Interview: Julia Volchkova

Born in Nizhnevartovsk, Siberia (Russia) in 1987, Volchkova Yulia Anatolievna (Julia) studied drawing from an early age. In 2004, Julia won in the competition of the faculty of art and design. In 2010, she graduated from the Institute and went to Saint Petersburg and she began drawing graffiti and street art. Soon after that Julia gained popularity in Russia and began to engage in commercial activities, and was commissioned to paint walls are painted. She also worked with celebrities and in all kinds of interesting projects. She participated in art festivals, in Russia and Ukraine. And recently Julia was invited to paint a Mural in Malaysia, and thus, her journey through the camps of Asia began.

Julia VolchkovaCould you tell us a little about yourself, where you´re from and how did you get started in the urban art scene?
Hello. My name is Julia Volchkova. I’m from Siberia. Drew from childhood, had professional art education, and studied classical paintings and portraits. I always wanted to do something big, to draw a huge portrait. Unaware of Internet, I had no idea of the existence of graffiti, stencil, and street art. I discovered it through the street artists in my city. And I began to learn more. I picked up the first spray can at 18. We would only draw in the summer as it was very cold in Siberia. And it was only one month in the year. After graduating from College at the age of 23, I went to St. Petersburg. There I started actively and constantly drawing. I was unstoppable! Huge walls were pulled and I was dreaming. It was like an obsession.
RussiaHow do you go about creating your art piece? How do you choose a wall/environment?

I like to draw people’s faces and bodies. I like plastic bodies. It often happens that I have any idea for which I am looking for a suitable wall, or vice versa. I have a large collection of photos to which I can make interesting art.

How much does your art affect or influence your everyday life and are there any role models or artists who inspired you?
My art is something that I cannot live without. Sometimes it is incredibly hard work to the point that I don’t want to draw.
I often wondered whether I continue drawing all my life. Or one day I decide not to paint and all.
I didn’t paint last two weeks. It’s like an obsession and it affects my daily life.
From contemporary art, to me no one is affected. But some masters of the past years have left an impression and influence on me, especially the sculptor and the painter of the Renaissance Michelangelo, and the Russian artist Repin. Recently I discovered the artist’s work, Zdislava Beksinski.

55What are your thoughts on the way the internet is influencing the artworld?
The Internet is a great tool in the dissemination of works for the world. One has only to publish it on your site or on Facebook, for example, and it immediately exponentially spreads around the world and your work is already recognized in the most distant corners of our planet. This is amazing. But there is a disadvantage is that, you could be affected by the styles of other artists. So I prefer not to go on street art sites and look at other creativity and not to fall into the controversy and disputes. And it is better to go and do something new.
A drew a huge portrait in Ukraine at the festival of street art “REPUBLIC”.

Which countries have you visited to paint so far and where did you like it best?
Most of my work in Russia, In St. Petersburg and in Siberia, where I come from. Recently, I started to travel, and was invited to different countries to paint. Now my street art can be seen on the streets og Georgetown, Malaysia. I was invited to the project at Georgetown to paint the walls of a hostel in the historical part of the city protected by UNESCO. The agreement was extended, because it’s the walls of the ancient Chinese city. But eventually I realized the importance of this project. The success was great. Lots of people were interested in these drawings. In Malaysia, I had the most grateful audience. I lived there for several months. Also we organized a project called “REFLECTION”. This is a project about creative work in the journey. It combines several people. The video, and the music were written by musicians and street artists. Creativity in all its manifestations. It was a fresh project.
At the moment, we have removed two social video drawing in Malaysia. One of them, is a portrait of Indonesian boy in Georgetown, Malaysia and the other one of his sister in Bali, Indonesia. These 2 portraits represent the story of the children living along the road in huts made of polyethylene packages, and it’s their childhood.
GeorgetownHave you painted in the USA?

I never been to the USA. I would love to visit your country and to draw up something Big. I will make it there one day.

What are your views on racism, injustice and human rights?
I do not approve of racism. We are all people, versatile and interesting, each with its own culture and traditions, it’s interesting. How can this be discriminated against. I began to travel and meet on the way people from different countries with different color skin, with slanting eyes. In Asia all very friendly and welcoming. If you show interest and respect for the culture of another nation, it is perceived hospitably, otherwise it can cause a negative reaction.

JuliaStreet art is still considered vandalism, how is it for you to go out and paint in the street? Did you ever have any problems with the law?
This is a very fine line. My art is very positively perceived by others. But there are problems with the law when I paint in an illegal place. Several times I was taken away by the police. And several times visited the national TV station and talked about the event and encouraged people to attend. So government officials showed up and gave me permission to draw. Some of my works were part of the informal attraction, and some were painted over as illegal drawing. Such a paradox!

What have been your most challenging and rewarding piece of work thus far?
I have a few favorite works. Perhaps one of the first works in Siberia in 2008.

What do you do when you are not creating art? What are your hobbies?
I love to dance and crazy about it actually. Exercise and Jogging and lead a healthy lifestyle. I am a Model in Russia, and participate in Photo-shoots and shows. I was offered contracts, but painting is more important. I like horse riding. Roller skating and a quick drive away. I am an adventurer and a player. I like everything unusual and purple.
Bali, Indonesia

What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
I am traveling now. I discovered this beautiful world. In the autumn I am going to Mexico. I was invited to paint. I am preparing a new grandiose work there. In further work over the series of canvases that I haven’t shown, it will be something different.

42Any words of advice for aspiring new artists?
For young artists I suggest a sober assessment of their abilities. Now with the advent of the Internet, any nonsense could clutter up the brain. Read more useful literature on technology of drawing, and practice on paper. If you have the talent to develop it. If not, do not hold. Believe in love. Grow up but do not lose the child’s spontaneity. Be happy, and kind to people.

SAUS would like to thank Julia for her time and wish her luck and success on her journey and on making our planet beautiful.

Julia Volchkova

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  1. Tan Jia Qi
    December 7, 2015

    She is absolutely friendly and talented! I saw her painting in Penang last night and man, the crowds were so attracted to her work and flashlights never stopped. Keep up the work Julia.

    • SAUS
      October 3, 2016

      this is great!

  2. noel
    January 7, 2016

    I myself met her 3 years ago at St Petersburg in Russia where she lives , and she drove me to few places where she painted , despite the fact she’ s really pretty and gentle ,she ‘s also talented artist

    • SAUS
      October 3, 2016

      she so is!