Artist Yulia Skrypka: "Painting is a real drug legalized by the sky"

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀She applies chalky ground mixed with animal glue and linseed oil on a specially prepared board... Under the movement of her brush, a bold vision of the present meets the technique of levkas, which was once used by Andrei Rublev and Theophanes the Greek. The subjects of her paintings are dreams, incense, funny and sad stories, old photographs, vinyls, cast-iron irons, and gutted clocks. The "faces" of these Levkas are wistful and spiritual. They are lyrical and strong in spirit. In fact, just like their author, a young Ukrainian artist Yulia Skrypka. The artist knows well what it is like to go out and meet something new, to devote oneself to a dream, a vocation. She was strong enough to "break up the medical family dynasty" and to "risk competition" with her close person, her stepfather, an artist. Today, Yulia creates, participates in collective exhibitions and organizes personal ones. This summer, her levkas decorated the walls of the National Museum of Taras Shevchenko. Her immediate plans include completing a series of city streets, creating self-portraits with "a little 'dismemberment'" and combined levkas with stained glass windows, where LEDs can also be installed. However, we will talk about this later. And now - art that gives faith in tomorrow... a better day.

- They say that levkas is a "magic" technique? Yulia, do you personally feel its "magic"?
- Levkas is a bottomless well of inspiration and a variety of technical possibilities. Just the ability to easily get rid of right angles in your work with an electric jigsaw, which we are in all the time, if you think about it, is worth it. The wool that is glued to the board can also affect the texture and image. And if you go with the flow of the process, you get really interesting things, as if they didn't come out of your hands. It's symbolic that levkas and its composition (animal glue and chalk - essentially calcium) resemble bones. Multilayering means a wide range of volumes and textures, which also sometimes appear by themselves...

- By the way, the multilayered layers of the levkas symbolize the levels that human consciousness goes through when old principles are destroyed and new ones are formed. What new principles should a modern society be based on?
- Sometimes it seems to me that the problem is not in creating new principles, but in reviving the old ones. Moreover, in creating conditions under which they would exist not only nominally, but would be implemented at all levels and in all spheres. Current trends in society are largely limited to the desire for material success and domestic comfort, the proverbial golden calf. And the replacement of live communication with a flat monitor scares me. In fact, the only thing that distinguishes us from animals is the ability to resist animal instincts for the sake of such meaningless phenomena as love, patriotism, compassion, dignity... And the desire for pleasure and relief from difficulties brings us closer to animals, despite the enormous technical differences in the means of achieving the result.

- Yulia, do you believe in the "therapeutic" effect of art, which has been discussed more and more recently?
- I believe in the effectiveness of many concepts, the main thing is that such delicate and fragile areas as consciousness and the human soul should be touched by real professionals, and humane people in general. Personally, I escape to Bregovich's music and films with Pierre Richard. Painting is just a real drug, but it's legalized by heaven. In our "smart" time, the visual channel is clogged with all kinds of junk. And to become an art addict, you still need some preparation, or at least the willingness to stop for a moment and dare to contemplate. Music, in this case, is more fortunate, and despite all the dirt on the air, the human ear is less overloaded and can still tune in to classical, jazz and alternative music.

- Yulia, I am attracted to your paintings primarily because of their harmonious coloring. It creates a feeling of warmth and comfort. But when I look into the eyes of some of your characters, I feel sad. What meaning do you put into your art?
- I don't plan the final result. And I don't even often think about the reaction of hypothetical viewers. And this is necessary for me. The fact that someone else is interested in my work sometimes causes me first of all surprise, and then a feeling of overwhelming happiness. And the states that my mirror boards reflect are different. And if you see more sadness in them, maybe it's not very good, but it's absolutely frank. Maybe someday I'll be able to create something more... cheerful. In fact, it's very difficult to create a really good, kind image, and to do it in such a way that it is perceived organically, that you can believe in it, and without feeling anxious and sad. And at the same time to preserve aesthetics. It's much easier to manipulate human vices in an exquisite way, using intellectual tricks, sophisticated irony, unexpected scandalous moves. I don't want to say that I have never used this. But I know exactly what is harder and where I need to go.

- You once participated in the exhibition "Women's Painting". I wonder if you see a difference between "female" and "male" art?
- I definitely do. I myself completely prefer the "masculine", although some men do not have it. At the same time, I realize the almost unattainable goal of getting closer to that completely different worldview. A man's sieve, through which he lets everything pass, is quite dense. He will mercilessly throw away unnecessary decorations, epithets, textures. For the sake of the whole. A woman will mourn every piece, and still keep half of it.

- There is an opinion that painters are cowards. They say they paint landscapes, abstractions that don't change anything in society. However, art can change people, influence social events...
- Of course, real art can influence. But this influence is possible only if this real art is accessible. Today we are witnessing the broadcasting of calculatedly profitable products. So who influences whom remains an open question. And society in times of crisis does not have sufficient cultural training, which in turn gives rise to a variety of "naked kings" for all tastes. And with the emergence of avant-garde and abstract art, the school, not the main criterion, but an important one, has almost been eliminated, which made the "coronation" very easy. Therefore, the notorious social order may not be totalitarian and political in nature, but it is not characterized by high ideals and meticulousness either.

- The tumultuous events of today's Ukraine provoke many artists to create new works with social overtones. What about you?
- Perhaps I am moving in this direction in a certain way. And the subtexts can probably be read from right to left and diagonally. Life and truth are always much more complicated and bigger than any "marker". Preserving the true human essence is above all else.

- In this difficult time, filled with unfortunate news and anger, it is important to do good, no matter how small. What would you like to do good for Ukraine?
- To preserve and pass on its mysterious magic code through the generations. So that the rhythms of this land, of these unique landscapes, could continue to pulsate. To teach people to hear them, and most importantly, to listen to them. I am happy that in some ways I am succeeding in this. For example, last year three girls I taught painting to won the "Ukraine through the Eyes of Children" contest, and one of them went to Artek.

- You have participated in the "Picturesque Ukraine" exhibitions. What Ukrainian places inspire you as an artist?
- There are a lot of them. Lviv, Kyiv, Odesa, Chernihiv... It doesn't matter the geographical location or the names of the small pieces of this land. There are so many small yards, tiny streets with puddles, laundry drying on ropes, cockroaches on the windows, and all of it is yours.

- How would you paint a portrait of the Ukraine of the future?
- This is a very interesting and difficult question. I can't immediately predict the whole image. However, first of all, I would use the iconographic image of the Pelagonitissa, the playing baby. I have used it before. I think it would reflect quite accurately the vulnerability, sensuality, and at the same time friendliness that has existed on this earth for centuries. It is a penetrating combination of reflections on a tragic fate with a tiny leech of a baby that has straightened out of the fabric and suspended a wonderful moment.

Daryna Fialko