9 Whys and Hows With Andrius Makarevicius
Almost three years past since our last interview. Then we talked about you avoiding the destruction in your art and about your surreal-expressionism series. But looking at your art pieces now there are so many changes – I can‘t see people with a bunny or teddy-bear heads anymore. Tell me about this change in these past few years.
Yes. There were some changes including changing the studio place and changes in my art as well. Last time we talked I had a studio in Sparta street (Vilnius, Lithuania), after that - in St. Steponas street – it was a tiny studio in the basement, and now I have a studio in V. Chopin street – on the 4th floor of the building. The reason that you are not seeing people with animal heads anymore I think is just a natural change of my art. I am very positive about changes – about new forms, new topics, yet I don‘t think that you need to put traditions away. And these changes were going on and on for a while. And it still haven’t stopped... It is like an inner voyage... Trying to find yourself, lots of thoughts, lots of movies, lots of literature and lots of music.
In these past few years I tried to purify my art, to create, to paint what I want, what is interesting for me (but also for others as well), what is happening now, and just to clarify what is important in my art. So that‘s why there are plenty of topics coming from my surroundings.
Your art is full of street life representation. Why are you choosing to show that part of life?
For me, it was always important who I am and in what kind of surrounding I am, by what kind of environment I am surrounded. So thinking about the identification of my place, I came up with the idea to involve my environment surroundings into my art or you can look at it in the opposite way – to involve an art life into my surroundings. That way lines between life and art just blurred out. And the bus/train station district was a perfect choice for this. I am not moralizing or documenting the bus/train station district. I just took that place, started to deconstruct it, yet leaving the recognizable aspects, details and making a new story influenced by my experience and feelings again and again.
So when you paint your characters sometimes you are being very detailed with their faces. Sometimes you are leaving them faceless or in the shadow. How do you decide which person, which character is being worth to have his/her face?
Everything is just like in real life – some people are being visible, some of them – staying in the shadow. People, characters are appearing to you from the shadow and show the real face. Faces without the detailed identity are being extremely helpful to show the bus/train station district characters – they are always traveling, moving. Faces, which are totally unrecognizable, which are nothing to remember or to notice about them – they are just a moment of life.
‘Adidas’ stripes phase in your art – not just on the sport suites but also on the skirts and even underwear (for example the art piece ‘Girls and puss in boots’). Why this is important to you? Does it show the street life which you are surrounded by?
Maybe just a little. Tracksuits now are having a totally different ‘face’. If in 90’s it was worn by the cool street kids, now you will see hipsters, rappers, fancy girls and boys in a tracksuit. ‘Adidas’ stripes are just a metaphor. It gives a contemporary life feeling. The number ‘three’ – three stripes – can be read as a saint trinity as well. Or you can think about so many another number ‘three’ meanings.
Brushstrokes… I could spend ages just by looking at it! Your canvases are covered with thick, rich in color and even at some point hypnotizing brushstrokes. Tell me about your choice of colors which varies between blue cold and burning red.
I don’t want to reveal the ‘kitchen’ of my studio work. Usually, I am working on a few art pieces. One is drying and another one is being born. If I am stuck with the topic or something else – then the piece is just waiting for me to come back to it and work again. Sometimes I spend so much time just thinking about the topic. Like, really a lot. Sometimes I am painting the piece over and over again. And sometimes I can spend months trying to figure out what the painting is asking for. And about the colors – I have the feeling that someone is broadcasting them to me. Sometimes I want to have a dissonance – it gives a charm.
Tell me about your day. How does it start? How does it end?
Each day is different. When we had an interview three years ago (see – number three again) my life rhythm was different as well. Now I wake up 6:30 in the morning, have some coffee and sometimes breakfast. After that – walk. Later all the rest of the work that needs to be done. Few times a week I teach painting lessons. And the rest of the time is for my art, not just in front of the canvas, but also the time for thoughts about it – you are thinking about it all the time, collecting material, information. And the day ends with a movie.
I know that music plays a very important role as your source of inspiration. So let’s talk about music. What does it give to you?
Yes, music is still really important to me. Besides the inspiration, it gives me a structure. For instance, at my last exhibit, I used my landscape paintings as a pause between the songs. Another example – at a plein air you can’t work on the same style as you are used to. So I choose to work in a different way – same when music band presents an acoustic album – it looks familiar but sounds different. Or I choose to work on a few different topics, similar to a music band member when he/she has solo and a few more other projects. Since understanding all this I stopped to worry about who said what about my style – does it looks like mine or not.
In your opinion, what would be the ideal exhibition, presenting your art?
The previous exhibition at the gallery “Arka” (Vilnius, Lithuania) was really close to the ideal version of my art exhibit. On the other hand – what is ideal? I am happy when all gallery team is working on the exhibit, not just the artist.
Tell me about the art market in Lithuania. Does it need changes? Who is responsible for an art piece leaving art gallery/artist studio and finding a place in a buyer’s house?
This is the last thing I am thinking when I am painting. It is hard to understand what kind of art market we have in Lithuania. The first question I would ask – do we have an art market? Yes, we do… But it is hardly visible. People still are buying art pieces with flowers and kittens and spend 50 euros and feel happy about it.
We need to change it. We need to educate people, ask them to come and see art exhibits, we need to help to grow their taste in arts. In my opinion, no one is responsible for the art piece leaving the studio and finding a new home in a buyer’s place – I believe that each artwork has its owner. They just need to find each other - and here is the place where many people are coming to help you out including the galleries.