LITTLE BIG PORTRAIT of ZOIA SKOROPADENKO
MILK. Blue. Ruver Seine" Sculpted oil. 2017
"Coffee drinkers" Linogravure on paper
TRULY INSPIRED !
Although she has been a Monaco resident for many years, she is spending most of her time travelling around the world. Zoia Skoropadenko, the Ukrainian artist who created the remarkable exhibition series “Torso” where she represented torsos by using an octopus, keeps exploring different artistic techniques and multiplies her projects in the continuous artistic research. She talks to us about what inspires her, the latest projects and of course, her local tips!
From the moment we meet, Zoia's passion for her work is striking. She doesn’t separate from her notebook and keeps drawing small sketches as we speak. "I always knew I was an artist” she says, “like Lady Gaga would say: I was born like this!”- She adds with a smile. "I've always loved drawing and painting. It’ is something natural for me. I draw all the time, for example I could be drawing the breakfast I am eating in the morning." Although Zoia’s parents sent her to an art school in Ukraine when she was young, it was in Monaco that she became a “professional artist. "It is here I sold my first artwork, 17 years ago to an art collector from Malta. That sale gave me a real confidence boost and made me feel recognised as an artist.”
A world of inspiration
Zoia is continuously searching for inspiration. She observes the world around her, visits museums, and draws sketches. She really lives and breathes art. "Everything inspires me: people in cafés, the streets, buildings, nature …". Then, once in her Studio, Zoia takes out her notebook and reinterprets her ideas on canvas, paper, plates, and cups or in clay. At times, she is also inspired by other artists, for example when she was a copyist at the Musée d'Orsay and got the idea for her series “The Coffee Drinkers” after looking at the Impressionist’s paintings of the Absinthe drinkers. Zoia is also passionate about books and magazines, which she compulsively accumulates. "I am following the footsteps of Francis Bacon who often used newspapers as a source of inspiration” she tells us.
The first time Zoia came to Monaco was during a car trip, hitchhiking across Europe from Ukraine to Portugal to attend a conference. She was a student at the time and on the way back to Ukraine she thought to herself, why not stop and visit Monaco? She did and fell in love with the place from day one. She came back to Monaco a few years later, when she got an invitation to exhibit her work in the Principality. It was at that time she met Arman, Rauschenberg, Sosno, Emma de Sigaldi, Ernst Fuchs, Nall, etc.
After that visit, she decided to stay. She tells us: “slowly but surely things started to come together, especially with my exposition “Torso" which had a real success in Paris and London."
Today she is particularly passionate about landscapes. Whether it’s what she observes from the TGV from Monaco to Paris, or from the Shinkansen in Japan. "At 320 km/h a new and completely different landscape appears literally every second. It is fascinating. I never thought about painting them before but since I saw Garrowby Hill by David Hockney at the Bellagio Casino Gallery in Las Vegas, I just had to paint them!”
Right now, Zoia is working on her series “Intellectual landscapes” which are minimalist artworks with well centered paintbrushes leaving much space to emptiness all around.
Zoia is very famous in Japan. She has just exposed “Intellectual landscapes and MILK” in Tokyo at the contemporary art gallery THOUGHT. She is currently working for a future exhibit on a new version of her TORSO series, inspired by the master Auguste Rodin. There is also a series of portraits inspired by Hans Holbein, which should come to life next year. What does Zoia do in case of a lack of inspiration? I follow my former art teacher’s advice; I go hiking in the Alps with my sketchbook! But we seriously doubt this passionate bubbling young woman is often lacking any inspiration !!!
For more info: www.zoiaskoropadenko.com
OUR QUESTIONS to ZOIA SKOROPADENKO
Which place inspires you the most in Monaco?
There are several places. I enjoy the Place d’Armes in the morning to sip a cup of coffee with other Monegasque artists, chat about Art, Life and our various projects. I also love wandering in the tiny streets of the Rock, or sip a coffee with barbajuans on the beach the Larvotto whilst drawing seascapes. My ideal location is the quay in the early hours. The light is perfect. I used to fish there but unfortunately it is forbidden now!! I also enjoy sitting at the Café de Paris, drawing coffee drinkers or passers-by: they remind me of Fellini’s films.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
I love the Sans Soucis or Yoshi in the Metropole Hotel, not only because chef Takeo Yamazaki is a friend but also because Japan takes a huge place in my life. I love the lunch buffets at the Yacht Club and the dishes of the day at the Societe Nautique. Another favourite or mine is La Montgolfiere on the Rock and Elisa at the Monte Carlo Beach.
Which are your beauty tips or how do you stay in shape?
The best way to stay in shape is to eat, drink, love and always keep on having projects. You will not lose weight but you will be happy!
One of your daily little pleasures?
Riding one of Monaco’s electric bicycles around town, wandering at the Market or on the Larvotto Beach, reading our local newspaper Monaco-Matin, the Drouot Gazette or Beaux-Arts Magazine. Drinking a tasty cup of coffee under the Mediterranean Sun and sketching. Drawing people, landscapes, seascapes with palm trees or pine trees. Happiness at its purest form. On a rainy day I would head to the Japanese Gardens to observe and draw Koi Carps or the rain falling over the ponds.
Who are the local artists you admire?
I love Claude Rosticher, a Monegasque artist coming from generations of Monegasque artists. I absolutely love all his works but mostly his series on birds, on sunflowers and on used objects. They are so simple, so refined and so graphical. I can sit down and watch forever.
Which are your secret addresses you could reveal to our readers?
One of my favourite shops is “Les beaux Arts” in Rue de Millo, as you could imagine! I love the Museum of the Old Monaco. The museum has limited opening hours but when it is open, it is highly interesting. I enjoy sipping a cup of jasmine tea at the Tea Shop on Place des Moulins where I often indulge in a cute designer kitchenware. Eating an ice cream at Pierre Geronimi on Boulevard d’Italie. There is also CoBrA for the artistic atmosphere, the Birch Art Gallery on the Rock where I enjoy discussing about art with Annette Birch. Then I would ad, absolutely savouring a cup of coffee at the Villa Paloma Museum near the Exotic Gardens, laying on a lounger with a view over the Prince’s Palace and the endless line of the sea’s horizon, all this for only 1€!
"Intellectual landscape", oil on canvas
"Intellectual landscape" Kamakura, Japan. Oil on canvas, 2017.
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