DINA MELNIKOVA

CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

DM: I tend to describe myself as an illustrator but in fact it is difficult to categorize my work. I love experimenting, using different techniques, different mediums, going big with murals, going tiny with detailed ink drawings, trying animation… The thing that reunites it all is that I always try to tell a story with it, make it a narrative, that’s why I call myself an illustrator. 

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

DM: I draw inspiration from all kinds of small details around me. A beautiful pattern on the leaves, a mug of nice tea, books, moments of pure stillness….

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

DM: I love walking in nature or in the calm parts of the city. Long walks let me daydream but they also create the link between nostalgic memories and the details I see around me. Mind-wandering gives birth to the stories and ideas in my head that I use in my projects afterwards.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

DM: Actually, you see what you want to see, something that is already inside you. I hope that my work is open enough to let people see in it something important living inside them, something that will touch them particularly.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

DM: I am not a full-time artist, I’m an art teacher in an artistic high-school as well. Honestly, I think I would struggle being a full-time artist because of the instability and staying alone too much with my fears and hesitations. Having a stable job on the side, seeing people regularly and especially having contact with teens that want to make art is really motivating for me!

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

DM: I tried both ways and, in the end,  improvisation works best for me. When I experiment a lot and just let my subconsciousness work, the result is always surprising and original. I would never have arrived at the same result working in an organized manner, step by step.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

DM: Practice every day no matter what. 

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

DM: Personal style is something that makes you recognizable but it is not the most important thing. It’s important to experiment and to be able to adapt to every project you make without being a prisoner of your own style. However, good taste is something extremely important for an artist! 

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

DM: The hardest thing for me is being alone with my art, hesitating about every decision I make, questioning every detail.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

DM: The fact that I make visible emotions and thoughts that live inside me, being able to share my inner world with others.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

DM: I love the Italian illustrator Beatrice Alemagna, for her rich and interesting world, and for the amazing techniques that she uses. Her books and her illustrations always have something nostalgic and warm in them.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

DM: Of course, it is useful! It is an amazing way to speed up a lot of processes, to mix the things you wouldn’t be able to mix normally, to find new ways to express yourself.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

DM: I don’t like the idea of putting creative people separately from “non-creative” in the way of seeing the world. I know a lot of people who have quite a “creative” way of seeing the world without following the creative path in their lives. I think what matters the most is how open you are to the world, this way you will see it in its whole beauty.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

DM: I am definitely in love with Copenhagen! There is something about that city, its people, about the way of living and (oh my god!!) the danish design that makes my heart beat faster.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

DM: I can’t choose one author or one book but at the moment I am quite a fan of the books by Swedish comic artist Liv Stroemquist. I love the topics she brings up, she talks about sociopolitical issues, about feminism. And all this with amazing drawings. I’m not sure her books are translated in English, but if you have the possibility to read her in any language, I highly recommend! 

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

DM: I would love to work more with animation, it’s something that attracts me a lot. I see a lot of narrative and graphic possibilities in it.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

DM: That is a really huge question! It means the world to me. 

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to? 

DM: Jupiter – Saké, I just love it!

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

DM: It’s quite different from one project to another, it’s hard to summarize…. Instead of reading about it, you can make your own opinion by looking at my works on Instagram – @erifilia! 

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