Yulia Virko

Spacing out in conversations
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Spacing out in conversations.
What brought you into art?
I think you get into art the moment you learn to play as a child.
Why you picked painting and drawing as the language?
Probably because I am interested in the properties of this particular media and the variety it presents. I am attracted to the immediacy this medium has.
Which format is more reflective of you? How do you work? Where? Tell me about the process (how the artist's day begins and ends)
I try to have an approximate schedule of the time I have to spend in the studio. When I am working on a project I usually spend six to eight hours in the studio each day, even if I will just end up sharpening pencils or stare at a wall.
As for the format I like to work on a large scale, it pushes me to work faster and have a loose approach in the work.
Did you study in the USA? Where and how was it?
Yes, I studied at Rhode Island School of Art and Design for my bachelor's in illustration and did a year of master's in painting (unfinished) at Savannah College of Art and Design.
I believe you are in Russia now. Was there an opportunity to stay in the USA and would you like to?
That is correct, I am working in Russia at the moment. Perhaps if the opportunity presents itself at the right moment I could ... Cannot know for sure.
What was the most difficult part of your career as an artist at the beginning? How about now?
I think at first it was hard to learn to schedule your time wisely, so you could spend it productively in the studio. Now, if I were to spend a couple of days away from working there, I feel like I am missing out on something fun and exciting.
What inspires you? Where you get inspiration?
Really anything that surrounds you, from books and different artists to patches of different color paint on the building walls that cover up old graffiti.
You had an exhibition in Russia. Tell me a bit more about it.
Anthony Gelfand and I were showing our works at the exhibition called " Consciousness doesn't have borders". Mixing our approach to memory and dream. Anthony Gelfand has experimented with many different media such as photography, painting, sculpture, and video collage. I wanted to explore a looser approach to my painting and drawing. The big works and ink drawings definitely helped me with that goal. We were very grateful that it managed to travel from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and soon Nizhniy Novgorod.
What was the concept? What was the reaction?
Mostly, we both tried to grasp something ephemeral in our works. Experimentation with various media very much helps with connection to the concept. We were very happy with the reaction from the Russian public! People were interested to hear about our ideas behind the works and our process.
How do you feel after the show?
It was somewhat hard to relax because my first impulse was to work again straight away. Now I have a better time balancing work and time off and this helps with productivity.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Experimenting and spending time in the studio, making new work and learning as much as I can.
What is the situation in art in Russia? Do you have a preference for where to live, work, create?
I think the environment you are surrounded by definitely has an influence on your work, however, I would like to try various environments to see how my work would change.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 25?
In the studio, preferably working!
And finally, if you would be someone else instead of an artist, what would you do?
I don't think it would be an option. Not sure, never thought about it for long enough.
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