Alissa’s paintings mesmerized me upon first sight.
They have something very soul touching to them, which makes you feel connected to them when you see them. They are like snippets of memories, like when you make a photo almost, catching something which may seem random in that moment but which holds a lot of importance later or brings you back to that happy moment when you look them. So they also hold that kind of nostalgia, but in a good way, in a way that makes you smile again when you think of those moments. Even if those are not your memories they bring across that feeling.
These paintings are straight from the heart.
For the following I asked Alissa if she wants to do an interview with me:
Luna Maluna Gri: Tell me a bit about yourself and your work
Alissa Hrushka: My name is Alissa Hrushka and I am a young female artist still discovering her style. As a third culture kid, raised in Germany, with Dutch and American parents my inspiration is a bit everywhere and I’m fascinated by many places, cultures and people. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of portraits and landscapes mostly with acrylic, watercolor or pencil.
LMG: How and why did you start drawing and painting?
AH: The question of when and why I started painting is a difficult and frequently asked one. My earliest memories of drawing are in kindergarten when I was about three or four years old and even though I was awful I was always proud of what I could create. By about the age of 11 I was being commissioned by close friends and family. I can remember when art became much more important to me though. At 13 years, I lost my father and had to move continents. Aside from my family, art was the only thing I could hold on to. I started to use my sketchbook more and began to see art as a means to pour out my feelings and express myself rather than just a source of entertainment.
LMG: What role does drawing and painting play for you?
AH: Although my art rarely has implications to specific emotions, it is a way for me to feel comforted and calmed and a way to let go. When I was younger, my older sister used to tell people “Alissa doesn’t cry she’ll just go draw a picture” and that was very true. I hadn’t even noticed it myself until someone pointed it out but it really was how I could calm myself down. Art by definition is an expression of creativity or imagination and thought that’s true for me, it’s also been a coping mechanism.
LMG: What is your experience with the art world?
AH: I took my first art class last year as a sophomore and only one other last semester. I also only recently (the past year) began to put my art on social media so I don’t know much about the art community but from what I have experienced I can say they are extremely supportive and kind. There is a lot of competition and jealousy in some industries but I don’t really see that within the art community. I think we as artists understand that although beauty exists it is really in the eye of the beholder. Rather than competing for one audience we’re all just working hard to find the right eyes to appreciate what we create.
LMG: Is there something you want to change about the art world? If yes, what and why?
AH: One thing I wish I could change about the art world is the pressure to incorporate popular or political messages. Although I think it’s great for artists to use their art to voice what they think needs to be heard, I also believe there’s often unwanted pressure. I think artists shouldn’t feel the pressure to always say something important because it restricts us and keeps us from creating freely. I don’t think this issue is too common though, and those who are able to say what they feel needs to be said in their art are very talented.
LMG: What do you think is/are the role/-s of artists and art in our society?
AH: The role of artists in society and more specifically my own role has been difficult for me to understand. What I do know is that throughout history, artists, not historians, or political figures, or warriors, or scholars, are the ones who are able to capture the beauty in life. As of now my goal is simply to make beautiful things that I, and others can find comfort in and maybe that’s enough
LMG: What does your creating process look like?
AH: My creating process looks different for each piece. Generally it starts when I find an image or idea that inspires me to create. I try to get myself in “the zone” for art by making myself a drink, turning on some music and setting up all my supplies so that once I start I don’t have to get up till I’m done. I’m a big procrastinator so that little routine is a way to get my brain in creative mode and out of “I’ll do it later” mode. When I’m finished, sometimes I’m unhappy with what I’ve created, sometimes it’s exactly how I pictured it, and sometimes it’s completely different but in a pleasant surprising kind of way. I’m constantly evolving as an artist and I’m very excited to see what my art and methods of creating will look like in the future.
LMG: What inspires you?
AH: I’m inspired by many things but I think what inspires me most is the capturing of moments and feelings. In my opinion, some of the best pieces are the simplest ones that still manage to perfectly portray a moment in time. Art has the ability to provoke nostalgic feelings in you for places you’ve never been. There are landscapes that I can look at and understand completely what it feels like to be there. I can understand it more fully than I could if it were a photo. The possibility that I can learn to capture something so fully is what inspires me most.
LMG: What artist/artists would you like to meet (dead or alive) and if you had one question what would you ask them?
AH: I’m pretty fickle minded, and my favorite artists are constantly changing but right now I’m completely in love with the work of John Singer Sargent. He is the perfect example of an artist with the ability to capture moments. At first glance his portraits and paintings look a bit like every other historical artist but when I really look at his paintings I feel fully connected to the places or people he’s painted. I would love to go back in time to watch him paint, I wouldn’t need to ask him any questions just seeing his process would give me more answers than any questions.
LMG: What does a normal creating day look like for you?
AH: A normal creating day is just about any normal day in which I have the time to escape to my little art corner in the office of my house to pour over whatever I’m inspired to do at the time. The ideal creating day though, is a day that I have nowhere to be, and I’m home alone so I can blast my music and paint or draw or collage. On those days I am free to clean my space, grab my reference photo and sort of turn off my brain to let my hands do the work.
LMG: What is something you can’t create without?
AH: I can’t create (at least not for long) without food and music. This is very basic and obvious but it’s true. Once my mind is in the zone to create I can go for hours and not get bored or tired. When I’m hungry though, I get frustrated, irritated, and impatient which is not where I like to be mentally when creating art. The same goes for music. Silence is good sometimes but listening to something while painting or drawing keeps me in a good and creative state of mind. So silly and simple as it sounds I cannot create without a good meal and good songs.
LMG: Is there something you want to achieve in your art life? Dreams? Future plans? Or projects you would like to do?
AH: I have big dreams for my art, but I’m also happy with where I’m at. I’m hoping that one day I can make a living from it and be able to share it with a wide audience. I have plans to try selling prints and try some new mediums on the horizon, but the main goal is to learn and improve. I’m still so young and I don’t feel that I need to know what my style is or dedicate myself to one thing. I still have time to discover what fits.
LMG: What was the reason for you to become an artist (if there is a specific one)?
AH: I never chose or decided to become an Artist. I love art and have a strong desire to make it. That’s the best explanation I can give.
Check out the previous Art Uncovered article with Martine Stapf here. https://theuncoiled.com/2021/05/14/martina-stapf/
Copyright to all photos and paintings: Alissa Hrushka