will always happen. I always wanted to know my mission in life. Maybe I haven’t found it yet, and one day I will change my ways. But for now, art is my life.

How has your practice changed over time?
I became more daring and confident as I did my art. I’m using new techniques and styles, and my life experience greatly influenced my art.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
I remember when I was a five-year-old; I got a present for my birthday. It was a big, very expansive illustrated book called Barbie. I really loved leafing through that book, and as I did, I had a strong belief that I could make a much better book with my drawings and my own stories. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did. I thought the Barbie book just wasn’t good enough. I made drawings of ladies and men on paper and glued them together. But I thought something was missing. So one night when nobody could see me, I cut some illustrations out of the Barbie book and added my own illustrations to the book. Barbie was completely damaged. My parents were so mad at me when they found out that I did that. I knew I would be punished, but at the same time, I was really proud of creating my own book. (Kate was laughing now as she said this.)

What was your scariest experience?
My scariest experience was my first solo show. I think a first show is a scary thing for every artist. You never know what to expect at your solo exhibition, especially your first time when you’re insanely nervous about literally everything… who’s going to come, what I’m going to say about my works, what if people don’t like my art or me? But at the end of the day, you’re tired and satisfied that so many people came to support you, and you realize they did love your paintings; and even if some of them didn’t, you don’t care anymore because you just completed a new step in your career. That feeling is amazing.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
I think inspiration is always about the places you visit or the people you meet. Once I met a very good person who supported me in a hard time (sorry can’t say the name). I was about to quit doing art because I had so many problems at that time and it was really hard to continue. But the person made me believe that I had to keep going, that I had to be strong because I am strong. His words inspired me to put myself together, and I did. Six months later I had my first solo show.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I am a woman. That’s my superpower.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
Honestly, I don’t understand those artists who are chasing popularity on the social media. Those Facebook likes just make them crazy. They stop being themselves, stop being original, and start creating what attracts more people. Listen. People can’t tell you what is amazing and what is not and convince you according to their visions. Show the world your vision, what your soul is feeling.

What is your dream creative project?
My dream project is to own my own gallery and do workshops for artists and for those who just want to express themselves in art. I would love to help everyone believe in themselves and give them a push in the right direction.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
I think the most inspiring place in the world is where I am right now. And that goes for everyone else. People often complain that they are not in the right place, where they live doesn’t inspire them. But wherever you are, there is a reason why you’re there, so look around and you will see.

Do you make a living off of your art?
Yes, I’m a full-time artist.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
The most indispensable item in my studio is a compressed charcoal pencil. It’s my favorite!

What are your hobbies?
When I was younger I had many hobbies, but now art is almost everything to me. So I don’t have much time for something else. But I do like sports, dancing, watching movies, etc.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up. No matter what happens, always stay strong.

Visit www.katestavniichuk.com

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