Interview with Yulia Ani

Hello Yulia! Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become an artist?


As an artist, my journey began at a very young age. I have always had a passion for creativity and self-expression, and that has been a driving force in my life. As a child, I was always drawing and writing, and I remember always having a sketchbook with me wherever I went. I believe that art has always been a way for me to explore my innermost thoughts and feelings.


As an adult, I pursued a path in illustration and had dreams of becoming a children's book illustrator. I was inspired by my own children and the joy we shared in reading books and exploring graphic novels together. However, during my studies, I discovered that I found more fulfillment and happiness in painting for hours on end than I did sitting in front of a computer. Eventually, I realized that painting was my true calling and made the decision to switch majors. Now, I can confidently say that being a painter is not just a job or a hobby, but an essential part of my nature and who I am.


You were born in Kamchatka, Russia, and have also lived in the USA and France. You are currently in Berlin, Germany. Has emigration influenced your creativity?


I believe that the experience of emigration has had a profound impact on me as a person and artist. From a psychological standpoint, emigration can be a challenging experience, as it involves leaving one's familiar surroundings and adapting to new cultural environments. Alone, just learning an entirely new language which you need to understand and use to be fully integrated in the new culture has really broadened my personality. They do say that we adopt a different personality while speaking a different language. My paintings often explore themes of belonging and identity, as well as the mental health states that can arise from displacement and change. Art has therapeutic qualities and can serve as a means of expression and healing, both for the artist and for the viewer. 

My experience of living in different countries has also made me learn to quickly navigate new cultural norms and ways of thinking. I have gained a deeper understanding of the human experience, and I have learned to appreciate its variety, complexity and beauty, which I hope has been reflected in my art.


Where does your new painting begin?


When I start a new painting, I have a concept or emotion in mind that I want to convey. As I lay down washes of color, I engage in an inner dialogue with the canvas and the paint, allowing the painting to emerge through this dialogue. I let the painting develop in its own way, with multiple layers of colors and brushstrokes building upon each other. The spontaneity and unpredictability of this process allow the painting to take on a life of its own, revealing new possibilities and directions that I had not considered before. The end result is a painting that captures the essence of my original inspiration, but also reflects the journey of discovery that I experienced along the way.

There is a certain color scheme in your works. Why did you choose these colors? Do you think these colors somehow affect the viewer and his perception of your works?


Color has always played an important role in art, and as Kandinsky once said, "Color is a power which directly influences the soul." I believe that color has the ability to evoke certain emotions and affect the viewer's perception of my works.

However, my choice of colors is not so much about influencing the viewer as it is a reflection of my own psychological state. I choose colors that align with the emotions I want to portray on the canvas, whether it’s something vibrant and energetic or calming and serene, I hope that they resonate with the viewer in a way that is meaningful to them.


Your works have been presented at exhibitions in different countries. In your opinion, is there a difference in the perception of work in different countries?


I think that art transcends cultural and geographical differences, connecting people on a universal level. My works aim to evoke emotions and ideas that are relevant to people regardless of their background or location. That is also why I am so fond of specifically abstract art - it is so personally interpretive and at the same time it’s a window into the shared humanity that unites us all. 


Is there any message in your works? What thoughts should they evoke in the viewer’s mind? What is the Yulia Ani artist trying to tell us in her works?


I don't have a specific message that I want to convey, what’s important to me is I want to evoke a sense of contemplation and reflection in the viewer. I want them to engage with the colors and shapes on the canvas and allow them to elicit their own unique interpretations and emotions. For me, the beauty of art lies in its ability to communicate without words, and to create connections between the artist, the work, and the viewer.


Tell us about your creative plans in the future.


I am currently excited about exploring several new avenues in my artistic practice. In my future works, I plan to experiment with incorporating more figurative elements into my abstract compositions. I believe this will allow me to create a new dialogue between form and content, and to challenge myself creatively. Additionally, I am planning to work on a larger scale, utilizing larger canvases to create immersive environments that will allow the viewer to fully engage with my art. I’ve recently moved to a new studio which I am still organizing, but it will give me some more room to work on the new stuff. I will be posting more content on my Instagram about the process. So check in with me there to see behind the process photos and videos. 

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa @lumenicka