People retreat from the world, the hustle and bustle, the bops and beeps, ringtones and sirens, in the hope of finding something. Not many people know what exactly it is, and that isn't really important. The fact is, solitude is seen as the path. For Julia Volchkova, born in the heart of Siberia, finding herself far away from the world was an everyday reality and in her paintings, it shines through in her deeply meditative style.
Nizhnevartovsk looks like a typical Soviet city. Bleak, concrete, lacking any real sense of cultural expression. Yet, her outlook and expressive style seems deeply indebted to the land she grew up in. While it may stifle many - it will also set some free.
Transcendence is that 'unknown' that many people seek, even though they might not know it as that, or know anything about it at all. Choosing to paint figures that are deeply spiritual, either by their garb, expression or just overall presence, Volchkova too seeks transcendence through her images - from her home, from earthly confines, from daily life.
Some people are happy to return to the same seat at the same bar, day after day. Others, by mistake or design, force themselves to look further afield. From the heart of Siberia comes these paintings that are like vivid snapshots, the kind you'd see on Time or National Geographic covers, imbued with a sense of unreality and imagination. They're the work of a dreamer who dared to dream and whose dream the world wanted more of.
Isolation was a gift for her. Now, living and working in an interconnected world, Volchkova's message reflects the changing circumstances of her life. On her philosophy she said, "My purpose of creating street art is to build connections among the people around the world and tell them to be kinder, more open-hearted and helpful to each other."
It is Asia that seems to have most deeply captivated Volchkova, with many of her artworks appearing there and many aspects of Asian culture, of which she has extensively researched, appearing in her work. It is these experiences, gained through travel, that have reinforced her own artistic perspective and personal worldview, shaping a holistic and unique voice that permeates her street art.
Volchkova's message is powerful, especially in a post-modern era where everything has a label - a phenomena that is said to celebrate our differences, yet only exaggerates them. Rather than add to this discourse, she has chosen to bask in the things that draw us together, the things that go well beyond cultural practices or superficial features. Her paintings aim to tell a universal story, one that we are all a part of.
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