The Best Address

Artist Julia Ilkiv

Julia Ilkiv (1987) was born and raised in the village of Skhidnytsia, Lviv region, Ukraine. She has been drawing since childhood, but started her professional career relatively recently, after moving to Vynnyky in 2020. She finished a course of academic drawing in ‘Creative’ design school in Lviv in 2014. Julia Ilkiv uses a wide range of different techniques to create drawings and paintings but is best known for her very finely detailed pen drawings. Her work is dominated by graphic works, especially floral themes.

In 2020, she visited the Vynnyky Art School and atelier of local artist Lev Levkiv. Her work was framed for her first solo exhibition when the war started and she had to flee with her family. Their journey ended in The Netherlands, in Helmond. Where she now lives and works as an artist. There she became one of the participating artists of Make Art Not War. In addition to this collaboration, she had her first exhibition in Eindhoven where she exhibited her black and white pen drawings. Currently she exhibits her work in the Pop-Up Julia Ilkiv & Co. Art Gallery in Helmond. She works intuitively, with small accurate pen-strokes, and knows how to convey her emotions onto paper.

 What’s your artistic background?

I’ve been drawing since childhood, but started my professional career relatively recently, in 2020. I finished a course of academic drawing in ‘Creative’ design school in Lviv in 2014. I am using a wide range of different techniques to create drawings and paintings but i am best known for my very finely detailed pen drawings. My work is dominated by graphic works, especially floral themes. In 2020, i visited the Vynnyky Art School and atelier of local artist Lev Levkiv. My work was framed for first solo exhibition when the war started and i had to flee with my family. My journey ended in The Netherlands, in Helmond. Where now i live and work as an artist. There i became one of the participating artists of Make Art Not War. In addition to this collaboration, i had my first exhibition in Eindhoven where i exhibited my black and white pen drawings. Currently i exhibit my work in the Pop-Up Julia Ilkiv & Co. Art Gallery in Helmond. I work intuitively, with small accurate pen-strokes, and know how to convey my emotions onto paper.

 What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Self confidence, strong desire to create. The essence of an artist’s work often lies in their ability to express ideas, emotions, and perspectives through their chosen medium. A strong artistic vision guides the creation process. Whether it’s a bold statement, a subtle exploration, or a purely aesthetic pursuit, artists need a clear concept to drive their work forward.

What role does the artist have in society? 

Very special. It reflects on many things around and helps people to see and feel, understand things better and complete. Artists play multifaceted roles in society, often serving as mirrors, catalysts, and visionaries. They drive innovation and creativity across various fields, inspiring new ideas, technologies, and approaches.

What art do you most identify with?

For my art i like to use description of mixed-media artist. As i don’t want to follow one or another specific style or technique. I am pretty spontaneous so i don’t like to limit myself. I can do in the same time collage and day after classical botanical illustration.

What themes do you pursue?

It depends of time, my mood and emotions, my reflections, my life experience. Themes of existentialism, including the search for meaning, the nature of existence, and the inevitability of mortality, inspires me to explore profound questions about life and the human experience. But also very often i depict the beauty and complexity of the natural world, exploring themes such as landscapes, flora, fauna, and the environment’s relationship with humanity.

What’s your favourite art work?

I love every work of mine. Maybe i am not satisfied sometimes with last result, but after i always found it interesting as a trying. I really don’t have one special favourite, but i have special works. Behind them there a lot of special things.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Not long time ago i met one artist from Africa in my gallery. He was talking about his creative process so passionate that after his visit i used the rest of my coffee on my latest works. I just followed his recommendation to be more crazy. Putting out off all my coffee from cup was really crazy) but effect was really great and suits to my artworks.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I worked before in the store as an seller, than after in the hotel reception desc and booking office.

Why art?

-I am driven to create art for a multitude of reasons, often stemming from a deep-seated passion, innate talent, or a desire to communicate and connect with others. Art provides a means of self-expression, allowing me to convey my thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a visual or auditory form.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

It is when you see and find things interesting and important to show and assume. An outlook on life encompasses a deep appreciation for creativity, beauty, and meaning in all aspects of existence. Artists approach life as a continual journey of exploration and discovery. They embrace uncertainty and embrace the unknown, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

When it gives some hope and faith, not only visual pleasure. It has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions and reactions, reflecting the diversity of human experience and the complexity of artistic expression.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

From these three only music makes me feel inspired. I always listen music while creating. And I am big fan of Depeche Mode.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

For me not really at all. I have husband an 8 years old daughter near me. Beside that many visitors coming to my studio to see how i works and talk with me. It is good to be open for the people.

What do you dislike about the art world?

When it is too much commercial. Many artists feel disillusioned by the commercialization of the art world, where financial considerations often take precedence over artistic merit. They may resent the pressure to create work that sells rather than following their creative instincts. Artists may encounter exploitation and unfair practices within the art world, including unpaid opportunities, exploitative contracts, and predatory behavior by galleries or dealers. They may feel powerless to challenge these practices or advocate for their rights. Overall, while the art world offers many opportunities for creativity, connection, and growth, it also presents numerous challenges and frustrations for artists navigating its complexities and contradictions.

What do you dislike about your work?

That sometimes i want to follow someone/something i like. Artists may fall into the trap of comparing their work to that of others, leading to feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt. They may feel discouraged when they perceive their work as inferior to that of their peers or artistic idols. At the same way artists may be their own harshest critics, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and dwelling on perceived flaws or shortcomings in their work. This relentless self-criticism can undermine their confidence and enjoyment of the creative process.

What do you like about your work?

That i am looking for my own things around, that i can going out of my comfort zone, that i can express myself. Art-making is a journey of exploration and discovery for artists, who relish the process of experimentation and discovery. I am also enjoy pushing the boundaries of my chosen medium, trying new techniques, and embracing unexpected outcomes.

Should art be funded?

I think, yes. Artist needs patron to make not think about material too much. Art plays a crucial role in enriching society culturally. It reflects the values, beliefs, and identities of a community or a nation. Funding ensures that artists can continue creating works that contribute to the cultural heritage of society. Government funding for the arts can stimulate economic growth and development in both urban and rural areas. Funding allows for art education programs in schools and communities, providing opportunities for people of all ages to engage with and learn from the arts. Ultimately, whether art should be funded and to what extent is a matter of societal values, priorities, and available resources. It’s a nuanced issue that requires balancing various considerations, including cultural enrichment, economic impact, educational benefits, and individual freedoms.

What role does arts funding have?

It is really big and important role. Not only for artists, but for culture in the whole meaning. Artists brings their time and energy, their ideas. They need support. Arts funding plays a vital role in nurturing artistic talent, preserving cultural heritage, stimulating economic activity, promoting education and engagement, fostering social cohesion, and encouraging innovation in society.

What is your dream project?

-The opportunity to collaborate with other artists, experts, or community members who share their interests and values. Collaborative projects can provide new perspectives, insights, and skills, enriching the artistic process and creating opportunities for learning and growth. It is a project that fuels my passion, drives my creativity, and fulfills artistic ambitions, allowing to realize full potential as an artist.

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Not long time ago one some of my artworks were compared with works of Sonia Delaunay, and it makes me feel very enthusiastic). But i really don’t want to be compared with some another artists.

Favourite or most inspirational place ?

Oh, that is the part of the forest in my home village where i was born, and probably cost of North sea) I cannot be without nature long time.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Believe in yourself, trust your life and be grateful for everything.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

Still continue no matter what my artistic career. Building connections and relationships within the art community is crucial.They may attend exhibitions, openings, and other events to network with fellow artists, collectors, curators, and other industry professionals, as well as participate in artist residencies, workshops, and collaborative projects that facilitate networking and collaboration.

future plans?

Just to keep going on) Continuing to develop and refine my artistic skills, techniques, and style through ongoing practice, experimentation, and exploration. Advancing my career as an artist by seeking opportunities to exhibit my work in galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions, as well as participating in art fairs, competitions, and festivals. Experimenting with new mediums, technologies, and interdisciplinary approaches to expand my artistic practice and reach new audiences.




























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