Art, // February 18, 2015
Marina Startseva – ARTIST
Interview with the artist Marina Startseva —
Marina Startseva was born in Moscow, Russia. She studied fine art at the studio of “Russian Cezanne,” Iossif Gurvitch and at the Moscow Fine arts and Architecture University. Since 1996 she lives and works in Strasbourg, France.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
The question “who are you? is one of the most philosophical ones and it’s difficult to answer it in few sentences. I’m Marina Startseva. I’m an artist. Actually I consider being an artist not as a job, but as a life long mission. Art is a powerful tool and it can be seen, heard or felt by many people. I believe artists have to employ their talent carefully, trying to improve the world, even though a little bit, and not use the Art in a dark and harmful way.
2. Why art?
I think I was born with it. I was always drawing, even when I was supposed to do something else, like learning figure skating. I remember drawing on ice during my training. At the age of 5-6 I started to draw portraits of my dolls and later of my friends. They were not always happy with it, but I was trying to catch not only some physical features but also represent the character of my subject.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
As I was drawing since a very early age, I don’t remember how I started. But I clearly remember how I was first named “Artist”. I was about 6 years old and I had drawn a very detailed castle with many rooms and furniture on the asphalt in front of our apartment building. A journalist passing by liked the drawing and wanted to take a picture from the upper floors and rang one of the bells. Just by coincidence it was ours. After discovering who did it, he told me “you are an artist!”. Maybe it was that moment when I started to realize who I want to be.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I have a strong preference for figurative art. Quite often I take women as my main subject. Maybe because I’m a woman myself and I have a better understanding of this matter… My favorite media? After trying different techniques and medias during my studies, I’m now working exclusively with oil. I’m very comfortable with it. I like its texture; I like the feeling of it when I spread it on canvas. I also work a lot with a palette-knife, combining the techniques of a painter and a sculptor, which allows me to give more structure to the matter and to create deeper shapes. To paint for me – it’s all about process. I just love it.
5. How do you work and approach your subjects?
Most of the time I don’t invent my subject. I have an impression that grows and takes shape out of me. It’s a mixture of my dreams, beliefs, memories, impressions from books I’ve read… Usually it’s not one specific idea that I want to communicate through my work. It’s more subtle. My paintings are reflection of my feelings, my thoughts. But on the other side, I don’t think that my art is a straight reflection of my personality. Of course there is a link, but my personal feelings are not directly translated into my paintings. I can read a very sad book and feel melancholy and then paint a light and joyful painting.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
There are a lot of talented artists, working in different styles. In a style close to mine, I particularly like Marc Chagall and Mikhail Vrubel. My favorite artwork is Vrubel’s “The demon seated.”
7. What do you like about your work?
The process. I like when from nothing appears something. But on the reverse side I become very upset when this ”something” doesn’t come out in the way I would like to.
8.What advice would you give to other artists?
I often think about the purpose of our work. I have the impression that sometimes nowadays art is trying to reveal in people some dark forces. I think it’s not right. If we can touch people in a positive way, improve somebody’s life even during few seconds, than we are fulfilling our mission. “First do no harm.”
Interview conducted and rewritten by Anna Abou-Rjeily