Upper School pupil Varvara describes her Art & Life as an Art Scholar

Hi, my name is Varvara and I’m here to tell you a little bit about Art department and life as an Art scholar. I became an Art scholar in Form 2 when I was studying in Lower School.

When people ask me “what’s my artwork like?” that question always catches me out. I can’t describe it in one word. I love exploring and mixing things together, including concepts and materials. Collaging, printmaking, painting, sculpture, textiles work, digital art, sketching.  I’m up for anything! 

My favourite thing while creating a piece of artwork is to mix the opposites. That applies to materials and concepts. For example, making something cute and fluffy, like a kitten, into a monstrous creature. I love exploring new techniques and intertwining them with the known ones. 

My favourite materials to work with are watercolours and ink. I love the unpredictable nature of these liquids, they only give you one chance in the artwork and you have to think creatively how to play around accidental mistakes. With watercolours and ink, one stroke of the brush is enough to complete half of the drawing. You let the water do all of the magic, creating unique patterns and gradients. 

My favourite 3D material to work with is white clay. I’ve been exploring the world of sculpture for 3 years and I really enjoyed the journey it has taken me through. Trying out different clays with unique textures, each requiring a different approach, I have figured out, that the white clay is the best for me. In my works you will see a lot of textured surfaces with fine details imitating organic forms, this is a repeated detail that you will see in my sculptures. 

Most of my inspirations come from my life experiences. Any interesting events, that happened, something that I saw - it all goes through a process of simplification and association in my head, ending up as an artwork. Sometimes, browsing through images, on Pinterest, gives me an inspirational kick, which makes me want to sit down with a paper and a pencil. Artworks of other artists are interesting to look at. Sometimes if I see an interesting technique I would want to try it out myself, which motivates me to work. 

Ever since I was little, I can remember my crazy obsession with dragons (still present). I would sit down and draw dragons all over the page, making little figures out of play dough, folding origami. These mythical creatures got me into art pretty quickly. I always had parents and friends on my side, supporting my passion, which motivated me to do more art. My parents thought it would be a good idea to take my artistic skills a bit further and I was studying with my lovely art teacher for 6 years (since the age of 6). She taught me classical painting, which is the base for most of the art in Russian culture. 

At the moment I’ve started my Form 7 project and my chosen theme for the year is ‘Glitch’. It gives me a wide range of niches and deep topics to talk about, such as Psychological issues. But I am still working on my final piece for Form 6 work. Last year’s project is based on the concept of “double face” characters. Pretending to be innocent, horrible creature crawl into our lives.  

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received from someone was “practice”. Practice and your skill are going to improve. Practice and the idea generator in your head will create better concepts than before. Practice and each time try out something new, walk out of your comfort zone and even if a technique is not working for you, the experience from the unsuccessful project is going to help in a future piece of work. 

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