What the fuck do you represent?
I’ve never been able to verbally communicate exactly what I wanted to convey, but since you asked me to give you an intro to myself, I’ll try my best to contradict the first part of this very sentence… Shit. So, buckle your seat belts, this opinionated shit is about to get real.
I’m from Tbilisi, which is basically God’s waiting room, full of people with extreme cases of imagined self-importance trapped in a concrete jungle of fears and bad faith. I’m just another misshapen piece of the puzzle that makes up the chaotic mess of a city that we know and love.
My primary concern as an artist is being open and vulnerable with our own emotions in today’s anxiety-ridden world. I realized art is not only about representation. It was more about the trip into my mind and what I saw in there, and ultimately, how I could materialize it, to give the viewers not only a visual experience but to get my ideas across to them in a very intimate fashion and hopefully give them something to think about.
I believe there is such a thing as good emotional damage – the trauma that led us to become the individuals we are today. It is a crucial part of the human experience and the psychology of self-transformation.
Trauma profoundly disrupts the capacity to connect back with the past and make it validly usable in the present, though of course, responses to trauma and their subsequent manifestations range considerably. It destroys people’s relationship with time because the loss of continuity means the absolute inability to imagine a future anymore. That’s what trauma is.
It’s the inability to make sense of experience because the pain punctures your very foundational being. Responding to trauma isn’t about restoring the self to the way it was before. Healing demands a complete sense of reinvention.
As the paradigm-shifting artist Kid Cudi asserted the universal truth, and we all overwhelmingly agreed – “We are all damaged human beings swimming in a pool of emotions every day of our lives”. This is the price we pay for growing up. This is the sacrifice.
The sacrifice is the difficult but necessary step of abandoning an aspect of yourself to pave the way for the emergence of the new. The emergence of the new, for me personally, is strongly connected to birthing something purposeful out of an inspirational process.
The main inspiration for me, in terms of the visual influence, is the concept behind the Rorschach Inkblot test, which was designed to test the spectator’s general approach to perception. I enjoy the freedom of interpretation. I try to not put any restrictions on the viewers’ perceptions of my paintings. The titles are merely there to give them a sense of direction towards what I was feeling at the time of creation.
As a psychologist, I’m fascinated by how visual perception varies from person to person. Even if I fully tried to explain the meanings, emotions and the stories causing said emotions behind the paintings, it will still be impossible to fully understand what the paintings mean to me for anyone who is not me, because people can only understand you as much as they understand themselves.
Understanding is a profound element of empathy.
Empathy is a process in which an individual interprets someone else’s state in reference to their own personal history. This suggests that even with the information provided about the paintings, people will still understand it through their unique perception based on their life experience.
Above all things, I value understanding ourselves the most. I don’t think people put enough effort into understanding themselves on a deeper level. We tend to put aside any weird thoughts and ideas we have to fit in. Conformity is a tragic but basic human instinct. A defense of emotional honesty has nothing to do with high minded morality. It’s ultimately cautionary and egoistic.
We need to tell ourselves a little more of the truth because we pay too high a price for our lies. Through our self-deceptions, we cut ourselves off from possibilities of growth. We shut off large portions of our minds and end up uncreative, tetchy, and defensive, while others around us have to suffer our irritability, gloom, manufactured cheerfulness, or defensive rationalizations.
Our neglect of the awkward sides of ourselves buckles our very being, emerging as insomnia or impotence, stuttering or depression; revenge for all the thoughts we’ve been so careful not to have.
Self-knowledge isn’t a luxury so much as a precondition for a measure of sanity and inner comfort. When you asked me to write an intro about myself and my work, I know you didn’t ask for a full ass therapy session on paper, but that’s the best way to give the viewers a glimpse of my world. I’m a strong believer of the phrase most commonly used in the film industry – “show, don’t tell”.
I could have easily written some generic artist statements about me and my work, but that’s not me. A brief, superficial look into my mental state is the best way to make you understand what I, and therefore, my paintings are all about. The paintings are just my interpretations of the emotions I’ve felt at various times in the past.
They are the products of my barely conscious conversations with my conscience. What my paintings represent is irrelevant. Interpretation is a tricky thing. My perception will not match yours. Activities stemming from the realization that people around us won’t ever fully get us, but that others, separated across time and space, might just.
I have my own stories of what the paintings mean and what every single detail represents, but I’m always surprised at how people respond to them and the connections they form with them. What they represent to me is a whole other discussion, what I want to achieve is for them to start a chain of emotions in the viewers’ psyche.
In today’s era, it has become the role of the painting to stare back at the spectator and ask them – what the fuck do you represent?