“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
As human beings we are constantly changing and developing, adapting to the new situations the world presents us with. These modifications can even occur within ourselves: whenever we may think we know everything about our lives, our goals, and our preferences, we can suddenly get hit with the realization that perhaps what we used to enjoy yesterday doesn’t quite appeal to us today.
What happens now? What do we really want? Not so long ago, Gosha Bondarev, a Russian lettering artist with a physics background, asked himself those questions. Today we are going to talk to him about his artistic endeavors and a scientific past that comes back to him from time to time.
So, my first question will be about your transition from the world of science to the world of art. What was it like and how did you come to that decision?
Towards the end of my 4th year of studying physics at the university, I started having doubts about the choice of my major. I have been studying physics since an early age, so I did not have anything else my mind as a career option. So I decided to try my hand at different fields, immersing myself into each of them for a couple of months. At some point I came across lettering and understood that it was something I might dig. Indeed, I found it very engaging and started to practice calligraphy in the evenings and during the weekends, outside of my main occupation.
Do you miss being in science?
Yes; I try reading physics-related books and articles, because I am still interested in the field. Sometimes I feel that there is nothing articulate and honest in painting; in moments like that I want to drop everything and go back to the world of science.
Has your experience in exact sciences helped you in any way in the artistic sphere?
During my studies I acquired a certain way of thinking and the ability to learn and absorb a great deal of information; these qualities help me a lot. As the pleasant bonus for my current occupation, I can have a unique outlook thanks to my geophysics background; sometimes I view some things differently from those people who have been in the arts their whole life simply because I have a different perspective, an outside approach.
Do you believe in a multidisciplinary approach in art?
Definitely. I think it particularly helps to think outside the box and to do something unconventional and cool. Sometimes absolutely unexpected experience or knowledge can be brilliantly embodied in art; and representation of an issue in more than one dimension can bring more profound and deep understanding.
Why did you choose lettering? What is so special about it?
I actually like letters and the fact that you can make a composition out of them; it will be perceived as the complete piece, but at the same time it consists of independent readable elements. In my opinion, with lettering you can better express some thoughts and feelings because they are literally put into the work. It makes lettering more clear to average viewers, so it is easier to reach and inspire wider audience.
Do you think of lettering as an art, or more like a designing tool?
I am kind of in between those approaches; both of them are really relevant. I believe you can create something exceptional only at the junction of both.
What are your plans for the future and the development of your art?
I have started to paint on the walls recently. There are special types of brushes for letters so I will have to practice a lot painting basic elements and adjusting to the new instruments and surfaces. You have to practice a lot and derive inspiration from the artists you like in order to become skilled.
What are some particular difficulties in being a digital artist and promoting your works online?
One of the difficulties is an intense competition; you have to constantly invent some unusual and interesting ways to stand out. Also there is a high possibility to lose your enthusiasm comparing your works to some other cool pieces. At times like these the best decision is to turn from the overwhelming inspiration to the hardworking practice.
What would be your dream-project or collaboration?
I have a dream of creating the cover art for the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. I even have a specific idea for it, but at the same time I understand that when it turns to be a real possibility I might have a completely different concept in mind. Once I had a dream of collaborating with artist Lora Zombie and it actually came true – I did it. I am inspired by some of the contemporary artists, and also by nature, because, somehow, it combines some unbelievable shapes and colors in the most harmonious way.
What advice would you give to the young digital artists?
I think it is very important to accept the fact of possible failures and mistakes, because you will make them, that’s for sure. But the important part is leaving all your fears behind and concentrating on the progress: with every completed piece you become a bit better. So my main recipe and advice is a huge amount of practice.
—Visit the artist’s portfolio at Behance: https://www.behance.net/goshawaf
An interview by Liza Gasyuk