Ally to Watch: Yûliya Fogrâ

Winning the grand prize in our “Music As Therapy” social assets contest, New York-based over-sized portrait painter Yûliya Fogrâ, has definitely got our attention. Check out her full website here.

Why are you a designer?

Design has a power to change molecules. Firstly mine. I start from feeling slightly lost & anxious and I end up feeling found & grounded. I am a solo artist by nature. It’s a dense forest and I walk alone. Usually I come out satisfied with what I see but the process is not a pleasurable one. Design for me is a space travel.

How did you get started?

I was never much of a talker so I started drawing as a child. Beautiful things made me feel alive.

 I was raised surrounded by a complex art forms. From 7 years of piano training to endless classical/jazz music concerts to visiting the best National Gallery’s in Europe, attention to details was instilled in me with music.

Over the years, many of the art masterpieces were both inspiring and discouraging. The distance from what I knew I could paint as a child and what was ultimately beautiful to me, was way too great to be trying to walk. The fear of not succeeding was way too overwhelming… so I stopped. I’ve since realized I’ve had to make friends with fear and a certain type of anxiety that comes with it, which are both an indication of the end of a ‘known’ and the beginning of the ‘unknown’. That’s how I’ve arrived at the idea to become a graphic artist.

Tell us about your paintings.

Life happened and I had to stay home where I’ve finally started painting. 
My portraits are an obvious character study. The inspiration derives mainly from musicians and actors in a pretzel-like collaborative form. The technique of breaking-up an oversized face into plurality of squares came about with my first self-portrait.

The concept of painting my face, at least 10 times larger then my own, staring at me while I’m the one who’s painting it – was way too peculiar to contemplate. Consequently I came up with a trick of concealing my own face behind a tapestry of 9960 squares. So I’m no longer painting a face, but instead – a square. By significantly increasing the scale of the face, I decrease the scale of the viewer and you are 4 again.

What do you enjoy most about Creative Allies?

I like the freedom of not being confined into a small space with very little possibilities.  I loved the engagement with one of my music heroes Tom Chaplin (former ‘Keane’). The gap became smaller.

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