Rihards Vitols – Cologne, Germany



Briefly describe the work you do. 

I always want to challenge myself when it comes to creation of an artwork. There is no specific equipment or media which I use for my works. Usually I try to use both digital and analogue equipment to create a work. Issues that attract me and I find important in my work are movement, unpredictable outcome and contrast. When I’m creating a work I don’t think about the result but the process. Process is very important for me in my work. Over the past two years my work has been about ecological issues caused by our lifestyle. In this field I like to create works that might be used in the near future as every day objects that may become part of our lives. My goal is not to solve the problems, but rather to remind about them.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

My mother is a math teacher and father an engineer. I think that this where my desire for a challenge comes from. When I was little, my parents sent me to the grandparents for the summer to the countryside. Living together with the grandparents I spent a lot of time in the woods, open fields or along the lakes and rivers. Often I was involved in the work in farm. There most probably lays my interest in nature and ecology. High school years I spent studying sculpture. This experience allows me freely to operate with a variety of materials and equipment. When I started media studies I quickly realized that fine art is not for me. Since then I’m trying to combine my skills form high school with my skills in media art to form hybrid works.



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.”

I spend up to 70% of the day in the studio. But it is only when I have an idea which I’m realizing. I don’t sit in studio trying to think what will be my next work. Mostly idea comes to me while I’m spending time relaxing, traveling or reading a book. The most recent studio space where I worked does not fit the first thought that comes to mind when you think about artist studio. It is more like a very cozy office, full of creative people. My artist’s practice shows that it is easier to work when surrounded by people from the same field. This allows talk about your ideas and develop your work both conceptually and aesthetically.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I began to focus on art when I was 15, originally I wanted to be an architect or designer. When I was 17 I realized that I’m more interested in architecture than design. I got an internship in architects office. Everything there went very well and it was very exiting. But when the time came to choose I chose design. I applied for industrial design studies in the Academy of Arts because as I thought it’s for me, but I was not admitted. Then I found out about the media art studies in Liepaja University, where I started my studies in 2010. And since then everything that happens with my artist career is more impressive then I ever had imagined when I was 15 years old. But most importantly occasionally I collaborate also with architects and at the moment for me it is enough.

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?

For me the best hours for practical work are in the night or early in the morning. Then there is silence, peace and the work goes very smoothly and fast. During the day it is easier is to do the production, planning and writing. Each day I spend approximately from 3 up to 16 hours working on my ideas.



How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

I think that my method how I create work has changed more than the works themselves. Earlier I frequently created small works, now I create less but I devote much more time to the process. Some works take years some less than that. Regarding to creation of the work I have realized that everything can’t be done by yourself. Usually I’m trying to involve other artists to help to create some part of my work. Still I’m trying to experiment and be playful in the process of work creation.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

The impact of the people has the bigger role in the way how I’m making my work, not in what I do. And here I can mention the artists from RIXC center. They have been my lectures for 5 years and I have spent a lot of time working for them which clearly have an impact on how I’m making my works. Also, the time spent in Art Research Lab (MPLab) of Liepaja University which often gathers together media artist from different fields and countries have left marks in my artistic work. As for the family, their influence is seen more in the themes which I choose for my works.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Yes of course. Still occasionally when I’m overworked and don’t seeing the end of it, I want to leave everything. If I did it I would like to turn to extreme sports or become a farmer in a remote corner of the world. But when I complete the work and see it exhibited, everything changes. I wouldn’t change that feeling for anything. As for the hobbies I like to go out in the nature and sleep under the stars. If I don’t have so may free time, I love to spend time making realtime visualizations. Mostly I’m doing it for audiovisual organim Trihars (I’m part of it) and musician Toms Aunins.


portret_of_meTo create artwork for me means not only to make actual work but to think about the process which will make the work. For me the process is more important than the result. I like to create works which are partly digital and partly analogue. I like to use old and everyday things to create my works. For last two years my works are related to environmental issues. My goal is to make futuristic look on how I see the near future of the world. I have a master’s degree in media art from Liepaja University part of my studies I have spent in prestigious Bauhaus University Weimar (DE). This year, I started studies in Cologne Media Academy (KHM) to get a second master degree. I started my professional career in 2010 and since then I have participated in several exhibitions in different European countries: Belgium 2015 Mons European Capital of Culture official program exhibition Transformative Ecologies, Slovenia Maribor exhibition Virtuoso, Riga Exhibition Virtuoso, in 2014 I was a co-author for Latvian showroom in Italy Venice Architecture Biennial, 2011 France Arles Transience exhibition. Since January 2014 I am a chairman of the E-Lab, Center for Electronic Art and Media, since September I am a lecturer at the Liepaja University.



All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.


About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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