- We know that your real name is Tatiana Sokolova. Why did you name yourself Akrolesta?
- Tatiana Sokolova is a very popular name. I have a lot of namesakes. It is difficult to be an artist with such common name. Somebody will think that I created something, but I didn't. For example, a pornographic novel. My children will read it and they will have a lot of questions. They have very strict moral principles, I don't want to disappoint them. That's why I created a new name and now have to keep the brand.
- I know that you don't have an art education. What prompted you to start painting?
- Immigration. It was as if I fell into the abyss between the worlds. I no longer belonged to my native country, and at the same time I was not accepted in a foreign one. The role of mother and wife, erasure of personality. Depression. I needed to create my own world and meaning, to understand who I am and what is my way.
Art has become a meditation for me. I needed to go beyond home and everyday life. I began to create for pleasure, just for fun. It was my own quiet corner, without any roles and restrictions.
- What is art?
- Hirst's dead shark is considered like art. People in the museum look at the plaque with the author's name. If they are familiar with it, they say that this is the great art. The price tag of the painting is more impressive than the work itself. You might as well put a six-digit number in a frame and it will count as art.
For centuries, people have drawn, sang and danced to have fun and interact with each other. Drawing is a way of communication for me. I do not speak Lithuanian well. In addition, there are too many languages in the world that I most likely will not have time to master, so paintings for me are another way of communication that does not require a translator.
- Do you consider yourself a professional artist?
- It's like asking me if I consider myself a professional human. We are born as artists. Many of us forget about it. Strict rules at home and school, grading system, competitions threaten creativity. It is easy to lose creativity.
I grew up in a large family. My parents divided the roles between me and my sisters: "One sister is dancing, the other is drawing, and who are you ?!" I was labeled as a daughter without talents. For a long time I wore this label and did not think that labels and price tags were meant for clothes, not for people.
In art, there is also a division into friends and foes, into professionals and dummies. We live in a world where there is constant competition, everyone is both judges and participants at the same time. For me, art is about freedom and self expression. A place where no one is judged.
Negative assessments are very painful when you are an aspiring artist. It's like yelling at a child who takes the first steps and falls.
I perfectly understand that I still have to grow. My 10,000 hours of practice are yet to come. You can say I'm a dummy. But if you think about it, we all know something better, something worse. This is just another tag, who is profi and who is not. All this labels prevent us from creating. We worry a lot about a label, instead of paying attention to more serious topics: human rights, the transience of life, the growth of aggression in the world. I consider all these topics in my works.
I draw with an accent, just like I speak a foreign lamguage. Someone will find my speech funny, others will listen and understand. I believe that accent emphasizes individuality. I try to think less about correct and incorrect. These definitions are not for art. Otherwise, you can start marching in a general formation and create boring monotonous works.
Art should give freedom and not bind hands and feet with new frames. The assessments, who is professional and who is not, are arrogant. I would prefer to refrain from evaluating myself. Others will do that for me.
I try to compare myself with myself from the past. From time to time I look through old works and if I see progress, I am glad. If not, well. Attempts and mistakes are steps to a goal. Life is the path to a better self. The search and development is endless. This is the meaning of life.
The exhibition can be visited free of charge until April 10 in Kaunas at Šv. Gertrūdos gatvė 58 from 08:00 to 17:00. (On Saturday - by agreement with the management of Kauno įvairių tautų kultūrų centras).