Briefly describe the work you do.
For the past few years, I have been exploring the idea of home and memory in my oil paintings. I collect found images, old photographs and sketches to create interiors and landscapes that remind me of different parts of my life or recreate certain moods. I play around with scale and color to see what works best. I am still exploring this subject matter and just when I think I am finished with it, I find something else that reignites my interest.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I grew up in Vladimir, Russia. I was surrounded by a lot of history and culture, which left a strong impression on me. In 2001 we moved to the US, and I continued to paint, eventually getting my BFA. I think having two cultural experiences as a child made me cling to certain imagery, so I began focusing on partially separating myself from it. My work is slowly evolving from nostalgia to the idea of home and memory mixed with a little fantasy.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
At this point in my life, being in my studio is as much a priority as it is a luxury. Unfortunately, I am unable to be physically present and make work every day, but instead I focus on collecting sketches and images that inspire me for future use. I always carry a notebook and jot down ideas when I can. I think for a lot of artists there are two parts of studio practice: collecting experiences, ideas and references, and making actual work. One cannot exist without the other.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I find myself collecting images of other people’s homes and interiors, which can be considered a little creepy. I am really fascinated by different reminders of my own experiences, as well as creating fictional stories about the people who reside in these spaces.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I dedicate a few days a week to being in the studio, and the rest of my time I research ideas and opportunities. I am learning to be flexible and work whenever I can.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
Over the past few years my work became a little bit less personal in terms of actual images. I still include depictions of my own space, but focus more on conveying a more universal sense of place or mood. That can always change.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I look to literature to develop my understanding of place and listen to music to focus on a particular mood or emotion.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I am currently the U.S. editor of Fresh Paint Magazine. It is both thrilling and intimidating to work with so many talented and accomplished artists. I am really inspired by the work we publish and am thankful for a sense of community. Right now, I split my time between working on the magazine and creating my work, but inevitably sometimes one takes precedent over the other.
Ekaterina Popova was born in Vladimir, Russia. After moving to the United States, she pursued her passion for painting and received a BFA from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been exhibited in national galleries, a few of which include Uforge Gallery, The Painted Bride Center, The Boxheart Gallery, Chris White Gallery, Buckham Gallery and more. She has also been featured in publications, including The Artist Catalogue, Studio Visit Magazine and the cover of Ivory Tower Journal, Delhi, India. Ekaterina is a member of 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia, PA.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.