Expat Artist in Belgium: Viktorija Proskurovska
Latvian photographer Viktorija Proskurovska is a big fan of Belgian painter Leon Spilliaert and likes to convey what has been "unsaid".
Name: Viktorija Proskurovska
City of residence: Brussels, Belgium
Can you describe what you wish to communicate through your art work?
To me, it is my personal, non-verbal way of self-expression. I like to show the beauty I see in people, in the daily routine things that we tend to pass by without noticing; and the ‘hidden message’ in that which might appear (semi)abstract, thus letting the eye and the mind focus on the lines, shapes and colour.
Which medium do you work in?
How has living abroad influenced your work as an artist?
Dramatically. Living abroad – i.e. living in a completely different environment - sharpened my eye for the detail and for the unusual. It has gradually helped me develop a taste in observing and capturing the beauty of people and things that surround me. Photography helps me convey what otherwise would have been left unsaid.
Which famous local artists inspire you?
I am largely inspired by painters like Leon Spilliaert who comes from the Belgian coast, and Konstantin Rodko, a Latvian painter. There are countless photographers both in Belgium and elsewhere, who constantly feed my eye with the beauty, influence me as an artist and motivate me to continue photography.
Which up and coming local artists do you find worth mentioning?
I would like to mention perhaps one Belgian photographer, Peter Keyngnaert, who – in my view - is excellent at creating a story with a semi-abstract presentation of la vie quotidienne. He knows how to bring mystery to the common.
How easy or difficult is it to mix with the local artistic community?
It probably depends on where you come from. Cultural differences can play a harsh role in one’s attempts to meet local artists. It would be fair to say that the degree of accessibility of the local artistic community to the expats is comparable to the overall degree of openness of Belgians to the foreigners. However, more and more competitions are organised by local authorities, private establishments and even independent art-lovers, which open ever more opportunities to expose one’s art. The conditions have certainly become much better over the past decade.
Can you offer some advice to people wishing to break into the local art scene?
I am a firm believer in that one has to search inside oneself for that special something which makes you stand out from the crowd, and learn to communicate it in the way that feels most natural. Once you know what it is that ‘tinkles you from the inside’ and have something to demonstrate (photographs, paintings, sculptures, musical performances, etc), the next step is to share your results a with wider audience. Most importantly, one must never stop moving; continuous process of creation and self-development is absolutely paramount to success. And as far as success is concerned, Georgia O’Keffe put it so well: “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant. There is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the most important thing”.
What kind of financial support is available for artists working in Belgium?
I am not aware of any specific support for artists in Belgium, and personally have to finance every endeavour myself. From the legal side, it is also rather expensive to declare oneself as an independent artist.
How would you describe the art scene in Belgium; for instance is it thriving or on the wane?
Speaking of Brussels, I find it a very dynamic city in terms of art: so many local and foreign artists come to demonstrate their work, reflecting so many styles and directions. This is very encouraging, especially for the emerging talents: this is a proof that anything is possible, one just has to be determined to achieve their goals!
For the first time in public, I will be exhibiting some of my most favourite photographs at the Accessible Art Fair in Brussels . Everyone is very welcome! Below is a video made ahead of the fair.
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