ArtsQ – Joni Belaruski

01 What were your early artistic influences?

As a kid I drew a lot of animals, especially horses. I was obsessed with them and would spend hours and hours drawing them and trying to get the muscles just right. I still use animals a lot in my work.

02 What sort of Art and themes do you gravitate towards generally?

I love the body, I love faces and I am drawn towards work that shows a real mastery of the medium in which it was executed. I like narratives within the work and drama.

03 What have been the main inspirations in your working themes and style?

I’m really influenced by my surroundings. I made a visit to LA recently, my first time there and I think the space and light in the city really had an effect on my approach to my work. I felt the urge to start using colour whereas before I was all jet black baby. I’ve retained this urge since returning to London and I’m going to see where it takes me. Anything can spark an idea though: a conversation, a dream, a person, a song….

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04 What about the different mediums and techniques that you use or employ? Do you use modern technology and if so how?

Pen and ink are my preferred weapons. Modern technology? I’m all for it. My finished drawings are all executed on paper or board without any digital manipulation, however prior to putting pen to paper I use Photoshop sometimes to compose images from photos, scans, stuff I’ve found on the net. I have a huge archive of reference material and it’s ever-growing.

05 What other current Artists do you find appealing? Heroes and Zeroes?

So many. I’m just going to list some current artists I respect or whose work I’m drawn to and I recommend you go and check them all out. My memory is terrible but here are a few that spring to mind: Guy Denning, Justin Mortimer, Dale Grimshaw, CKirk, Audrey Kawasaki, Dan May, Antony Micallef, Dan Hillier, Sage Vaughn, Andrew Salgado, Chiharu Shiota, Jenny Saville, etc etc.

The Zeroes… who cares?

06 What can we expect to see from your current body of work right now?

At the moment I am working up drawings for a show in the pipeline at Converge Gallery, PA. The theme initially centred around crows and spirituality but I’ve kind of deviated off into killer whales, bubbles, cityscapes, panda suits and humming birds.

07 Anything that you really dislike and why?

I guess everything has its place.

08 What about Commissions and awkward Clients?

I get a lot of fun commissions from bands and musicians which is great as I’m a drummer myself and I like when the two worlds collide.

Awkward: clients not understanding that a ‘slight adjustment’ in a pen drawing actually requires a complete reworking.

09 Tell us what you are up to at the moment and where can we view your work etc?

I am taking part in a couple of group shows in London at the moment through a fantastic art collective called Movement: Artworks. The first show is still open at Pictorem Gallery in Walthamstow until next week, then it moves to Aside Bside Gallery in Dalston on 6th Feb. I’ve been experimenting with working on canvas for the second.

Beyond this, I have a duo show planned in the States this coming Spring with a really cool gallery called Converge which I mentioned earlier. It will be a duo exhibition with an American artist called Liz Parrish who has an entire world of beautifully alluring yet creepy characters painted on canvas.

10 Your thoughts on the future and things that excite you beyond Art?

I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future and that excites the hell out of me. As long as I can continue working I’ll be happy. I play drums in an 8 piece Gypsy/Folk/Punk band called The Great Malarkey and we were holed up in the studio recording just before Xmas. We just received the first mixes back meaning the next single will be released very soon. We also have a mini Scandinavian tour coming up in February so it’ll be nice to get out of London again for a bit. We’re a riot, check us out.

11 Have you met or worked with anyone interesting on your Artistic journey?

I’m fortunate enough to meet interesting people all the time.

12 What does the future hold in store for you and your work?

I know everyone says ‘take over the world’. I actually mean it.

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