Exclusive Interview with Liudmila Panenkova

Hello Dear Liudmila Panenkova. Thank you for giving us the chance to Interview with you. Our first question is who are you and what do you do?   

I am a full time artist or a freelancer artist, mostly living out of the commissions. I have been passionate about drawing since I remember at early age 4-5 and always knew only thing I want to do in this life is drawing, no matter what it would cause.I was brought up in poor family and had fo start to work at 17 in the environment far from any artistic creative field fo earn for living, I had to take the orthodox icons painting course in Fine Arts Academy which was sponsored by Government. However this background of philosophy and religion has really helped me to develop my mindset and reinforced the content I devoted my art practice to. Even though i have never  painted icons afterwards!My main media is pigment ink pen on Arches/ Canson paper. Consider myself an innate drawer more than a painter.    

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what drove you to choose art as a career?  

In fact none in my family has ever had artistic skills in drawing. I was raised by my grandparents who were passionate about art though and instead of books illustrated for kids, they started to show me the albums with masterpieces of great artists very early. I could sit and look through those reproductions and posters for hours. However my favorite illustrations were made for Bible , also engravings by Gustave Dore for “Divine comedy” and “The Caprices” by Francisco Goya. I have started to redraw the figures and fragments from those prints at the age of 5 and tried also to illustrate some fairy tales and legends which I read along. I always think that art skills come from somewhere above. When ideas come on my mind, I clearly see the image in front of my eyes and draw it, very rarely altering any details. I think all artists ate blessed in a certain way to create their own realities and open doors to different dimensions for others. However my previous life chapter and career path involved 9 years of hard work environment as an engineer in construction field and project manager, but once I completely made up my mind to switch my life to art I had never any regrets, despite losing financial stability .  I just highly value and feel grateful to destiny and my audience for all the support to my art ideas and art career!!  

I hold one solo back to my homeland and 3 solo exhibitions in Dubai where I am based for last 7 years. I can call myself a happy artist getting exhibited in international art scene, as I have started my art career in Nice (France) initially and came across different cultural  and environment. Most of my clients are still Europeans due to the certain cultural patterns but I do hope to extend my audience.  

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes? 

I would say Faith (not mandatory religious context) and desire to create the artworks reminding about the values of Love, moral principles, staying yourself and not getting spoilt and evil due to the life experiences and traumas. I choose topics which in a way appeal to every one and use symbols which are familiar to every culture. That is why I chose symbolism as a major art style.  
I would love here to share a small strophe i made a while ago (I apologise for eventually unclear metaphors as far as english is not my native language!): 

Behind the curtain there's always

"The better- the worse" showcase

And if you pursue success as a purpose, 

your life will turn into a race.

Exclude any chance to complain.

Disdain your mood again and again.

Ignore your desire to feel,

Getting seen, important or loved,

Make with your body a deal

Staying cautious, disciplined, wrapped.

Stop your heart from releasing the fluids

Of tenderness, mercy and glow;

Nobody seeks for benignancy seeds

But the minds around to blow.

Are you truly greedy for freedom?

Or is this a hidden loneliness struggle 

Following chic psychological wisdom?

How do you make sure you have time to create? Do you have a set time or build it into your calendar?

My favorite artwork is Eve/Lilit. I wanted to show the double sided personality we all have especially women who are constantly passing “breaking the social limits” story. Emancipation and housewife lifestyles are both often ostracized at their peaks and simultaneously imposed by the societies we live in. However same woman can be successful and independent in her mindset being focused only on the family, while the career oriented strong woman can be extremely lacking acceptance as she is in private life. I also wanted to emphasize that having double standards is in female nature and should not be judged. Females are sensitive, they take everything closer to the heart, they frequently are natural givers and savers and their “high expectations” do not make them devilish. Third eye in which both faces are joined also points out the idea of ultimate female intuition. 

 How does art-making impact other parts of your life?

 Actually my job is my lifestyle. Even if sounds pathetic, it is my world. My job replaces my family, having a child and a husband. I do really like to be influenced by other people so keep introverted lifestyle mostly. Can stay and work at home for weeks just getting out around neighborhood for groceries. Even though I live in a such dynamic hub as Dubai, I prefer to live away from urban vibes to keep my mind free of “white noise”. 

We saw lots of medieval touches in your artworks. What is your artwork exploring, underneath everything?

My current body of works is devoted to Knowledge.  Knowledge of the unambiguity of goodness and evil, which never mix, no matter how much the modern world urges us to be more tolerant, more patient, set double standards and become conformists.  I want to show that the immediate act of eating an apple is aimed for giving Knowledge to mankind, and not familiarizing people with Evil.  To gain the Knowledge, you have to sacrifice something... but don't feel like a victim to sacrifice.  Sacrifice consciously, like a generous winner.

 Yes, gaining knowledge often brings bitterness and disappointment - this is a "retribution" that you need to accept, realize and move forward, already possessing knowledge and making a choice for yourself, good or evil, white or black.

The latest two series of 2022/2023 will be devoted to the research of Garden of Eden as the “the starting point of all the beginnings” and my personal interpretation of Tarot cards meanings, which describe the  lifetime milestones and unclear stages and tricky choices we all face up with.

The Garden of Eden for me is set as a starting point and an ideal end point of a person's life path.  Returning to the Garden of Eden in a form of Paradise when one becomes absolved of sins, innocent and pure in intentions for me personally means professing the philosophy of Stoicism, which is also described in the Book of Job and the Book of Ruth.  Also applying to the experience of vast majority of artists over the centuries, we see that the path in art is very thorny and requires titanic work, which can often turn out to be Sisyphean labor.  Art requires sacrifices on its altar - and if they are not expressed in a divisive expectation of recognition, then even success often calls on the artist to abandon his private life and “embedding” himself and his vision into generally recognized canons, to become an outcast for a while or forever.  For me, the path of an artist is the path of a stoic, the path of Faith. 

 Can you give us a spoiler on what’s coming next for Liudmila Panenkova? 

  Tarot cards series…!

  Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?

 If you want to be an artist, who chooses this heart from the heart and for the sake of Art, disregard what people tell you and generic measurements of success. Be you, be yourself, no matter what. If you want to make provocative content, be brave and do it. If you want to focus on interior decoration stuff , disregard that it is not extremely popular and enjoy the process. Be you, no matter what happens around. Ars gratia artis.

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