Sonya Derviz

Sonya Derviz


“Lately my ideas are focused in more psychological or unspoken behaviours, mindsets.”

2. S. Derviz, Dancers II, oil on canvas, 220 x 200cm (1.1).jpg
6. S. Derviz, Unititled, oil on canvas, 220x190cm(4.1).jpg

Tell us about your background, where did you grow up and where did you study art?

I was born in Moscow, at the age of 12 I moved to study in the UK on an art scholarship. I decided to continue to live and study in London after. I finished my BA at the Slade School of Fine Art a year ago and currently I have a studio in London. 

What is your artwork about? Tell us about your subject matter.

Lately my ideas are focused in more psychological or unspoken behaviours, mindsets. Right now I am fascinated by dreams as a way to process emotion and construct a narrative where impossible things can be brought together and where they have potential to find a relation. 

Some paintings have developed more contradictory relationships, they can be seen as abstract or figurative, somber or funny. And the possibility of this is interesting. Sometimes the figures or characters in my drawings are based on characteristics of people that I know, and these works start from life drawing. Most of them extend or stretch what is really there, reimagine it and bring it closer to how I think. There is a relationship between drawings from life and made up narratives, figures or faces. My current body of work is focused more closely on narrative situations, I think that sex and night scenes have been at the core of many narratives this year.

Can you tell us about your approach to a new project? How do you find a starting point?

I can start a painting or a body of work by developing my ideas in drawings and sometimes writing. Sometimes I begin with more structural planes in a painting, to find a way that the painting can contain an idea that I have. Even if there is an idea or a plan, the actual process of painting changes things. Most of my ideas change, mostly due to their expression in a material form. A painting has its own physical necessity that ultimately determines itself. These relationships give me space to formulate my ideas, within the language of painting, and perhaps find something I didn’t know before. I begin to focus more on imagination and its conscious limits. In the end ideas or objects are not the subject, and with painting you can see that.

My starting point is always something I am really interested in, most of it comes from my everyday, my surroundings, conversations that I have, my dreams too perhaps.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you or effected your work?

My everyday. 

I spend time in parks, and draw people that I see, in my drawings I imagine them naked. 

7. S. Derviz, Untitled, oil on canvas, 220x190 cm (1.1).jpg
5. S. Derviz, Unititled, oil on canvas, 200x160cm (8.1).jpg
10. S. Derviz, Untitled, oil on canvas, 220x190cm (1.1).jpg
8. S. Derviz, Dancers I, oil on canvas, 170 x 120cm(1.1).jpg

How has your practice changed over time?

In some of the past paintings, I was less interested in defining or outlining figures or faces, but I still needed them to be present, its a contradiction to work through. Their form was more defined in terms of a space within a painting, suggesting or really stretching features to quite extreme points instead of articulating them. This year I became more focused on working with narratives more directly, more focused outlines, and actually drawing created more space to develop ideas. As these shifts came from the previous work - it was really a development of the same thing, I find myself still working through the same contradictions, they are still relevant.

Name some artists you're inspired by, and why?

Last few months I have been looking at a lot of El Greco paintings. 

Tell us about your studio and your routine?

I try to keep the same work hours. Usually I work from 10 until 10, which can seem like a long day, but it really doesn't feel this way. Sometimes its good to just spend time looking at what I am working on. I feel that structure to my day definitely helps me with a more emotional/psychological aspects of making work too.

Do you have any news, projects or shows coming up?

Recently I showed new work at Light Eye Mind with Mariann Metsis and Kin-Ting Li. We called the show ‘just as when the night’, which made sense to the narratives in our recent works, it was quite a casual project, more focused on testing out recent ideas - in paintings, drawings and writing. As well as this right now I am in a show ‘Parfum d’epines’ in Paris, organised by V.O. Curations and Phillips, its on until 26th of July. 

Noel Hensey

Noel Hensey

Won Young Chang

Won Young Chang