Exclusive Interview with Zmiya Mochoruk by iva kancheska 30/08 /2010
Controversial, avant-garde, mystic and exhibitionist, Zmiya Mochoruk will tell us about his art, his dark world...
Q: How did you get into painting? Were you an artistic child or was it something you discovered later in life?
A: I can't remember a time in my life when I was not working on some kind of art in one way or another, throughout my schooling, beginning in pre-kindergarten. I guess, after I was really sick. I think it started then, I would do that instead of listen to anyone or anything. This was a source of some concern amongst my parents and teachers, I remember having to go in for a lot of tests around that time to see whether my brain was fried or not. (The jury is still out)
Q: Do you remember your first painting, If so what was it?
A: First painting, well, I think that it was of my mother standing with a ghost. First drawing that I remember was of an elephant. Done in crayon.
Q: How has your work evolved over the years?
A: I am trying to learn to paint from a point of origin, where the message begins, where it takes shape, paint from there forward. as opposed to painting from how I feel about the message backwards. That is where I am trying to get to now. From the saying of it, not from the hearing of it. Does that make sense? I believe that why you paint, the message, is the most critical point, more critical even than the image. I don't believe in painting for fun, painting with nothing to say, that's just masturbation and narcissism.
Q: Do you have any influences?
A: I'm not sure. I spent a lot of time looking at old paintings when I was young, biblical things, frescos, iconography that kind of thing. That and medical books both with anatomy and with horrible disfigurements and diseases, abnormalities and birth-defects... I guess god was the artist there eh? However, I like Gustav Diore, Caravaggio, I adore Van Gogh, though mostly for how he lived, Monet, Levi Durmer etc. . .
Q: What inspires you to paint and how you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
A: My muses inspire me. Their messages, visions and riddles are what I try to figure out on canvas.
Q: Many of your compositions features dark motives. What is their significance? Is there any message?
A: That is a tough one. Each one has it's own significances, but the message is something that I would prefer the viewer discern for themselves.
Q: What is your favorite art medium?
A: Oil paint. Skin and ink is a close second.
Q: How long does it typically take you to complete a finished work, and how you know when a piece is done?
A: Sometimes several hours, like 'Grim Eden' which was 6' x 4' and took 11hrs.Sometimes several weeks. I guess that you know when a piece is finished when the sigh comes. When you look at what you've done and sigh.
Q: How much time was necessary to develop your drawing skills to this great level?
A: It is most definitely still developing, and I am far far from great. But my ego thanks to you.
Q: You're an extremely talented and creative person. Your other interest outside painting is tattooing. How long have you been tattooing?
A: (Again thank you) My greatest interest and passion lie in spirituality, theology and I guess you would call it occultism. I've been tattooing for 10 or 11 years now.
Q: What do you prefer to paint or to tattoo?
A: I absolutely prefer to paint. However, tattooing is far and away more fun.
Q: Do you get caught up in that darkness emotionally when you tattoo/paint or you keep that separate?
A: I think that there is a separation there, but I think that it comes from the act of doing either. It might be a bit like exorcizing my demons so to speak, I can get it out of my head onto a piece of cloth for people to look at or onto someone's body for them to carry for me.
Q: Your tattoo style reminds me of your paintings. Do you remember where and when your love and fascination for that style first began?
A: Hm, I think that the 'style' found me, I try and catch hold of what I see when. I'm not looking with my eyes. I will say that, since I started tattooing I have always made an effort to merge the two, to do on skin, as closely as I can, what I do on canvas.
Q: Are the drawing skills important to make a great art piece on skin?
A: Absolutely. Otherwise a machine could do it. The art is what gives it the soul.
Q: What is the sickest painting that you have ever done?
A: I don't know, often the ones that I feel will get the greatest reaction fall on deaf eyes and the ones that I am less enamored with win me the most accolades.
Q: Where is the "red line" that you can not press?
A: I haven't found it yet. as long as it is not dishonest it passes.
Q: As an artist, what are some of your greatest challenges or obstacles you face when making your art?
A: Staying centered, staying grounded. Not getting swept away with at single piece and being owned by it.
Q: What reaction from a viewer makes you happiest?
A: The one that cracks their glass bubble. even just a little bit.
Q: Your art has a many violated themes. Have you ever been criticized?
A: Yes, absolutely I have. But antagonism masks an inability to cope and I appreciate that.
Q: Since your style is well-defined, have you ever thought to change it and start doing something completely different?
A: I am always looking at improving or modifying my technique, and I think that in subtle ways it is always evolving.
Q: What are the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?
A: It is the best of all possible jobs. That being said, it is not without its drawbacks (but what is). The pay is inconsistent and it is like self imposed manic depression ride, complete with constant anxiety and a never ending search for the next reason to paint.
Q: How do you feel after "Provocateur" Show? Was that a great opportunity to explain your art and get new inspiration?
A: It was great, a very enjoyable evening and I hope that we gave everyone a show, and maybe something to
talk about. Showing with so many talented people including Clive Barker was a trip. Veronika has put together a really great thing there and I look forward to showing with her again very soon.
Q: Where did you see yourself in 10 years as a painter or a professional tattoo artist?
A: In ten years I will still be doing both. I have still so much to do in both realms, and I think that I have come to a balance with them, a kind of symbiosis that I would be afraid of disturbing.
Q: Do you have any advice for the aspiring artists?
A: Find what moves you, find a way to make it move someone else. My greatest and deepest thanks Iva. Please do keep in touch. This has been a very helpful process for me, one that I greatly appreciate. Zmiya https://www.facebook.com/zmiya