I discovered Margaritas photographs on Instagram and was immediately drawn into them. They are very raw and honest have a certain sensitivity and vulnerability to them. But at the same time also are very powerful in their expression. They are like a breath of fresh air, something you certainly don’t want to miss.
For the following I asked Margarita if she wants to do an interview with me:
Luna Maluna Gri: Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
Margarita Keller: As a visual artist and editor, I have a diverse background that has led me to my current home base in Vienna and Graz. My journey began in Nikopol, Ukraine, where I was born in 1994. After completing my BA in Asian research, I had planned to move to China for work. However, life had other plans and in 2019 I found myself relocating to Austria. This move proved to be a turning point in my personal and professional journey.
I am currently studying Applied Photography at die Angewandte1, while also working as a freelance photographer and editor for the Forward Festival Magazine. This multifaceted approach to my career allows me to explore different facets of myself as a person and artist.
LMG: How and why did you start creating art?
MK: I discovered my passion for art and photography in 2017. At first, I was just experimenting with portrait photography, not really sure what I was doing or where it would take me. But in 2019, I got lucky and had my work accepted into a duo exhibition in Vienna called “Ping Pong,” and that’s when my journey really began. Back then, I had no idea what my artistic style or purpose was, I just wanted to create and feel unique and appreciated. Now, I’m more conscious of what I want to express and the quality of my work. I have a better understanding of what represents me as an artist.
LMG: What role does creating art play for you?
MK: I would say being a photographer/visual artist is an integral part of who I am. It’s not just a source of happiness, but also a journey of self-discovery, struggling with personal growth, and understanding my place in the world. My art is a reflection of my most intense experiences and the things I’ve learned. It’s a constant process of re-imagining my connection to the world and finding meanings.
LMG: What does your creating process look like?
MK: I tend to jot down my ideas in a chaotic and detailed manner, whether it’s on paper or in text messages. I tend to procrastinate or avoid research for as long as possible. When it comes to the actual shooting, I sometimes spend hours searching for visual references, while other times I rely solely on my imagination and sketch out my ideas. Recently, I’ve started to create small installations, using materials I find around me. This approach is more intuitive, emotional, and spontaneous. For commissioned work, I am selective and precise, often creating detailed mood boards to ensure that my clients, team, and models understand my vision for the shoot.
LMG: What inspires you?
MK: My inspiration can come from anywhere, it’s truly unpredictable. It depends on my current state of mind and what resonates with me at the moment. But if I’m being honest, the most powerful source of inspiration is my personal experiences and the memories that they evoke. I never know what exactly will spark my creativity, but I always trust my intuition and let it guide me.
LMG: What is your experience with the art world?
MK: I straddle the line between art photography and fashion mostly. I’ve built my artistic routine through participation in group exhibitions, festivals, and photo-books, while also collaborating with other artists and art platforms. On the other hand, I also work with production agencies, fashion brands, and private clients to create visuals. In addition to photography, I have experience in visual communications and enjoy exploring other forms of creative expression, such as writing, where I often work as a freelancer, writing articles and interviews on topics such as design, 3D, architecture and photography.
LMG: Is there something you want to change about the art world? If yes, what and why?
MK: Would be nice to have more transparency in communication between curators and artists, to talk freely about rates among artists and charge your work as much as you feel it’s worth. I also hate this feeling of art as something supreme, as if not accessible to people beyond the art bubble.
LMG: What do you think is/are the role/-s of artists and art in our society?
MK: To evoke experiences.
LMG: What artist/artists would you like to meet (dead or alive) and if you had one question what would you ask them?
MK: I would like to ask Thom York whether he’d like to go dancing with me.
LMG: Is there something you want to achieve in your art life? Dreams? Future plans? Or projects you would like to do?
MK: I had a long pause for one year trying different things apart from my photography practice. Now I’m on the road to emotional burnout. So from 2023 on I want to focus on research, concepts and things I’m really interested in so that to elaborate on the new photo or video projects. I dream to drive home to Ukraine to stay at our family dacha in summer and explore the surroundings. I don’t have global plans anymore because the war in Ukraine changed my perception of plans and the future in general. What I feel now is that I want to work with people I like, enjoy the process rather than the results, educate myself and travel more. Enjoy the adventure of life, to learn and observe more. That’s the plan.
Copyright to all photos: Margarita Keller
1University of Applied Arts Vienna