Irina Kotova — ARTIST

Irina Kotova

Interview with artist Irina Kotova —

Creative isn’t the way I think, it’s the way I like to live.

1. Who are you and what do you do?
Good day to everybody, my name is Irina Kotova. I am a professional artist. This is what I live and earn for a living. The main directions of my creative activity are painting, graphics and book illustration. In addition, I give lessons for adults and children and organize workshops. I was born in 1979 in the beautiful city of Moscow region – Sergiev Posad, one of the cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.


“The game”


2. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
From early childhood I painted. Mom, noticing this, gave me to the art studio, then to art school. Later followed by training in the College of Applied Arts in Abramtsevo at the Faculty of Ceramics. In 2000 I entered the Academy of Arts named after I.E. Repin in St. Petersburg, which graduated with a gold medal and praise attestation board. It was within the walls of the Academy that I finally decided that art would become the work of my life.


“Spring has come”


3. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
Probably one of my first creative successes were author dolls, created as gifts for my own mother. I was 12 years old and there was no opportunity to buy presents. But I wanted to do something extraordinary. At first, I came up with the idea, made sketches and patterns, and then the most interesting part was to find the materials necessary for the realization of the idea. At girlfriends I exchanged postcards for a beautiful gold lace, changed inserts for toy vegetables, cut off the necessary pieces of fabric imperceptibly from mom’s stocks. In short, by all means I tried to implement the idea. The result was a touching pink horse with a foal on the back. Perhaps it was the beginning of my creative journey. First come up with something original, and then bring it to life. But the real understanding of my mission was studying at the faculty of painting at the Academy. I went there, clearly realizing that any work should express a thought, carry emotion and convey mood. Everything is important, both the technical part and the creation of an image, and this needs to be learned !!!


“Bringing the light”


4. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
One of the first unforgettable expositions in my creative career was a personal exhibition in the gallery of the Chamber of Commerce of the Business Center in Moscow. Many pictures and graphics, interesting people, attention to me and my work and perhaps the first success. Later it was another personal exhibition in the SArt gallery in Moscow. Six months of hard work in the studio, often without sleep. And then you feel such a big pleasure, seeing your brainchild in a beautiful space, surrounded by lots of people who are interested, ask various questions. You speak to journalists, giving interviews … Feeling as if you are on another planet.
Cooperation with an online-gallery the Rains Gallery has also become very significant for me. After the first publication of the article about me, a lot of people responded. It is incredible and great that now, thanks to the possibilities of the Internet, you can reach a huge number of people around the world and share your art.


“The theatre of seasons”


5. Why art?
At a certain point in my life, and this happened during my admission to the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, I realized that this would be my vocation, but rather a way of life. I decided to become an artist, because I can’t imagine myself without it, for me it’s like breathing.


“Floating in the clouds”


6. How do you work and approach your subject?
Starting every new project, always pre-do lots of sketches and searches. I learned this long ago, before entering the Academy. And, as a rule, the thought and the idea that was born at the beginning is very much transformed in the process of searching. What seemed like a sharp and interesting decision in the beginning is not perceived as original. You begin to sharpen the idea, filling it with great meaning and a thoughtful plastic solution.




7. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
If we talk about influence, in many respects to my teachers from the Academy — I. Uralov and E. Kochergin — they had it on me. These are people who taught me artistic culture, subtleties of color, picturesque secrets, and most importantly, think and realize why the artist creates this or that work. This is a constant dialogue with yourself and with the audience. What each artist bring to this world and why …
At the Academy I tried and chose for myself the best masters for studying artistic techniques and nuances of painting and composition. They were the masters of the old school – Michelangelo, Velasquez, Rembrandt Rubens, Vermeer, Piero della Francesca and others. Besides, I learned a lot from the artists of our generation – Moiseenko, Mylnikov, Uralov, Lubennikov, Savkuev, Pogosyan, Kravtsov and others . While studying at the Academy, I also gained a lot of experience, based on the work of fellow students, both in painting, composition and drawing. The very atmosphere of immersion in this environment directs you in the right way.


“Bird catchers”


8. How would you define success?
For me, success is , when you do what you love and become a sought-after professional in it. I would rather say that it is a necessary concentrated solitude. And in life with you there are those people who accept it, respect and value. These are your people, they are real. I do not try to resist it. It is simply better to lead a social life, meet and communicate with interesting people, attend various events, exhibitions, presentations and change the environment as often as possible.


“Autumn antigravitation”


9. What do you like about your work?
I cannot unequivocally say what my pictures tell, always in different ways. But in each of them I always try to put a deep meaning. Most often – this is a reflection of my emotions and feelings, my attitude to life and to people. And, of course, I believe that every picture should cause emotions and encourage the viewer to think, otherwise it does not make sense to do it. Just to decorate the interior, for me personally, this is not enough! My philosophy in art is the desire to induce the viewer to dialogue, touch on his emotional strings and discover his best spiritual qualities. I feel an inner aspiration for beauty and harmony.


“The captain’s daughter”


In addition to art, I spend a lot of time on sports – this is my passion. I love traveling and new experiences. This is my inspiration. I also try to be open to everything new. I believe that it is necessary to study all my life, improving my skills and learning new ones, to keep up with the times or even better ahead of them. One of the wonderful statements that served me as the best advice that “art should be felt with the skin of the back”.


“Gold fish”


10. What advice would you give to other artists?
To preserve your individuality, without striving for market conditions and fashion trends. Fashion passes, but the idea and uniqueness remain. And most importantly, do not lose it in pursuit of external effects.



Irina Kotova


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