Maria Pleshkova is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, digital collage, video, performance, and text. Pleshkova graduated from the Law Faculty of Moscow State University, but her career in law wasn’t long because of her passion for art. Later, she studied Photojournalism at Moscow State University and Short film production at School of Visual Arts (Moscow). Also, she attended the Eddie Adams Workshop (USA) and the International Summer School of Photography (Latvia). Pleshkova’s artworks have been shown internationally, including exhibitions and festivals in Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Georgia, Czech Republic, and Slovenia. Her works are part of Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum collection and of numerous private collections. In her work, Pleshkova explores the boundaries of self-portraiture. Her life and art are inseparably connected. She lives her life through her art, making intimate and self-revealing projects. Pleshkova’s projects are always autobiographical, but the autobiography is just an excuse to talk about things that are universal and common to all humankind.
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I don’t have a special place to make art. Most of the time, I create at home. Actually, I can work anywhere, because I don’t need any special tools or any special gear. I need a camera and a laptop – and that’s it. I can make my self-portraits anywhere in the world, and it feels like freedom. So, for me personally, the place doesn’t really matter. What matters is the state of mind. My best time for creation is late at night, when nothing interferes.
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
My creative process is highly intuitive. Metaphorically speaking, I follow the white rabbit. I follow my ideas and concepts, which sometimes lead me to strange places. Francis Bacon, who is one of my favorite artists, described his creative process in an interview: ‘I had no intention to do this picture; I never thought of it in that way. It was like one continuous accident mounting on top of another.’ And I can totally relate to this quote.
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
Andrey Tarkovsky. Both his films and his diaries influenced me a lot. He passed away the same year I was born. But in a way, I consider him my spiritual teacher and my greatest inspiration.
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
That’s a hard question for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be an artist. Now I am a grown-up, I’m an artist and I live my life through my art. And I can’t imagine another way of being. Sometimes I think that art is the only reason why I’m alive.
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
Silence is the best ‘music’ for inspiration. I think every artwork is already inside me. All I have to do is to reveal it, to untangle it, to look for it. Silence lets the ideas arise from the deepest parts of my mind.
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
One of Richard Serra’s giant outdoor sculptures.
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
The Centre Pompidou.
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Always keep in mind that you are creating the future, and you are part of something bigger than yourself.
10) What is your favorite book of all time (fiction or non fiction)?
Joseph Brodsky poetry in general. But if I have to choose one particular book, it would be his poetry collection ‘Part of Speech’.
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non traditional art setting, where would that be?
A rock concert
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
Nobody can really ‘teach’ you. Your teachers can show you the right direction, but you have to go on your own.
13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
I hope I would still be an artist. And making art would be the main thing in my life. Probably, I would also try making films. I really want to. In fact, I’m very curious about where I would be in 10 years. I have a feeling that right now things are getting interesting and I’m looking towards the future.
Learn more about Maria and discover her collection of artworks.