Russian artist and gallerist, Julia A. Smolenkova was born in 1986 in a family of artists. Graduated in Art, she manages three studios in Moscow, Brussels and Paris. She received awards from the Russian Art’s Academy, she won more Art International Competitions and today she works as an Associate Professor at the Monumental and Decorative Sculpture’s Department at the Art and Industry’s Academy in Moscow. She has displayed her works and organized other artist’ exhibitions in several countries, like Germany, Austria and the US. You can find a list of her major exhibitions in the last few years on the website www.julia-smolenkova.com
Who is Julia Smolenkova?
“I am a lucky artist, and for this gift I thank fate. Art should bring optimism and joy the people, keep them interested and give them feelings of joy. There’s so much horror, fear and pain in the world, that art should be inspiring and emotional in every possible way. And that’s what I try to do with my work”.
Moscow, Brussels and Paris. How important is the influence of the cities you’ve lived in for the realization of you work?
“I paint in all the places that make me feel good and I create my works with positive emotions. I really like my studio in Moscow, but also the other two. They are completely different as are the pieces I create in them. It’s like the city is painting with me.
Moscow is dynamic, with contrasting colors and materials, it never stop and never sleeps, it’s a storm of emotions, movements, all day and all night. Paris is brightness, airiness and light, like in no other place. Paris has a warm tone and an inimitable golden light. I like my study in Brussels for its view opens on the Grand Place and my works here are more serious than the ones I create in Paris. It’s probably because of the lifestyle in Belgium, which is a lot more relaxed, and lets me stop and think a bit more, so I can work on the paintings with more calm and time.
Every city I work in is reflected in my art so I’m not always excited to sell my paintings, because it’s like selling a part of myself, a part of my soul. I’m glad that people like my works and that they hang them on the walls of their houses, but each painting is a fragment of my story. In one of them, for example, you can see an abstract image, a still life, a theatrical costume, a girl’s portrait, the fanning of the wings, the clouds light, the reflections of the architecture’s lights and shadows. The same painting reminds me of the place where I created it, the people that were around me, the feelings I felt and the moments I lived there.
The viewer can’t feel the race on Sunday in Paris when I was in search of a fine arts store to buy the colors that I didn’t have with me. That evening was the opening night of my exhibition and the city inspired me some missing paintings to create. I created them quickly, lightly, emotionally and with spontaneity, just in time before the opening. These are the kind of paintings I prefer, because they mean something so important to me.
Art has always been crucial in your family. Have you always wanted to do this in your life?
“Yes, I have”.
If you had to choose one exposition for each city, which ones would you prefer?
“I would probably choose the works I haven’t created yet in each city”. (Laugh)
“Of course, I spent most of my time in Moscow, where the studio is equipped for painting, sculpture and mosaics. Creating a mosaic is a long process and now I can only do it in this study. But an important exhibition of my mosaics will open in Brussels soon. I love the famous blue stone used to build the old city, so I want to bring my mosaics in this city. I think it will be very beautiful, there will be the works of my past eight years, it will be really interesting event and I invite everyone to visit the exhibition. All information is on my WebSite.
In Moscow is open now my “Polyphonic Abstractions” exposition that fits really well the reality of a Moscow that never sleeps. The main theme of my work is the city, in all its architecture, people, emotions, colors. In Paris I can only imagine to show paintings and graphics created in the Paris light itself. I can’t organize an exhibition of monumental mosaics or challenging painting here yet, beacause the exhibition’s location in the city is very important to me, art should fit organically into the environment in which it’s located, whether it’s a private home, an exhibition area, or an urban area. Everything has to be perfect.
Now I’m travelling a lot in Italy, it’s an amazing country with an unique culture. I hope to start bringing my work here too. I’m always ready to new projects!”
Your job gives you the opportunity to work with many artists and meet famous people. Is there someone you want to remember or an important moment for you?
“As I said, I’m lucky. Fate makes me meet talented, original and interesting people. I keep the memories of all those meetings with great affection and gratitude. Once I had the honor to talk to Pierre Cardin in his restaurant after an exposition. He dedicated me his time and answered all my questions about his perception of modern art and his love for the Russian art and theater. Then, the dialogue evolved into a series of joint creative projects, in Paris and in Moscow. I’m really grateful for all the opportunities I had and those I’ll have. Right place right time, it’s my view”.
Is it difficult to organize exhibitions for others rather than yourself?
“Every exhibition is an event, a party, an important moment in which the people participates with interest. The artists who let me make their exhibitions have previously visited my ones and they know that I’ll work for them as good as I would for myself.
I have organized in Moscow a Festival called “The art of sculpture” for seven years, which has recently become international: participants come from Europe and the United States. Both famous artists and young artists take part in this Festival, all on the same level in a common artistic space. I organize many solo and group exhibitions by artists from different countries. I invest a lot in the show and I’m very demanding. I want visitors to always be able to see quality art. Every type of art, from classical to modern, from figurative to painting, must be presented on the highest professional levels”.
Some advices for aspiring artists-gallerists: three essential characteristics to be good in this job.
“Be critical with yourself,
respect your audience,
don’t stop once you’ve reached a goal”.
©Giulia Sangiorgi- All rights reserved
©Julia A.Smolenkova- All rights reserved