“We do have to find new languages to communicate the tremor of our times”
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
For many years I was a journalist in Ukraine. In my work, I criticized unfolding nationalistic revolution in my country due to its extremely conservative nature. That led to my violent persecutions by the government-backed right-wing militias. In 2009, I became a political refugee, and 2 years later applied for an asylum in the US. Since I was no longer able to use Russian as my tool of expression, I had to discover new language to connect with people in this new world of mine. This is how I’ve started to take portraits – first, on the streets of New York, and then in Los Angeles. Photography allowed me to approach strangers, and get myself into society I’m in.
Please tell us about your art.
I’m working both as a street photographer and documentary filmmaker. “Dreamy” is the word that pretty much describes the overall vibe of my work. I make portraits focusing on Black and indigenous people, street hustlers, transgenders, immigrants, homeless people… I love everyone I shoot and I do want to invest myself into those who are being overlooked, marginalized and underrepresented. I feel related to such people and I want to share the poetry of us with the world. While many artists tend to portrait streets in a gritty/realistic way, I intentionally turn everything into a dream. I’m not into some moral porn of ‘raising awareness” through making fetish out of the suffering and misery. I don’t want you to feel sorry for that homeless guy. I want you to fell in love, and see the beauty in him. Because that, eventually, develops empathy and humanism.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can visit my website https://anatoli.photography, follow me on Instagram (@dadakinder), share my art with your friends, help my work get exposed or just send me your grandma’s gold via Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
While the world goes right-wing crazy, art-world became this senseless freak that entertains fashionistas and all those old rich white people in artsy googles. Art today is a ghetto for the bourgeoisie. I do believe that art needs to get out of the ‘art-world’ and get political. Which doesn’t mean we all have to produce those socially-aware clichés like photos of hungry children in Africa or sex workers dying from a heroin overdose. Those visuals no longer work and are absorbed by the identity politics of liberal moms. While getting political, we do have to find new languages to communicate the tremor of our times.
Interview for VoyageLA Magazine (July, 2018)