Artist Interview with painter Valeria Popova

In this interview, our graduate student Valeria tells about her artistic inspiration, the challenges she overcame, gives advice to beginner artists, shares her artistic goals, and more.

Today is a special day for us as our very first student, Valeria, is graduating! 

Valeria came to study Arts from Riga, Latvia. It has been a long journey on this path: 4 years of various assessments, hundreds of drawings, paintings, art restorations and other creative challenges for artists. Trying oil painting for the first time, making a first master copy, admiring the results of her first art restoration – these are some of Valeria’s memorable experience that ignited the artistic spark within her.

And here she is, presenting her final graduation project work! Let’s take a look at some of the artworks Valeria made during study period.  

We decided to ask Valeria a couple of questions about the most important experience she had, the challenges she was able to conquer, her plans for the future, and more.

  • Valeria, how did you decide on study abroad and at International St. Petersburg Art Academy in Florence in particular? 

I would say that I was so excited by the idea to study in Florence because it’s highly regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance – a crucial period of the major artistic, cultural and economic rebirth. There is a great variety of museums in Florence that provide artistic inspiration apart from the legendary Uffizi and Accademia Galleries. Just imagine the spectrum of emotions when seeing the masterpieces of Raphael, S. Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, G. Vasari and others! In my opinion, those students who are aimed to build an artistic career, should consider getting a fundamental academic education. Even if they would rather prefer to choose the modern art for their future artistic career, academic basis is a must – it gives a versatile approach in making your own, unique art. I’ve been looking for the art academy with a traditional approach to the study that could give me a deep knowledge in figurative art and that’s how I’ve found the International St. Petersburg Art Academy in Florence.    

  • What are the biggest challenges you faced during the study?

I would admit that I have faced with a lot of challenges on my way, starting from the process of integration of different country, language barrier in the beginning, even some technical issues. Moreover, Italy has its own lifestyle philosophy, which you should better respect and enjoy. And surely, a very intensive learning program was one of the most complex challenges, it was supposed to accomplish a great quantity of practical assignments as well as a high volume of theoretical fields of study. And if you see me here, graduating successfully from the Academy, that means that it only seems impossible until it’s done! 

  • What is the most significant experience during your artistic life?

As for me, art restoration and conservation workshops were really unforgettable! We got lucky to get an opportunity to work with the antique paintings under the guidance of a great master – Stefano Garosi. (Stefano Garosi is a well-known active restorer of paintings and frescoes in Florence. He restored the works of Raffaello, Georgio Vasari, San Gallo, Masters of Vasari school, Rubens as well as innumerable works of public and private artistic property). It’s so amazing to see how you can save something of a great artistic value, that has been existing for ages, for the future generations! In this particular moments you feel like a superhero! Then, I would also add our plein airs in and around a magnificent city of Florence – a trully unique place where you can find the infinite artistic inspiration everywhere. 

  • Tell us about your plans for the future?

Honestly, I’m quite ambitious and have a lot of plans for the future. I feel free as I have learnt the art fundamentals and can now apply them to my own vision of the modern art. I would love to find my particular artistic direction by combining nude figure painting with the animal painting in a distinctive way. I’m experimenting a lot now! I’m quite sure, it will be something very modern and unseen before and it will definitely approach the market.    

  • What would be your advice that work for the future artists?

You should be prepared for everything! A talent can be born everywhere, but it’s dedication, effort and continuous learning that make an artist complete. If you are struggling with something, stay focused and committed, put a lot of effort into your study, sincerely enjoy what you are doing and do not pass over your dreams! My best advice for a beginner artist would be to sketch, sketch and sketch! Just try sketching anything: people, nature, animals, surroundings,  your self-portrait. Becoming your own live model is a good option as long as you can keep on practicing, noticing even a small improvement in your technique. Color studies should also become your best friend! 

Thank you, Valeria, for your wisdom, we hope, your advice will help a lot to beginner artists!

What a proud day! We just couldn’t be happier for her! 

Valeria, congratulations on your graduation and best wishes for your nextadventure!

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