I use formless substances to capture human souls on the flatness of my canvas.
Throughout my life I have used different drawing and painting materials. At some point, however, I understood that a life-time is not enough to truly learn something. Thus, I chose to focus on oil and charcoal. Both oil and charcoal are formless and completely pliable substances. These substances do exactly what I ask them as they are willing to subvert their own will for the sake of my vision. I can mold them into souls.
I find the soul somewhere in the expression of the individual’s face and hands. Everything else is armature. I ponder on the composition, research relevant history, perform preliminary studies, calibrate the proportions, solve anatomical problems, harmonize colors, construct perspective. All of these tasks are a prelude and to that almost holy instance when the subject, my canvas, and I will come to be one. Once I complete my preparation I stand still and dive into the irrational and enigmatic act of finding that ineffable missing entity that will render this particular person to be true. I like to think of it as the soul. Soul doesn’t come in tubes or pencils, but the success for its search certainly depends on the integrity of my prelude. Soul tends to come some late hour when time has lost its meaning because I am myself lost in the wilderness of my search. I search some more and don’t stop until the flatness of my canvas is looking back at me with the gaze I know, until I know who is looking at me without turning my head to see. Sometimes I fail. But I do it again, because I am not allowed to stop until I succeed. The word genius comes from Latin – it means guardian angel. I am far from a genius, but I continuously strive to do my part in the hope for his help in capturing my subject’s soul, one timeless night.
I engage in these artistic pursuits because my soul is thirsty for a dialogue. Sartre felt that “hell is other people.” I think Sartre was wrong — monologue is hell. I want to make sure I am not in hell, that is my motive. Each soul that I capture, I keep with me forever. This collection of souls is my treasure, a treasure that moths could never destroy, though they may one day destroy all of my work. Even when there is no-one here, I know that I am forever entitled to a dialogue.
Anasyasiya was born in Ukraine and immigrated with her parents to the US when she was fourteen. She started drawing and painting in her early childhood and received a figure-based atelier training growing up. Anastasiya’s meandering path in visual arts educational took her through the rigor of earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in architecture from The Cooper Union and University of Texas at Arlington, respectively. She has received additional training with established realist painters both privately and in workshops. The concoction of architectural rigor, purity of realism and strong personal narrative define Anastasiya’s work today. She has been awarded recognition by the National Portrait Society, Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Poets Artists, and many others. Anastasiya’s work has been published in Beautiful Bizarre, and many Goss183 issues. Anastasiya’s work is available at by 33 Contemporary gallery in Chicago. Her work is also found in private collections across United States as well as Germany, Russia and Ukraine. Currently, Anastasiya is teaching design and drawing studios at the University of Texas in Arlington, in addition to workshops, and private classes, while working fervently in her studio in Dallas.