Interview with Russian street artist Stanislava Verner

At Fontannaya Ulitsa, 24 in Vladivostok, Russia. Stanislava Verner: Every step you took, every day you lived, it seemed overpowering. Fear is not a barrier, it is an unlocked door that is not difficult to enter. And when you walk through that door, you leave all doubts behind.

Interview with Stanislava Verner

Russian street artist Stanislava Verners socials: Instagram // Patreon

When, how and why did you become an artist?

Stanislava Verner: Since childhood I have been drawing with my twin sister Yaroslava. When we were little, our mother left us for a long time with our grandmother in the village. I remember we missed her a lot. I remember clearly how my sister and I drew in the evenings, sitting together in the room. We dreamed that when our mother returns, we will give her all our drawings. Mother had a great influence on me, thanks to her I became an artist. She is a very creative and highly moral person, but she didn’t become an artist because she raised five children alone. She showed me how to draw easily, so, I didn’t attend art school. Mom has always been my support and mentor in creativity, she gave me an understanding of the high value of art. She dreamed of becoming an artist herself, so I think she did everything she could for me and my sister to become artists.

After leaving school, I entered the art college in the direction of painting. After two years of study I started to hate painting and learning process, because I was forced to draw only what educational program requires. It was very hard for me, I had no time, no energy to create what I was interested in and what really inspired me. I was taught academic drawing and Russian realistic painting, it was very boring and difficult. But I graduated from art college with honors.

I’m very ambitious, it is very important for me to leave a mark. I want to get high results from myself and my art, to give the world the best I can do. Since childhood I have had a constant desire to create something great. Therefore, I tried not to waste time, create something, improve my skills, draw at least a little every day. Growing up, I didn’t draw much, but I did it on a regular basis. I knew that I will be an artist, that I should strive for perfection, that this is my future. I painted using photographs, tried to achieve maximum similarity and realism, copied details from paintings by old masters.

I’m inspired by the artists of the past, Russian old masters, such as Aivazovsky, Shishkin, Repin, Kramskoy, Kiprensky, Savrasov. But not only Russian artists, also Renaissance painters, such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt. Comparing myself to them, I set myself a very high bar. So I feel insignificant and depressed most of the time. I still haven’t created anything worthy for which i could respect myself as an artist.

How do you see your role as an artist today?

Stanislava Verner: I want to give the world something beautiful from me. This desire in me is very strong. Of course, this is my way of self-expression. I show outside what is inside of me, my feelings, thoughts, worries, fears. It is a process of self-discovery. My art is a reflection of me, and I am a reflection of reality. Reality is the reason for my art. My art allows me to understand reality, feel it deeper, find my place in it.

In all my pictures there is no specific message, I just show people images that suddenly appear in me. These images evoke a positive reaction from my viewers, even if the image is disturbing.

The aesthetics and beauty of the picture is very important to me so that it catches the eye, but, first of all, it is important for me to embody my feelings, thoughts, and express myself. I want to be heard and understood through my art, I want people to sea my artworks. Painting on the street walls allows me to be seen by many people. I know that murals are short-lived, but it’s better than keeping all my artworks at home, not seen by anyone. I want to be seen now, in this moment. All my best pictures appeared suddenly, I just went outside at night, while everyone was asleep, and implemented my idea for several hours. I get the deepest satisfaction from the realization of my images and knowing that a lot of people will immediately see my artwork. The main reason I draw on the street is my hope that people will understand me, feel the same as me, get that I understand their feelings too.

I think my desire to paint on the street was due to the feeling of loneliness and unfulfillment. Because of melancholy, I didn’t do anything worthy for a long time. I just wanted to hide from everything. But then I realized that in fact feelings, even negative ones, are also inspiration, fuel for mooving forward. I started do street-art based on these feelings. I found that in this way art can take me to the next level.

How would you describe your working method?

Stanislava Verner:

1. Don’t prepare and wait too long, just go and do as fast as possible.
2. Don’t ask anyone for help and advice.
3.Take some colors, mostly black and white acrylic paints, and three colors of spray cans, white, dark grey and black.
4. Find the wall
5. Complete artwork quickly, while everyone is asleep
6. Show it on Instagram

I think it is very important for artist to maintain social networks, show artworks to a larger audience.

Can you name some contemporary works of art or projects that inspire you?

Stanislava Verner: Now I’m very inspired by a modern artist Miles Johnston, whose skill in drawing and painting is at a very high level. He primarily works in graphite and oils, creates works with a deep emotional resonance. He uses the human form to attempt to process the intensity and profound strangeness of the collective human experience.

I also inspired by French street artist JR. His art carries the message of anti-establishment, anti-elitism, and is focused on communities and forgotten places. He makes use of abandoned places, plastering images of faces onto them that are both soulful and humorous. The world is really his canvas.

How can artists be paid for their work and at the same time maintain a critical attitude towards the commercial art market and public funding partners?

Stanislava Verner: I believe that artist can get real money for his work if he puts soul into his creations, if he creates for the sake of creativity, not earning money, if he pursues goal higher than money. Because I know people feel it. And if they find in artist’s creations something that in tune with them, they will pay artist because they understand the value of his art personally for themselves. But artist can also get money through his craft, paint pictures that are now fashionable, create decor and other things.. try to sell it on different market places, create an online store. Artist can paint works to order if he agrees to it. He can do whatever he chooses to make money.

From my own experience, I realized that custom-made work, drawing other people’s ideas that are not interested to me, lead to burnout. And you no longer want to create, because you are sick of the fact that you are betray yourself, using your skills to satisfy not your own creative requests, but for making money by satisfying other people’s requests. I believe that if you practice and develop what you really like, what you put your soul into, then it will bring you prosperity and recognition from people. Because you do it for yourself, you love and respect yourself, if you make you own art, people will notice it.

What would I change in the street art world?

Stanislava Verner: I want street art to be legal. In my country, Russia, I can’t just go out in the daylight and paint what I want. I always take risks when I do street art, because street art in Russia is equal to vandalism. Even grandmothers yell at me, many passers-by ask stupid questions, devaluing my art and efforts. People are also destroying the murals because they also think it is illegal. I would like street art to live a long time and be deservedly recognized.

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