The alias of the Ukrainian artist and painter Oleksii Bordusov

Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Pavel Fedorov

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What does art mean to you?
First of all, art to me is a worldview, a philosophy of existence, seeking the self and the universe, working with materials, an attempt to achieve mastery and perfection, and overall a way to understand that perfection exists. I also believe that

art is an opportunity to look beyond the visible world, and not in a religious concept, but in the realms of your personal perception and through your feelings. This is what provides a person with extraordinary opportunities.

What have you learned through your art projects both personally and professionally?
I’ve learned to be patient and to observe nature, to see the beauty of things or, oppositely, their ugliness. For me, the personal and professional factors have long been united. Firstly, I would separate projects from regular studio work, because projects often involve traveling and creating murals, which is really hard work, both physically and mentally because you work on a large area for a limited time at high altitudes and the weather conditions often make things even more difficult. Therefore, each piece of work on a wall is a unique experience that takes blood and sweat. Working in a studio is completely different – it’s something contemplative and meditative. In the studio I work on canvases, drawings, develop ideas and sketches. Therefore, the main part of my life and work is a studio existence, where I also live, by the way.

Gnosis” mural, created in New York, Manhattan in November 2019 as part of the Street Art For Mankind charity project. The work was dedicated to the importance of education, but for me the goal was not to directly explore the topic, meaning that I think the work turned out to be open to numerous interpretations.  
I worked on it for 8 days. It’s located in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.
The creation process was a test for me as it only took 8 days to create this piece of work but the wall was quite large. The weather conditions were also very hard to work in- the temperature dropped to zero, the paint froze and the cold wind from the sea was felt strongly between the skyscrapers.
But despite the difficulties, I was satisfied with the result.

What is your personal definition of beauty? How do you overall integrate beauty into your work and does your view on beauty alters over time?
The concept of beauty, of course, is very subjective, but I can say that for me it’s foremost a feeling, something that gives me a sense of joy and admiration. And when it comes to what I do, beauty is in the ideas. For me, an idea is beauty in its purest form. An idea is intangible, it inspires, motivates, and calls for action. And if this idea is successfully implemented in the work, then the beauty materializes and becomes art.

It’s no coincidence that love or being in love has the same properties as ideas, so I consider love and creative ideas to be a related phenomena.

What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
Perhaps the most beautiful moment was when I truly fell in love.

Mural “Icarus“, created in Mexico City, as part of The Beauty Project Mexico, in April 2017. This work is my interpretation of the myth of Icarus, that is, my modern vision of it.
The process of its creation turned out to be a test for me because it was very dangerous to work due to unreliable work equipment at high altitudes.

What factors form your identity the most?
The main factor for me is the acknowledgment that I am a free person. The fact that I myself have the opportunity to shape my life and personality, to decide what interests me and what doesn’t.

Was there ever a time when you were fed up with art?
I’m actually not that big of an art admirer, even though I create it myself. I don’t go to exhibitions or museums that often, but it’s good that I have the opportunity to follow the work of my favorite artists on the Internet or to even communicate with them in person. That’s why I don’t have a feeling of art being oversaturated since I only follow things that really interest me. And if you mean in regard to my personal art, then yes, from time to time I need to switch my attention to something else, like traveling or reading books.

День та Ніч’ [Day and Night] mural, created on the island of Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands in March 2019
The idea of the work is based on a dualistic concept, the opposing forces of the dark and the light, the good and evil, and so on. It was also based on the research of the history of islands and their mythology. The nature of the island itself is very ascetic, outwardly resembling Mars, with barely any plants. Therefore, drawing there was very unusual and memorable.

Do you think it’s possible to objectively evaluate a piece of art?
An objective assessment for oneself is first and foremost the feelings that a work of art evokes in you. But an objective assessment of art in general, in relation to society and the time in which it exists or has existed, is quite a different matter. I don’t think that such an objective assessment exists.

One can argue that nowadays people are fascinated by simpler things. Does this bother you? Do you think that art should always have a deeper meaning?
I wouldn’t sacralize art, especially modern art. It’s a good thing that contemporary art has finally shifted far away from its dependence on religious concepts, which gave it a sense of something deep and sublime, yet in the religious subculture it was still conveyed a secondary and supplementary significance. That is, I want to say that the simplicity you are talking about may be exactly what art was missing.

An occurence that I really don’t like in contemporary art is the tendency to infantilism. It really bothers me.

Studio Painting “The Annunciation“. Oil on canvas.

What fictional reality would you like to explore?
I live in the reality that I myself create. Meaning that I draw what I see around me, or rather, the way I perceive it. Maybe I would like to visit some realities created by some of my favorite artists.

Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

Every artist has his or her own vision of reality, and it is their true reality. In my opinion, an artist who imitates is a bad artist.

Do you think that the real world is better than a fictional one?

Fantasy and fiction form a myth, and mythology is what formed the culture of mankind, that is, everything is combined – without fiction there would be no reality as we know it.

Studio painting “Path Through The Valley Of Fata Morgana“. Acrylic and watercolor on paper.

What makes up happiness?
Sometimes the feeling of happiness arises quite suddenly, without any particular reason. These are, for example, moments of happiness related to my family, happiness from talking with my friends, the feeling of happiness and satisfaction from a successfully executed job, or happiness when I was able to help someone. I think that there is no universal definition of happiness.

Looking back at your life, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of some of my work and some of my projects, which in my opinion turned out well, and were very difficult to execute. That is those projects that helped me evolve, overcome obstacles, and reach a higher level. I hope that the greatest achievements are still ahead.

What was the wisest thing you’ve heard in your life and do you tend to follow this piece of wisdom yourself?

“The vital thing is to remain human, regardless of the circumstances.”

I try.

What is your goal as an artist?
There is no ultimate goal. Creativity is a process that I enjoy.

What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
I would like to hear a question about a specific project I worked on. So here’s one:

‘Time Gate’

This work was very difficult to do because the location of it is in a Mexican rainforest in Quintana Roo. I worked on this art object for about a month in the moisture and heat of the jungle surrounded by a bunch of mosquitoes. This object is not just a mural. I designed the structure – a small building that was built with the help of locals, descendants of the Maya Indians. Then I painted this building on all sides. The narrative of the piece is devoted to time and its relativity, to nature, and civilization.

Translation: Elena Savlokhova