The TAX Collection Curation Creation Collabroation

Alina Zamanova | Artist Spotlight

“I am an artist who explores the concept of ugliness and beauty. My artworks are the representation of my diverse emotions and the concept of a non stereotypical beauty. My art practice includes paintings, ceramic objects, illustrations and art direction. I work in a mixed media technique, which includes acrylic, pastels, tape , oil sticks on canvas or paper. I practise layering different colours and textures to create a unique face or to show a diverse beauty of a female body. I want to show the beauty of diversity of people, faces, postures, feelings in my paintings. During the creative process I usually work straight on a final piece, where I put all of my energy and movement in it. When I work in my studio, I feel emotionally powered and all of my paintings have the same spirit. I want people to feel and experience something unique or weird while looking at my art. I started my research on ugliness back in 2015, during my dissertation at the University of the Arts London. Since then I have been collaborating with brands, musicians, photographers and participating in exhibitions in London and NYC.” 

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How do you describe your work?

In two words: Stay Ugly.

What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

I love to have a total freedom in my art, that is why I am always experimenting and trying new mediums and ways to share my vision. When I work on canvas I am using mostly acrylic and oil pastels, when I am collaborating with photographers I paint over model’s bodies or over final photographs. For the past 6 month I am experimenting with creating some ugly ceramic objects, which is very meditative. The main focus for me is my art, and the unlimited possibilities I can work on.

Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist?

I grew up in Ukraine, and when I turned 18 I moved to London. I think that I was born artistically in London, and British culture really shaped my aesthetics and preferences in Art and fashion. That city opened up my creativity and the whole concept of ugliness started to appear in my head and in my art. I learned a lot from my tutors from the University of the Arts London, where I studied, and from my friends and colleagues. The main lesson I think is to stay true to yourself, and think outside of the box.

What triggers your imagination?

Ugliness, emotions, stories, dreams. It does not mean I am painting all that I see in my dreams, but I enjoy seeing nice stories when I am asleep.

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What are some instagram accounts or artists that you particularly enjoy / are inspired from?

I love @uglyworldwide and her honest aesthetics. I met her few years ago in SHOWstudio during one project called StyleShootDraw and the moment I saw her I knew she is my muse and I have already painted her so many times without knowing her before. I continue to be inspired by her strength and her ability to be honest with herself and her audience, that is why she is my muse for so long.

What was your dream growing up as a child?

I do not really remember, but I loved dancing and drawing. I knew I would be involved in something creative since I was 10 years old.

What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?

Going to repeat myself , but staying true to myself and my art. I am telling my story, and my style is evolving and I feel that giving as much freedom to your thoughts and ideas as possible would respond positive to your art career. I am at the stage where I am starting to be involved in more art exhibitions and projects, since I graduated back in 2015. And the main thing now is to continue to be open to possibilities and just keep creating every day.

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Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

When I finished high school (it was when I turned 17 years old), I enrolled in a first year of the University here in Kyiv, Ukraine. After the first semester I knew that this is not gonna work for me, and I started to look for opportunities further. That is how my life changed, and I moved to London when I turned 18. One year has changed everything in my life. And what has changed my art career? Exactly the moment on my last year of my Bachelor degree in London, where I was supposed to paint life model wearing a new collection by one graduate designer. I decided to try painting on black paper, and that was the moment my style literary just poured on to the paper. It was incredible feeling. After that I have never stopped experimenting and letting myself go honest in my art.

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What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

My work is my life and I am letting everyone in to experience it with me. It is sometimes hard and risky to be that open, but that is who I am. Every single painting I make, every single sketch, project, portrait, I am proud of them all. I try to create with honesty and all my “babes” are very important to me.

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

I think you define “art” yourself. Whatever you believe in your work shapes its reality. Just give your works energy and emotions, and they will speak for themselves.