Strange as it may seem, this artist fits the lines of Mayakovsky about the nocturne on the downpipe flute. The ability to create works of art from the simplest, that which is always at hand was always highly valued. Today we will get acquainted with Pavel Bondar and his project of photo expositions “Tasty Faces”. The uniqueness of this art project lies not only in the photographic similarity of the celebrity with the portrait, but also in the material from which the portraits are made – ordinary food products that are found daily in the refrigerator and on store shelves.
How did you come up with the idea of the rather unexpected project Tasty Faces?
Spontaneously about a year ago. My first portrait, created in a similar style, was a portrait of the singer Lara Fabian, painted with instant coffee. Coffee is close to me in that it is similar to watercolor in consistency and application technique, and before I worked with watercolors.
If you experiment with the degree of solubility and density, you get several rich, diverse shades. It helps to express all the beauty of the portrait, to make it come alive. And the very idea of creating portraits from food is something unusual, new in art, and art should live new. I want art to develop and inspire people.
As a creator, are you not sorry to say goodbye to such work? After all, many of them are rather short-lived and sooner or later it will have to be disposed of …
Some jobs are short-lived, especially if there are ingredients that are laid out on top and not absorbed. For example, I created a portrait of the famous Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi from sushi – I laid out grain by grain and distributed these small grains on the canvas for 4 hours in a row. Agree, an atypical material for painting. The work turned out to be quite painstaking. The rest of the materials that are well absorbed (sauces, coffee, tea, alcohol) remain on the paper for a long time without losing their saturation.
How do you choose celebrities for your portraits?
These are people who are in some way my idols or for whom I have a certain amount of sympathy. I must feel something in relation to the image that I think over and write. For example, the portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, which was one of the first to be painted in this project, was made using bread and tea. This famous Dutch artist lived in poverty for a long time and ate only tea and bread. But the portrait of the French singer Mylene Farmer was painted with dry red wine and grapes. After listening to her compositions, I got the feeling that it was necessary to capture her with wine. This is passion, France, her impudent and impetuous temperament. I immediately see a vivid image. It often happens that I dream about him. During sleep, an idea comes to me, which I immediately see as a big picture. This is how my portraits are created.
Would you like to do an art performance live? Draw a portrait at your exhibition …
I really want to, there are certain developments. I can see how it should look. This is all possible and doable. I do not want my exhibition to be something ordinary. If the portraits themselves are unusual, then the exhibition, I think, should be a real event in cultural life.
How long does it take to create one such portrait?
Sometimes I paint for five hours, and time flows like water. It happens that seven hours in a row at work, almost to a state of dizziness. Only by fully immersing myself in the very process of creativity can I fully experience the image.
What stages of work are most productive for you?
Precisely the seconds, the moments when I start work, the very beginning, the general sketch is the basis. And the very end of creativity. At that moment, when the portrait comes to completion, I stop … And inside it is like some kind of internal burning, heat with delight. It happens that I cry while creating pictures. With delight and understanding that my hands can create such things. Sometimes I myself am surprised that everything turns out so interesting.
Are there products that are technically more convenient for drawing and vice versa?
For newbies looking to create such portraits from food, coffee or hot chocolate is best. Rice turned out to be quite painstaking in the work, which had to be tried to smoothly distribute for the transition of shadows. In general, I do not think much about this issue, since in the process of drawing and creating an image, I see a single picture and I know for sure what I will assemble a portrait from.
On your official website, you write that you are a freelance artist. What do you mean by this concept?
For me, a freelance artist is a person who is not limited to a certain material, sees his own, even if in life, as a path of change, new tests, attempts and trials. You need to try the completely unacceptable in everyday society and try to break out of the gray mass. Such a person is free. I do not want to dwell on one thing.
Of the traditional painting techniques, which one is closer to you?
Graphics: pencil and pastel. I have been drawing with a pencil for about six years. Largely from intuition, I’m self-taught. Graphics are close to me, because in the pencil and its gray colors I find that simplicity and beauty that is lacking in this world. Not all portraits have to look bright, although the pencil is bright in its own way, it is lively, realistic.
As a self-taught person, can you tell us how important education is in the visual arts?
Perspective, proportion, chiaroscuro, basic rules – these are the basics of the basics, which you will have to get to know in any case, and it will only benefit. But I am an economist by education, so I studied all this material for myself. Practice is very important. When I am alone with myself, for example, walking in the park, then I can capture any landscape I like. From this freedom it becomes easy on my soul: I painted what I wanted, and not what someone orders. This ease helps artists in self-realization, in expressing themselves through their painting, which is very important.
What do you talk about in your master classes?
When I was just starting to conduct master classes, my audience was colleagues, people who met to communicate with the same interests. I couldn’t even think that it would grow into something more. That people from other cities will start coming to my master classes. Gradually, I began to teach, share with people what I know, my experience and practice. I try to explain in an intuitive and non-scientific way. My students have the opportunity to learn in a shorter period of time some specific moments and features in the drawing, which took me months or years. I enjoy teaching a lot. I like to communicate with people who are interested in creativity. I find in them something dear to myself and I think that with such people we are on the same wavelength and feel very good about each other. It is important! With a student, you can study and give a technical basis, and the spiritual basis should not be overlooked in any case. It grows in a person like a grain and is constantly being improved.
And what inspires you yourself?
I get very inspired when I look at people. On the most ordinary people. I study their features. I confess that I am attracted to girls and feminine features. Perhaps that is why there are mostly girls in my portraits. But this does not mean that I do not paint portraits of men. These works have a different aesthetics. I also like to walk in the park alone, look at the trees, especially in autumn, when there is little foliage. I watch the branches and see the void between them and the clouds in the distance. These clouds are freedom between the branches. It’s like I’m breaking through this space between trees as between life’s obstacles.
What are your plans for 2015?
I will continue to work with the Tasty Faces exposition. I set myself a goal – to create 50 portraits of famous people of the planet. I would like to exhibit them in Russia and other countries. I would like to share my vision with other people. I would like to teach how to draw as many people as possible. And also travel the world, get new impressions, get inspired, absorb ideas and embody them in your works.
What do you wish for our readers who would also like to express themselves in art?
I want to wish you to love this world, creativity and everything that you do. Breathe freely and not be afraid to open up, try absolutely everything. Do not dwell on techniques and do not doubt your capabilities.
Interviewed by Elizaveta Mozzhechkova, specially for the MuseCube portal