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Identity is a focus for 20-year old artist Maya Golyshkina. Growing up in Russia, she has experienced feeling controlled under, what she refers to as a “conservative country”. Her DIY designs have helped her work through moments and experiences through her life, becoming a form of escapism and liberation. For Maya, art is something that cannot be controlled or contained, her favourite projects are those which allow her complete creative autonomy.
Freedom encompasses all she does. Freedom to move, freedom to explore, freedom to create. Art and her passion for it, flows through her work. Join us in exploring Maya Golyshkina’s creative process, her changing body image, and mysterious plans for the future.
Who is Maya Golyshkina and what is your goal with your designs?
So I am an artist mostly, and set designer as well. I am also working as a creative director, and art director too. That is it in general. I prefer to say I am an artist in general, to combine all the stuff.
That sounds like a lot!
Yes, it is!
So, behind your work itself, I don’t know whether to us whether to use the word “wacky”, but your bold designs, what inspired them?
I think I started my artwork when I was really young. I was about 5 years if I am not mistaken. I started with drawing on my furniture! My mum was really shocked. Then, she understood I can be an artist. I was a hyperactive child, even at school I even drew too much. I would use things like glue. I went to special courses to learn more about art, and I studied at art school which is a more classic way of working as an artist. It was a good base for me. After that I started taking lots of pictures of my friends, it was very simple. I realised, why can’t I use my body as a tool? This is how I started.
That sounds like an incredible journey you had. So, your work is often DIY orientated, using products found around your house. How has this shaped your artistic vision?
I think it makes it more varied, accessible, and understandable for people who have these things lying around their house. It is interesting how an object lying around your house can play into my performance and become something big and huge after I take a picture.
That’s what I always really liked about your designs, how it was weird but also really cool to see things from your kitchen on your body. What is your favourite part about designing with “abnormal” materials?
I think my making my work itself is the most important part of it, and the most interesting one as well.
As an artist, you blur the line between fashion and art at some points, for example, your dress made from magazine paper. How have you found your working within, have you ever found it alienating?
I wouldn’t classify myself as within the fashion industry. I am interested in some of it and have worked with it at times. But mostly it is very commercial. It is a very commercial project for me and not a creative one. In general, this is what I think about fashion.
I definitely agree, I think within the fast fashion industry a lot of the designs can seem the same at the moment.
Yes! Especially because of the limitations within the industry. Their goal is to make money, they want to do things how they want. I can’t feel the same freedom as when I do something like this. It is ok for promotion and commercial work, it is a great experience, but I am not a huge fan of it.
Fair enough! What is your design process usually like? Or is it constantly changing?
Usually, I draw something on my phone or piece of paper, whatever comes to hand. I also outline what materials I need for and the project in my head. This is how I start with my ideas.
Obviously, every process is different, but yours sounds intricate and interesting. When it comes to designing your work what is your favourite part? What is your favourite thing about the process of design itself?
I think the most incredible thing is that you can be free and create what you want, write your ideas on paper or whatever. The release of the idea in real life can be good. Seeing into your own mind can be good, but it can also not be. You never know what you are going to get.
Your body is often used as a tool/artistic piece in your work. Has this changed the way you view your body?
As a woman, I have faced a lot of discrimination, and complexes as a child. So, I started to use my body as a tool to understand what I can do. How free I can be, how I can feel sexy. I started to feel sexier and liberated, and I realised bodies have no boundaries.
I completely agree. I also am a woman and can see how putting your body online in that way can be really scary, but also really empowering. When I was looking into your work I really admired how confident you were in your own body. Has that come through design, has it helped in anyway, or has it always been this way?
I think it came with time and experience. I researched into women's bodies, feminism and the issues in society. It was a huge amount of work. It is hard to only choose one part of my research that was responsible, or choose the most important one. I continue to fight against these issues in society, especially for women. I was born in a very conservative place, in a very conservative country. A woman can be a person, but she can also be viewed as a animal or a piece of meat.
Yeah, I completely understand. I think your work, especially because of where you are from is so important, so I really admire the work you are doing. Another thing I wanted to ask was about inspiration, do you have any artists who particularly inspire you?
I really like McAllister, you have probably heard of him. Juergen Teller, Namio Hurakawa, Alice Neal, Joanna Piotrowska, also Maria Lessing.
What about their work draws you towards it?
They are very different. One of them is a pefrormer, Mcallister works with glass art. Namio Hurakawa was born in Japan and his work is about women and sexuality. With Maria Lessing, I can't actually describe her in general but she was a very famous artist in the last century. I know many artists and directors. I also am inspired by many movie directors, like Lars Von Trier, Paolo Sorrentino, and Michael Haneke. That is everyone I think, that I remember.
That is a really great list, a really diverse range of artists. I can kind of picture how your work is inspired by them.
It is all about me, I like them because they are a part of me. They reflect me, and I reflect them in my work. Because they are me, you know?
Was there one particular piece you made that was particularly difficult for you to make? If so, why?
It was really hard to work with plastic materials. I was really nervous to do something wrong. Also working with cigarettes.
Yes I've seen the one you're talking about I think, is it the one with the eyes?
No, I have a cigarette dress!
Yes! It was filled with cigarettes, there was a lot of them. It was really hard to proceed with it because I was really tired. My assistant was also really tired.
I can imagine! How long did that take you?
About 6 or 7 hours.
I actually thought it would be much longer! I thought it would be something like 2 months. That is really impressive. Which has been your longest piece to make?
When I make my costumes and ideas for someone else, it is always a huge project. It takes a longer time, usually a week or two. For myself, it was definitely the cigarette dress.
You have recently began working with your own NFTs. As you can tell I have been stalking your Instagram. What do you think about the rise of NFTs in art and fashion?
It is difficult for me to say my opinion and analyse everything that is happening right now. I don't really understand it. I tried it, but I still am unsure about how I feel about it. I do think it is a good way for artists to earn money and be independent. I heard that it is very bad for the ecological situation.
I honestly don't know. I can keep up with all the NFT news, every single day you wake up and someone has created a new NFT. It's as if everyone woke up one day and decided to buy these monkeys. I bet you get asked this all the time, but What do you have planned for the future? Any exciting projects?
Moving to London. Creating something new in very different ways. I want to pursue art direction in a much larger scale. I want to work on more set designs and take part in really big shots. I want to try to apply for galleries and open calls in London. It is hard to explain all of them, I want to try so many things.
I hope this question isn't too personal, but why did you choose London?
The answer will be very simple, I only know English!
So no Paris then?
I get a lot of work from London. In general it seems to be very convenient, I see my future there. It is good for artists and for the music video I want to do in the future. There are big music artists there who I am interested in working with.
This music video, can you tell us more about it?
It is a secret! You will see in the future, don't forget to follow my Instagram!
I want to thank Maya for her time. You can find Maya’s work on her Instagram, @_themaiy_, to see some of her incredible pieces.