Interview with Tetiana Tretiakova

Painting is my way of writing visual poems

Born: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Now: Warsaw, Poland


Tetiana, tell us about your journey from foreign languages to subsequently studying visual arts—a language in a different field. What prompted you to delve into the art sphere in 2021?

As my friend says: “Everyone knows their answer and is entirely sure who they want to be when they grow up whenever we are asked this question as kids.” Back then, I was absolutely sure that I was meant to be an artist, and drawing took almost all my spare time. By 9 years old, I realized that other kids were already studying art at schools or some art courses while my parents kept telling me that it could not be my future profession because I would never earn money by doing that. Then I realized that I needed a plan B and chose foreign languages as my new endeavor, so I made it my profession later.

Being quite happy with what I had, I felt as if something was missing. So, since 2020, I started looking for my calling, researching what it is and how I can find it. I went quite far and transformed gained knowledge into a practical guideline that helped me find my answer. Truly, what I had to do was to remember my childish dream that defined me long ago. I simply didn’t dare to admit it because of different prejudices. When I made an attempt to get back on track with further development in this field, the war started and broke my plans. But I already had no way back.

Identity, 80×80 cm

Share with our readers what the experience of taking various art courses online has given you. The list of courses you’ve completed is impressive!

Thank you. Knowledge is one of the main engines in my life. It’s highly important to listen to yourself and use your inner voice as a compass. At the same time, each of us has a limited experience, knowledge, a realm of life, outlook, and learning helps to scale it.

I find a lot of inspiration when studying. I have art projects that I’m developing privately, doing research, reflecting on the theme, interviewing others, and bearing them in mind as a child. And I have experience in team projects where each artist maintains their own voice, still, having different perspectives makes the idea deeper and more vast in its expressions. That is why the more I study, the more open I become to art experiments through which I discover myself and can be clearer in the messages I communicate via my art.

That is why the more I study, the more open I become to art experiments through which I discover myself and can be clearer in the messages I communicate via my art.

How did your art style develop? What did you decide to base it on, and what are your works about?

At this stage, I cannot say that I have a defined art style; instead, I am in a phase of experimenting with different media to strengthen my ideas. When I started taking my first conscious steps into the art world, I primarily focused on to abstract paintings. The main theme was the reality I faced daily, initially connected to the war in Ukraine and Ukrainian identity.

Starting from the end of 2023, I’ve been developing the theme of personal boundaries because I have witnessed that some people don’t know much about them, or even if they do, they unintentionally break them. I’m learning to respect both someone else’s and my personal boundaries, and I want to believe that the more conscious I become about it, the healthier and more ecological relationships I’m able to build.

I keep working on the series as part of the art project “Kordony 2.0”, which will be presented this summer in Cherkasy, Ukraine. My focus is concentrated on both internal and external boundaries. Facing inner conflicts that are connected with the refusal of identity may influence external ones. The way a person perceives themselves defines how they interact with society, which adheres to certain norms.

Speaking of style, we would also like to highlight your professional approach to managing social media pages—your Instagram page looks fantastic! In your opinion, how important is it to present oneself on social media nowadays? Is it a path for every artist, or a personal choice to engage with the online audience, sharing about your works and yourself as an artist?

I keep learning to be present on social media as it’s still quite new for me, given that I’m not a public person by nature. However, I made a conscious choice to work in this direction because I find it beneficial both to present myself as an artist and to introduce others to my art, which is also a reflection of who I am.

I don’t think it’s a necessity for every person who wishes to develop as an artist. Everyone should understand their own needs and create a strategy that strengthens their development plan.

On one hand, my art serves as my personal therapy. On the other hand, I address topics that I consider important, shedding light on social issues. I aim to communicate them to a broad audience, encouraging more people to express their opinions and reflect on them. Through social media, I endeavor to establish a dialogue aimed at co-creation, not only with other artists but also with the audience whose personal stories build the whole history. Therefore, in my case, social media helps me in achieving my goals.

Abortion, A3

You became actively involved in exhibitions in 2023. What are your plans for the new year?

Currently, I’m actively applying to open calls with different projects hoping to expand my exhibition geography and experience that it would help me to gain. At the moment, I have four art projects created in cooperation with other Ukrainian artists, and there are ideas for a couple of new ones. Hope to maintain such a rhythm further.

This year, I want to focus on figurative paintings and collages more. As I’ve already mentioned, I will continue developing the topic of personal boundaries in my art. Now, the series dedicated to antifragility from a feminine perspective is in progress, and most probably, it will take me the whole year to complete it. Additionally, I’m planning to work with the emotional state in stressful situations presenting my visual interpretation of it.

Circle of Life

What advice would you give to young artists who are starting their journey or are just considering entering the art world?

It’s better to try and fail than fail to try.

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