10 questions with artist Marina Jijina

Posted in In the Studio by Charlotte Broomfield on 19th May 2014

Marina Jijina is a Russian born British painter. Though classically trained, artistic experiment has always been at the core of her practice. Through observations and studies she has become fascinated by vulnerability of the human condition. She has exhibited in Russia, Britain, Italy, Spain, Macedonia and U.S.A. We ask her what kind of room she would imagine her work in and what advice she would give to young art graduates. 

Q1: What's  the most important thing to know about you?
I'm a full time painter who values enrichment and experiment. I have abandoned the classical rules since I graduated at a strict Russian art school.
Q2: How did you get into Art?
It started very early, when my parents sent me to a local art school. After a couple of years a teacher suggested I sit exams for a privileged specialised art school named after B.V.Ioganson at the Academy of Fine Arts, St.Petersburg. There were and still are only two schools of this kind in Russia. I sat the exams and got in. Thus I spent another 7 years of  full academic studies painting and drawing still-lives, antique sculptures, heads, male and female nudes etc. It was a tough competitive environment in the art school but through the experience I realised the essential need in my life for artistic expression.

Spanish Boy
Marina Jijina

Marina Jijina

Q3: Tell us a bit about upcoming exhibition?
The Connections exhibition curated by Artilier will take place in the heart of Notting Hill, London on Wednesday 21 May and will showcase artworks from 20 leading contemporary artists exploring connections in the world around us. I'll be showing my latest Genealogy Tree series, that I have been working on since 2013.
Q4: What's the weirdest response you've ever had to a piece?
I don't think I have, though recently someone tweeted, trying to compliment me: 'Your work is amazing, I think you have an old soul inside!'

Marina in the studio
Photo by Roland Serani

Q5: What kind of style, home do you think your artwork would suit?
I imagine my work blending well in a house with lots of books, musical instruments, other artwork and photographs, beautiful architectural features and objects. If you ever visited Freud's Museum in Hampstead, London, on the ground floor in Freud's library, where Freud's collections of  African sculptures, masks and books are - I think my artwork would certainly suit a surrounding like that.
Q6: How long does it take to complete a piece?
I don't really know how long it takes to complete some works, as I'm often not aware when it begins. My work is linked to self-directed art-related research. I've been researching aesthetics for the last 5-6 years.
Q7: 3 main influences?
Durer, Picasso, Rothko.

Marina's studio
Photo by Roland Serani

Q8: What kind of world are you trying to depict through your art?
I'm depicting a world where compassion and individuality are highly valued. Beauty for me exists within cultural, historical and ethical familiarities.
Q9: What advice would you give to someone just coming out of Art school?
Don't worry much about what others do and think, explore the world, find yourself and don't be afraid to stand out. Dare to be different.
Q10: How has the Internet affected you in terms of gaining visibility for your work?
I think the Internet is a great way of connecting with the world for artists. I could work for days in my studio without going out, yet I'm able to see what artists in countries far away are creating. Showing your art to the world and getting feedback is wonderful.
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