Aritst interview 2010.10.23



Over the next few days (and weeks) I will be getting to know the artists a little better by asking them the same 26 questions in the form of an interview. The transcriptions have been edited but just fractionally; I have exchanged single words or removed words or added words (if I felt it would clarify a particular point) but only where absolutely necessary since I wanted to try to keep the original dialogue as pure as possible for the sake of humanity.

Here, we have ILGVARS ZALANS from LATVIA:

What made you apply for the Kamiyama Artist in Residence program?
It's normal for a lot of European Artists to want to do something art-related in Japan because Japan is a special place in the World. Maybe a bit like a fairytale!

Describe your work in one word

Do you have a special method for generating your ideas?
My main method is that there is no method at all.

What is the most frightening experience you have ever had?
I don't know scary. Maybe I am so naïve; yes, I am so naïve.

What is your favourite Japanese food?
I am in the process of finding my favourite Japanese food.

What do you enjoy most about creating art?
The most enjoyable moment is when I know or I feel that it is possible to finish it (the artwork). I wouldn't say ‘enjoy' it is more like some kind of therapy for my soul. When I make art, I am healing myself. I need to receive some energy for surviving in this World. Buddha gave me a body and because Buddha has no hands, I am here to realise some of his ideas. My soul needs silence and art gives me this silence.

What is the process behind creating your art?
It's a very attractive process. The attractive part is my VISA account balance; this is a very important part of the process! So, it's sometimes a good exercise just to try and create my artworks.

How did you discover your passion for art?
I don't know how to say in English. Please never ask me this question again.

Do you think you have a particular technique/style?
It's not a question. A more important question for me: if you are talking about personality then any personality has a style. Of course, everything you do is unique and some people call this style. But now, it's a way to describe some primitive understanding of promotion. When you are talking with your girlfriend, I don't think she is interested in your style, more perhaps in your wallet or your personality… What is style? Perhaps when I am earning money I have some style.

Do you find art difficult?
If it were possible not to create art then I would prefer not to create art.


What do you think about face-shaped processed ham?
This is a typical viewpoint of European people about the Japanese; they don't understand anything just only see Japan's surface: the first layer, but they are not so simple, Japan isn't a fairytale.

How do you feel in Kamiyama?
This is not a good question.

Do you think you have a role as a KAIR?
No, I really appreciate that Green Valley invited me, my personality, here to do something here. I think it is a very brave decision and I am really very happy about it. You question before about how I feel in Kamiyama? It's a very personal and intimate question if we are taking it seriously. I feel a sense of obligation, like a mission to create something here. I don't want to be on a mission anywhere in the World, but I simply want to come here and do something.

How would you like your art to relate to Kamiyama and its residents?
It's a very good project and I think they could do it with musicians or with some other kind of creative person. They could invite the three best carpenters in the World, every year! I think it will be a successful residency for Zalans here, because I have no other choice. I am here for learning and gaining new experience.

What would chairs look like if our knees were upside-down?
Well, I remember my first experience in Japan in the first five minutes, when I almost broke my body when I had my dinner in a restaurant and after this, I take care about all chairs. They are very important for me.

What other types of work have you done and how does it relate to your art?
I prefer not to do any job at all. I am not here (in this World) to do some job. Please don't ask me this question. I am here on this planet for holidays. I am not here for working days. If you want to know about working and jobs then go and have an interview with some guy on the street who works in a shoe factory or something.

What do you dislike about your work?
Since all my artwork is connected to my personality, I cannot answer your question honestly.

What is the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
If i want to do something extreme I always have people to support me and to stop me.

In your opinion, how important is art to society?
It is not important at all. It is very sad for me because I am doing art but this question is connected with how ethical society is. If society is about money and surviving then there is no place for art at all.

What is your favourite outfit?
You must have very good quality shoes. Everything else depends on the situation.

Who is your least favourite famous artist/creator and why?
It changes all the time because we are all changing our processes. But, there are two: Giotto, a painter from the 13th century and the second is a French painter from the 19th century.

Can you describe Kamiyama in one word?
Pale green.

What would you like for your birthday? (Please do not expect anything….)
It's very funny because in the last twenty years I have not celebrated my birthday in my own country. I think the main present is to be here.

How do you feel when you present your work to the public?
I cannot understand artists who are so shy, who when they are asked about their work they have no comment. If you are doing art then you must be powerful enough to describe what you are doing. It maybe sometimes sounds little bit funny but people are different and not all people have an education in art, but you must be able talk with them, even in broken English!

If you are a vegetable, what kind would you be?
It is not possible for Zalans to be a vegetable. I am more related to cats or something like that.

Do you have a weakness?
No, I am free of weakness.


NEXT: Midori Hirota



Itoi-san - Kanuma soil. Likes salmon sashimi, dislikes entrails of sea cucumber. Ru-san - Lancashire hotpot. Creative type. Likes being outdoors. Dislikes status. Together we are ITOI ARTS a project in divergent creativity in the mountains of Shikoku, Japan. 四国の山奥、多様な創作、アートとは。 //イベント時のみオープン// \\ふだんはただの家//

Articles by itoi+ru-san


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