Friday, February 27, 2009

SASHA PANYUTA - Interview of the artist

We have fallen in love with Russian Born artist Sasha Panyuta. Her work is moving, arousing and filled with emotion. Her use of color and composition calm the eye and soothe the senses.
To see more of her work you can visit her web site at

1 ) Where do you find your inspiration?
I recently watched "The Corporation", it’s an incredible documentary about how huge corporations are fucking society, that was pretty inspiring.

2 )What lead you to fall in love with painting?
Realizing that almost anything else I did felt like total bullshit.

3 ) Your work is filled with so much emotion. Do your subjects sit for
you or do you create your artwork for memory or photos?

Usually I use photos. Sometimes I set up photo shoots with specific props and costumes and tell my models how they're supposed to be feeling in the moment. Sometimes I’ll just snap a bunch of photos of someone being themselves, but in the end the painting always comes out much different than the photo.

4 ) Where did you study and where are you from and where do you live/work now?
I was born in Russia on the Kamchatka penninsula (its across from Alaska). I moved to the States when I was 6 and have been living in New York City since I was 7. I got my BFA at Parsons here in the city, and right now I still live and work in the city.

5) When did you start making art?
I remember copying Disney cartoons with my grandmother when I was about 7. I went to an art high school so I guess my first big artistic endeavor was in 8th grade when I had to put together a portfolio to apply there.

6) How do you choose your subjects?
Sometimes I’ll meet someone with a really intense look and I feel like I just have to paint them, but that’s pretty rare. Often times I’ll come up with some sort of project and get desperate for models, so I’ll ask anyone I know who I think is even remotely interesting looking. I was surprised to find out how many people don’t feel comfortable having their portrait painted. I also use my friends and myself a lot, just because we’re available and willing. Then there are other times when I get commissions or am working on a specific project where I don’t have a choice of model.

7) How long does your average piece take to complete?
It really depends, some take 2 days some take 3 months.

8) Is acrylic your favorite painting medium, do you work with other
mediums as well?
I love acrylic because it allows me to be fast and relatively neat. As you can see from my work I’m not so much into blending colors, so the fast drying time of acrylic is great for that. In the first painting class I ever took they made us paint with acrylic, guess they didn’t trust 15 year olds with oil, and so it stuck. I painted a few paintings with oil back at Parsons but I can’t really deal with the chemicals and the dirty paintbrushes. Maybe when I get a nice huge studio and an assistant I’ll give oils another try.

9 ) Who are some of your favorite artists past and present?
I just saw the Marlene Dumas exhibit at the MOMA, I like some of her stuff. Jenny Saville is great with figures and flesh. Egon Schiele is always inspiring. But I’m more moved by work that is completely different from mine, there is a piece by the artist Paul Lee that I saw about a year ago in an exhibit in Chelsea, it’s a black cotton towel with the center cut out and flapping down hanging on a wall, I really loved that piece, I guess because its so different form anything I would ever make, kind of forces me to consider my creative process in a totally different way.

10 ) What are you working on now?
Some paintings for a show I’m planning with a photographer friend of mine.