Words: Nina Scott-Smith

Photography: Benjamin Werner

Graphic: Jia Nie

Yulia Iosilzon

This month we visit artist Yulia Iosilzon who mixes her fantasy world and real-life obsessions through gauzy dream like silk paintings and oversized girlish ceramics. A recent graduate of the Royal college of Art, Yulia’s otherworldly paintings have a distinct energy to them that caught our eye.

Can you tell us about you and your background?

I am Israeli and was born in Moscow in 1992. When I was in my teenage years I moved to London and went to all-girls catholic school. Then there was a long way of doing portfolios, attending interviews that all led me to Slade School of Fine Art, where I completed my Bachelors in Fine Art. Then I enrolled to do Masters Degree in Painting at Royal College of Arts.

What kind of work do you produce?
What mediums do you use?

I make paintings on transparent fabric with silicone and oil paints. I also make sculptures, installations and my latest love- ceramics. I find it very interesting to connect the dots between painting on transparent surface and doing ceramic objects, when both of them are extremely fragile and unique.

What are your influences and where do your ideas come from?

I have always been inspired with stories, metaphors, everyday scenes, duality of meanings, social issues, female figure in society, political situation, humour, dramatic elements from everything that surround us. Some of the ideas and elements on the paintings go from the childhood, some of them are from some inner fixations and pleasures and things that make us laugh. I love the emblematism and double-meaning of things. They lie below the surface and sometimes are left unsaid. These things always excite me.

I love the emblematism and double-meaning of things. They lie below the surface and sometimes are left unsaid. These things always excite me.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to peruse being an artist?

It was something precious that I always kept to myself. I kept winning in the art contests but my parents never took it seriously. Then it just revealed itself naturally when I was 14 year old and had to take a path in the professional direction.

Please can you tell us about the ideas behind your most recent work for your MA at RCA?

I was hugely inspired by the stories of bandits and hooligans. The language of the prison tattoos and the street culture. I was watching a lot of gangster movies with a lot of drama going on. I was learning from those movies of how to bring this “poetism” of real life to the paintings and to make it visual for a viewer. How to reflect on things such as cruelty and stupidity. Some of that things I can reflect to the political decisions and everyday life.

Talk me through your process, how do you approach creating new work and when do you know when a piece is finished?

I always start from making tonnes of different sketches. Usually I have some colour fixation in mind and I experiment with different textures, colour depth and surfaces. I follow certain emotion or fixation when I create anything. I should always feel it before bringing it to the canvas. Colours and lines form an atmosphere and if I can read this certain feeling from a painting - only then I can finish the work. Some works should feel comfortable, some of them- not that much. It depends on emotion and fixation I’m drawn to at the moment.

Can you tell us about your favorite artist?

I can spend eternity of looking at Alex Katz paintings. There’s everything perfect in them. Colour, forms. I also find Gerhard Richter “Betty” series absolutely mesmerising. The image of that girl became some sort of visual icon for me.

I imagine you have been pretty busy recently! But where’s your favorite place to go in London at weekend?

Saturdays I usually spend with family discovering new interesting spots in London, like hidden small markets with food or vintage things, or galleries. On Sundays I go to the studio after family breakfast. This almost became a ritual in my life.

How would you define your style? What inspires you?

It’s really difficult to define my style. It is really based on stories and energy. Sometimes it’s character-based drawing -like painting. I love combining different styles and illustrations within my paintings.

What kind of music are you into?

Oh, it’s always an interesting and funny question for an artist. Usually tracks change each day, they all depend on mood. One day I can listen to Mozart and another day I can switch to Rihanna’s hot 20 songs.

What's next for 2019?

Planning some new shows, a solo show in New York very soon and some group shows in London with some other exciting projects ahead.

Artist: Yulia Iosilzon @yuliusprime

Creative Direction- Nina Scott-Smith

Photography – Benjamin Werner @benjaminawerner

Graphic design- Jasmine Nie

Research- Diep Nguyen

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