In the Studio with Yana Medow

In the studio with Yana Medow, whose practice is fascinated by the plasticity and beauty of the human body and flickering light reflections. We met with Yana to tell us more about growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia, their greatest influences, and unexpected sources of inspiration.

When did you first begin to see yourself as an artist?

I went to art school from an early age. At first, I perceived art as entertainment, but later on I decided to choose art as my profession. After school I decided to enter the art academy.

Where are you from and what was your upbringing like?

I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. My upbringing was pretty strict, I have always been forced to study excellent, get only higher marks. Perhaps from childhood I lacked freedom and sloppiness in my life)  maybe that’s why I decided to become an artist because for me it’s the highest liberty and freedom of self expression.

Paint us a picture of your artistic journey. What inspired you to first pursue, and then continue to practice artistic work? 

My mom was a tour guide. Thanks to her, I knew by heart excursions in art museums in the city, in this way, since childhood, I spent a lot of time surrounded by paintings by famous and not so artists from all over the world. Yes, since childhood I had a dream to become an artist. At first I admired the skill of the great masters, then I realized that this is an excellent way to communicate with the whole world in the One Language of Art, expressing my best thoughts and ideas. Of course, when I found a response to my works from the audience, I realized that I am on the right track.

What’s the message of your work? Where do they come from? 

Basically what I want to depict in my works is the beauty and plasticity of the human body. My style of painting is a bit grotesque and exaggerated. But my characters always carry a lot of love, they are a little naive a little funny, and they always tell their true life stories.

Who & what are your greatest influences?  

Probably the painters that have influenced me are Katherine Bradford, Cy Twombly and Yayoi Kusama. 

An unexpected source of inspiration?

Except that I like to observe people. I like to watch the water when it reflects the sun in the pool or in the forest lake or the sea, I like to watch the light come through the curtains into the home, when dusk falls on the street, the lights are lit. In all, I like to watch the glare and flickering play of light I find it an inspiring and soothing scene.

What do you want people to take from your work when they view it?

I would like people to see some beauty in my paintings maybe recognize themselves. When I create an art, I am, as it were, on both sides, both from the side of the viewer and from within myself.

What events in your life have mobilized change in your practice?

Yes, I started from the painting of classical art by copying the old masters at the art academy. Then I tried to find my style, now I can say my style is more grotesque and abstract. And I keep experimenting.

What are your ideal conditions or catalyst for creating a “good” piece of work?

When the image conceived in my head is quite accurately reproduced on the canvas.

Tell us the inspiration behind your works?

For example, the work “Baywatch” was inspired by the movie Baywatch 1989 y.  starring Pamela Anderson. The style of this movie is positioned as a drama, but I find this work is a bit naive slightly grotesque and very bright at the same time. I was inspired by its gorgeous characters.

Something in the future you hope to explore?

In the future, I would like to explore more abstract painting techniques and find a way to mix it with figurative painting.