I really love the visceral, all-in quality of Stockholm-based artist Mani Vertigo's paintings, which often take a silhouette or form of a person and build an abstraction around it. The scraping and dragging of the paint around the canvas is rough and yet gorgeous in its mix of pastels and darker hues.
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Hi Mani! So tell me about yourself! Are you from Stockholm originally? What has your art education been like?
I was born in Russia, first studied in Moscow in BHSAD, and later moved to UK to study Visual Communications at University of Hertfordshire. I was mostly focusing on illustrations and graphic design in my study, but was making fine art and participating in art exhibitions in the meantime. A couple years ago I moved to Stockholm.
What first interested you in pursuing art? What about painting in particular; do you have any significant influences or mentors?
I came from a creative family; my parents are architects and I spent my childhood in extraordinary and experimental interiors. My mom was always encouraging me to participate in the design process.
I started to paint when I was around 14, but I always had an urge for self-expression exploring different media. Painting still is the perfect media for me, however for some of the latest projects I used sculpture and music. In my earlier years I was trying to avoid any influence from other artists; I felt like I had to be 100% honest with myself and canvas. I still prefer to be inspired by the nature of things and people, emotions and their absence, or from footprints on the shores of the unknown inside myself. But my absolute favourite artists were and still are Basquiat and Bacon.
Can you describe a bit about your process? How do you get started on a piece? How long does a painting typically take to complete?
Normally I am working on the project or an idea, and all paintings in that period are dedicated to that idea. A project can last from 1 day to a year. But each pie ce does not take longer then one hour.
Projectsare tightly connected to changes inside me and my perception of the external happenings. Things that could change me could be anything: it could be new love, new city, person on the train or void, anything.
Can you describe your studio?
I'm moving quite often and changed a dozen studios. I'm not pretentious and basically can work anywhere if there is natural light sours and enough space. At the moment I have one room in my home that is literally a glasshouse, three walls there are made from glass :)
What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of pursuing art as a career? Have you overcome any particularly tough obstacles?
I never was focusing on the commercial site of art. It never was my main goal; actually thinking about it makes me depressed. I spend a lot of time hunting for galleries, had couple agents in different parts of the world but still, when people buy my art, it is more like a pleasant bonus. It is still easier for me to organise my own exhibition myself or in collaboration with other artists than contact a gallery. I let go of my art very easily, as I think life of the art piece just begins when it's done, and each of them has their own path.
One thing I learned is if you stay true to yourself and continue doing that you love, in due time it will work out for you.
What do you feel like is the most rewarding or exciting aspect of doing what you do?
I was thinking about it recently and I came to the conclusion that I can only feel complete when I draw.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
In the beginning of my artistic career when people started to show interest in buying my art I had no idea how much to charge for it. I asked the person I respected the most to help me, saying that I don't spend more then just an hour to make one piece. My friend told me: "It doesn't matter how long you spend to draw it, It took you your whole life to create it."
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
I'm working on a project dedicated to my move to Scandinavia, exhibition will be in Stockholm in the beginning of 2017. you can follow progress on my Instagram.
Anything else you would like to add?
"Food for the mind is like food for the body — the inputs are never the same as the outputs."
I want to wish good luck to all of young creatives!
Find more at cargocollective.com/manivertigoart!
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