DesignPill Feature: Svetlana Nonstop Kepezhinskas, Visual Mad Scientist
Desigpill: Okay! First off, do you have some sort of profound fascination with hands?? I can count like 10 pieces where the hands are so meticulously detailed! If yes, why?
Svetlana: I used to always hear how hard hands were to draw so I drew a pen sketch in class and then a pencil sketch at home. After that was a canvas piece and I realized that hands where the easiest thing for me to draw. I also prefer hands because I usually don’t work off of reference photos, I mean, I may look at stuff to get ideas and inspiration, sometimes I don’t even do that, but I very rarely print a photo to sketch off of. But I can look at my left hand while I draw it and get all the small details that a photo or my imagination may not show. People started asking me to do more because they would sell out so it added to the quantity of hands produced.
Designpill: When did you paint your first piece of art? Do you happen to still have it?
Svetlana: Oh man, when I was little (laughs)! I have a lot of drawings from my childhood. Its amazing and humbling to see the progression. One of my favorite little drawings was this sail boat and beachscape I think it was done in 3rd grade and yes, I do still have it in one of my folders.
Designpill: When did you find your “style?”
Svetlana: *warning* this is my favorite question and answer!!!
it best describes my personal mantra, I think, and the essence of my world.
I hope I never find my style. That being said, I dislike “style” because it’s a limitation. We all naturally have styles and things we’re inclined to. Throughout the development of my work I will have a common thread weaved through my life. I’m going to have similar concepts, colors I prefer to work with, and shapes of lines that I’m more inclined to use. This is unavoidable. However, I am conscious of the tendency to fall back on favorites and things your comfortable with that you have done over and over. So I seek to go further, to explore, to leave behind the known, and to go into the unknown. I seek to let go of previous things that I worked on and try out something that may be distant from me like deeper colors, darker pieces, more touch, and grotesque subjects. It’s important to evolve, progress, and to push your limitations further. Dream bigger so that the style evolves with your life. I guess “style” is formed, broken, and reformed anew. I’d say that’s my life in general. Change is important and good and I have grown to welcome change, it’s is what makes my work progress. I hope to never reach the limitations of a “style” and this means I am also working out a way to be immortal (laughs).
Designpill: Do you have plans for a product line of shoes and hats?
Svetlana: I would love to have an apparel line of street wear come out but apparel isn’t really my main focus. I’m still playing around and developing characters. I have seen that apparel sells very well so I am definitely making a conscious movement into that direction. I will be teaching myself screen printing soon so I can make higher quality shirts and I’m still learning and trying out what works best on shoes and what stays longer on hats.
Designpill: How did the Russian dolls project come about? I LOVE that idea!
Svetlana: The Russian dolls came out pretty successful. I actually thought they would be more in demand but I got a couple sold so I’m happy with the outcome. I still have a lot of blank dolls and other little wood things I am waiting to paint on like spoons and bracelets! But what was more important in that process and the overall trip to Russia was to bring my heritage and upbringing to a more conscious level in my work, my influences as a kid, the folk art of Russian culture all the little details of the culture that have been embedded into my personality well its important to see how it affected and affects my art and how I can more consciously use these ideas and inspirations and incorporate the influences in to my current works.
Designpill: What keeps you motivated and inspired?
Svetlana: I get inspired by all the information that I come across and I’m also motivated by the simple fact that I want to make something out of myself and leave something behind. We have but this one life. This is not a dress rehearsal this is the real deal. You have no going back or waiting on the future to happen. You have to do all and everything now. And with that realization, I press myself to create, to motivate, to progress, and to do work. (Smiles) Also when I do what I love it makes me insanely happy and makes me what to do more!
Designpill: Are you still involved in interior design?
Svetlana: I’m not much a part of interior design. But I do end up using it in random circumstances like measuring rooms by eye in order to figure out what size canvas to suggest. I also use little details I learned in school such as the technique of holding a marker to translate how I hold and use a spray can.
Designpill: What is your absolute favorite surface to paint on?
Svetlana: Wood because I can use everything on it, but I do like new challenges and new surfaces that I haven’t tried out.
Designpill: What are you currently working on right now?
Svetlana: Well I usually work on a million different things, well more like 5, but I hardly ever stick to working on just one project. I have some commission’s I’m working on as well as personal projects like canvases, hats, shirts, toys, and I just finished a table. I’m also seeing what other new objects I can find to paint on (Smiles).
Designpill: What artists are you influenced by and what’s the latest thing you have learned from them?
Svetlana: I’m inspired and influenced by all artists. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Dali. I also enjoy the works of Mucha, Klimt, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Bruvel, Roger Dean, Picasso, and many others. Actually, all artists are important and inspiring. I love art history and I love hearing about artist that I don’t like so much like Edvard Munch or Andy Warhol. After hearing their biographies and what they went through, they almost eclipsed my favorites and became more interesting artists to me then previous mentioned. Dali will always hold the main platform. His life, his vision, and his art is something strangely familiar to me. Sometimes I like to fantasize that I am him reincarnated (laughs). But you know, I also think the most inspiring work comes from my peers. There is so much amazing art around that I get blown away each time I sit down and look through flickr.com. It’s humbling and thrilling that I’m surrounded by such minds. It pushes me to experiment, to do more, to not sleep, and to live art because when I’m out I always feel that other artists are creating, working, and progressing. It makes me want to get back home to make something.
Designpill: What do you want people to feel when they look at your art?
Svetlana: I want people to feel happiness or at the very least just feel. Art should bring forth emotion even if it’s negative. It should shock, awe, disturb, or make some one cry. That’s important. It has to affect you. That’s what successful art does. It should also relay the emotion the artist was feeling when they did it.
Designpill: Why “Nonstop Funk?”
Svetlana: Nonstop funk…ah well because it’s funky what I do (Smiles). Nonstop funkiness is the image (laughs)! Actually, sometimes on profiles nonstop as a name is taken and I had to come up with something that wasn’t so Nonstop Funk came about. Nonstop is the name funk is the game! Nonstop, as well as Nonstop Originals, kind of refers to the overall all mass of work. Nonstop is sort of like my artist name. I still go by Svetlana Kepezhinskas but Svetlana Nonstop Kepezhinskas sounds better don’t you think? Plus, I didn’t want to just use Nonstop and be a weird artist that’s just know by a name (laughs). It’s also my writing name, Nonstop on the streets. So I guess nonstop funk is the process of creating art. It’s my verb that says “I’m creating art” but it’s not just art its music, its culture, it’s the process of living.
Designpill: What do you love most about being an artist? Least?
Svetlana: Uhhhh… I think I like everything about it. I like the freedom. No schedule. Well organized chaos. I like giving my pieces of me and my world to others and I like the effects it has on people. I like the events and I like the people that visit these events. I enjoy learning from other artist. I especially like trading art with other amazing artists and building my personal collection! I like having an excuse to look messy because I just painted (laughs)! I like waking up and being excited to work out a new idea. But most of all, I enjoy that I can create with barely anything. I can find a piece of wood or get a sheet of paper and with my own brain, my hand as a tool, and the pencil as the magic wand, create a whole new world…now that’s amazing to me.
Designpill: Are any of the walls in your current home spray painted?? Lol! (side note: In college, everytime I went to Svet’s place a different wall was spray painted!)
Svetlana: Sure are (Smiles). The laundry room is painted my mom and I are in the process of cleaning the garage. The right side will be my storage/studio space with a wall that I will paint. Can’t wait!
Designpill: What advice would you give to an up and comer such a as yourself?
Svetlana: No matter what, believe in yourself. Belief in yourself is all you need. Also, dream bigger and pay attention to everything.
Well Svet, I can’t thank you enough for blessing us with your art and insight. You are truly an amazing artist and I look forward to seeing what else your world has to offer! What an inspiration!
And for all you DesignPillians, check out more of Svetlana’s creations here and, if your’re really in love, get some of your own!!