Yulia Bas

Interview and Gallery

Yulia Bas

Interview and Gallery

There is a beautiful relationship between erasure and emotion in your paintings. Somewhat paradoxically, it is in part through their absences that the subjects speak—it is because of their erasures that they feel represented in whole. How do you come to the compositional ideas in these emotional renderings? Do you know what will be obscured or absent before you begin?

I build my work bit by bit led by my intuition, choosing areas I am drawn to that reflect a specific emotion that I want to convey from a reference. All the rest may disappear. I never know from the beginning how my work will turn out. I tend to keep my paintings beautiful throughout every step of the process, allowing me to stop at any stage. At the end, the blank parts may “speak” even stronger than the perfectly rendered ones, this puzzled emotional perception interests me hugely.

The texture of your paintings, such as with “Among the Reasons” (left), adds such a stunning physicality to the work. What is it that draws you to this texture?

I like my canvases to be really textured due to my ‘alla-prima’ technique of painting quite thinly, for instance, priming plays a very important role in my paintings, as its spontaneous randomness provides me with a unique starting point. It is like meeting someone for the first time that already has their stories ready to tell me.

The texture of your paintings, such as with “Among the Reasons” (above), adds such a stunning physicality to the work. What is it that draws you to this texture?

I like my canvases to be really textured due to my ‘alla-prima’ technique of painting quite thinly, for instance, priming plays a very important role in my paintings, as its spontaneous randomness provides me with a unique starting point. It is like meeting someone for the first time that already has their stories ready to tell me.

What is the philosophy behind your paintings? 

I consider them as an imprint of a constantly shifting moment in time. My paintings represent, to me, not only a point in my life journey but also a specific instant captured in my subjects. I feel I am a witness of an ever-changing landscape, where I am eternally trying to document this endless process of evolution, imperfect beauty and the complexity of innocence affecting our personalities. That is why I leave many of my paintings ‘unfinished’, as a transient metaphor.

When and why were you first drawn to art? 

At the age of four. I walked past a window of an art school where students were painting and was hit by such a strong will to be a part of that class, I still remember that moment to this day. I pleaded with my mum to enroll me into studying at this school and so she did when I reached 11 as this was the minimum age of pupils. I remember myself drawing a lot throughout childhood.

Has your academic training in interior design and architecture impacted your paintings, or the way you understand composition, light, or etc. on a canvas?

I think it worked the opposite way, my artistic approach influenced my design study and practice. I enjoy design as another way to play with colour, light, and textures. One of my favourite tasks of the projects I have worked on was to draw the presentational pictures and post production of 3D rendering images. Interesting that now as an artist with an architectural background, I rarely consider and plan my paintings as an object for interiors, in fact I would even go as far to say my work does not suit every space, however, I do know how to create an impressive wall piece. My paintings are very independent objects for me.

I feel I am a witness of an ever-changing landscape, where I am eternally trying to document this endless process of evolution, imperfect beauty, and the complexity of innocence affecting our personalities.

You stopped painting for a decade to pursue yacht design. What drew you back to it?

I am incredibly grateful for my yacht design experience as it has developed my design skills and practice in a different direction. It is a fascinating industry where I have met many remarkable people, gained a lot of confidence and studied several foreign languages while living in Europe. During the intense periods of complex projects, I learnt how to deal with many details, how to plan, complete and deliver on creative work. I am still participating in yacht projects, which brings me a huge gratification.

But something was missing…when we moved to Barcelona two years, I joined a life drawing studio as a hobby, and it was there that it dawned on me how much I missed painting, and the joy it brought me. It took me another year to encourage myself to pursue my childhood dream.

View more artworks by Yulia Bas in Flock 21.

Who are some artists you admire and why? Any paintings in particular?

There are so many! I can name some from the masters of old to the Instagram stars and friends: Paul Gaugin, Francis Bacon, Willgelm de Kooning, Bill Viola, Paul W Ruiz, Nicola Samori, Henrik Uldalen, Emil Alzamora, Paul Christina, Daniel Martin.

Who are some architects or interior designers you admire and why?

I am definitely in love with Biarke Ingels’ architecture with its strong and clear concepts. Probably the same reason why I am a fan of Kengo Kuma and MVRDV.

I am also an admirer of Zaha Hadid, with her unmistakable aesthetic, she is a huge inspiration by herself.

Here are some of my favourite interior designers: Josef Dirand, Patrick Jouin & Sanjit Manku, Studio Ko, Alex Vervoordt, Vincenzo de Cotiis.

Where can we find more of your work?

I’m trying to regularly post new works and process videos on my Instagram, @yulia__bas. There is also my website where you will find a selection of my paintings (yulialobanov.com).