Visual artist Lena Bush (aka Portfoliopdf) is originally from Murmansk, Russia but lives in London where she graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2013. Lena recently created the imagery to accompany a review of six perfumes on russian Interview magazine. Read more to discover her thoughts about creativity and her eclectic use of different media.
Could you briefly summarize your background and career?
I don’t think we still have the same way of collecting experiences, like career. It’s a bit more open now. Things are constantly changing and I’m getting used to not getting used to anything. Some mediums, platforms or practices can fade away in a couple of years, everything is too fast paced now. I think my background is like a mix of activities: painting, talking, swimming, listening to music, dancing, walking. You can’t learn one skill, it will always affect all other skills and the way you look at things, like synesthesia.
What are your current influences? Where do you get inspiration from?
Fish! Everything really, I stopped differentiating what is more important or what is less, it all is a flow of experience, you can equally be inspired by a book or by a book falling from the shelf. It doesn’t matter. There is a lot going on subconsciously too.
What is the role played by chance while creating your artworks?
I think it’s maybe 70% chance or maybe even more. I love mistakes. They add this feeling of the presence above you that creates something in the world using you as a tool. I like the feeling of losing control.
Could you please tell us more about your work process?
I usually just play around with tools, no matter if they are physical or digital, I don’t have a particular vision of what I want to have in the end. It’s all in the moment. I need to have some message or feeling though, to manifest it in my head for some weeks before making it. Two years ago I was experimenting with types of resin and moulds, but when I had to change locations all the time I couldn’t have a workshop and had to adapt my feeling of materials and shapes into some sort of a mobile medium. There are many advantages in working with digital matter: you don’t waste anything, you produce faster and don’t have certain limitations, you can grow hair on the stone for example. But at the same time it makes you very dry, very robotic, hard to stay alive when you surrounded by numbers and interfaces. Collaborations exist in the form of emails. There is no empathetic feedback from anything or maybe I haven’t discovered it yet…Anyway I spend hours in front of my laptop, I want to cross it with workshop practice, when you feel more like a human, you can have all your senses there. Web art or anything that is fully digital for me almost doesn’t exist. Last week I watched the talk by David Holz about the future at 2015 SVVR (https://youtu.be/xAUG6prB2nA). Its totally crazy. If we are soon to live in this fully scanned VR world, how we will adapt to it? I don’t think we will…
What are the biggest issues affecting women in the contemporary art world?
I recon it’s your personal choice to see these issues, to be affected by them. Or maybe you twist it all around making the biggest issues for men, for example. Its sort of two-sided, depends on how you look. I am constantly reminded of my gender from the outside world, but personally I feel my gender has dissolved. You lose it at some point, it starts to exist only in the forms of artefacts, some rituals, but doesn’t really overlap issues you face as a human. Being a woman is being a nurturing source, the archetype of giving. For me it feels more like a quality of being vulnerable. I accept being vulnerable, being vulnerable is a form of power I think.
Which of your projects are you most fond of? Why?
I’m usually excited by something I’m thinking about on at the moment.
What is a typical work day like for you? Any special perks?
I try to work in the early morning or late at night till 5am, at these time you can get really separated from all other happenings. My aquarium is my mood board and a second monitor.
What’s the latest project you have been working on?
Some animations for feltzine. Was funny, it’s an online gallery, you can do anything. I was asking my friends what should I do and one said maybe I should think of a sheep, but I decided to make some fish instead and something about online gallery.
What are your favourite art galleries/venues in you city?
I like the places that my friends organize, I usually feel most comfortable and inspired there. I think people create the space, not the other way round. Places can physically move too, nothing is fixed in stone.
I want to add some poetic element into digital world and at the same time ground it with the real. It’s all quite abstract but interesting.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/ interviewed here?
Cosey Fanni Tutti!
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