May I Introduce: Lina Viktor
Sometimes finding an artist or an instagram account can make your day! This was definitely the case when I discovered Lina Viktor! The concept artist from London (now based in New York) looks like a mix of Cleopatra, a Greek Goddess and Nicki Minaj. Not only does she paint worlds of blue and gold, but she seems to be a genius in making herself a part of her artwork. Somehow this seems perfectly normal. It feels like her work isn't complete without her bin in it. Her repetitive use of gold makes you recognize her work straight away. She has had her first big exhibition called "ARCADIA" (a reference to a Greek location or utopia that was known for existing in a golden age, a time of harmony, balance, and beauty in the sense of the universe) at Gallery 151 in New York. I also found a little interview she has given the Daily Beast - check out my favourite answers below and the complete version here!
Does fashion play a role in your work, or the inspiration for your work?
I guess so. It’s not fashion in regards to following labels or what’s going on during Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer. I do have particular—I’m drawn to ’90s, very decadent designers like Gianni Versace, Yves Saint Laurent in his heyday!
Are your belt and fanny-pack Versace?
Yes, I collect vintage Versace. I love it. Donatella is my role model. I think she is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. She’s pretty cool, but I would have loved to have met Gianni. He is out of this world. I feel like a lot of my work is very much inspired by his aesthetic too. I really loved his—it was almost gaudy, but—I have this term I use and I’m trying to trademark it, but I call it “minimal decadence.” Because the stuff I do is very clean, but it’s very full at the same time, very dense. And obviously the gold makes it a little more decadent. And I feel like that’s the same kind of aesthetic and palette that he had—it was sumptuous and luxurious and rich, but at the same time it didn’t overwhelm.
I’ve always done self-portraiture and kind of iconizing one’s self. Not for egotistical reasons, but I guess a big impetus on what I do is trying to elevate one’s self or trying to remember our source of greatness as humans. So this painting was based on Elizabeth I’s coronation image, and I super-imposed myself in that kind of form that she took. I’m just very much influenced by people who have been very great throughout history. In placing myself in those situations I see that other people can place themselves in the situations, elevate themselves, and realize that there is no ceiling.
How did you stumble upon using gold as your medium?
Well, I’ve always been obsessed with gold. I think humanity as a whole has always been obsessed with gold. It’s been valued and revered and sacred. It’s a form of commerce now. I’m a little bit of an astrophysics nerd; I really love stuff about the universe and learning about the origin of metals. I know that gold, for example, is made from the death of a star—a supernova. So basically, all the gold that has ever been mined on Earth today can only fit in three Olympic-sized swimming pools. It’s really a small amount—it’s a very scarce resource, hence why, I’m sure, it has so much value. But I think there is something much more implicit in the value of gold—when you see gold, real gold, it has a sort of emotional quotient to it that you can’t really get when you use fake gold. There’s an emotional reaction when people see real gold.
I can imagine it’s quite expensive to paint with gold.
It’s expensive. Obviously, I buy in bulk and I buy from a specialty gold leaf wholesaler on the West Coast. So the more you buy, per unit, it becomes a bit cheaper. But yes, it’s a bit expensive.
April 1, 2015
Labels: On track, May I introduce