Photography and words Ellyse Anderson Styling Toni Caroline at Eighteen Management Hair and make up Oonah Anderson
In the second instalment of our series on young female artists, we talk creative energy and inspiring women with painter and ceramicist Yulia Iosilzon.
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice
I see myself making works about all the different sorts of life cycles and shifts of identity. I usually work within one series at a time – it makes me look at my paintings as if they are a comic strip. I have been looking at my practice this way since 2013 when I went to Slade School of Fine Arts. Naturally, I am very much drawn to the complex narratives, multi-layered-meanings of things and metaphorical roots of every painting that I make. I get most of my ideas from movies and books but, most importantly, from the observations around me and within me.
Tell us about your creative space. How does it help you create? Does it protect or insulate? Does it inform or play a central role in your process?
My studio is located in the Finsbury Park area of North London. The building used to be a warehouse and has a constructivist feel with it’s wide open communal spaces. The studios are evenly allocated by the sides and it’s hard not to fall in love with its symmetry and repetition. The Roman Road’s show Paradise Is Not Just a Place was planned and created from beginning to end in that space. On the studio walls you can still see the charcoal drawing of the ceramics’ installation prep stencil. It may sound silly but for me it’s important that the studio holds this energy of creation, imagination and freedom. The height of the ceilings in the studio were helpful with planning/ imagining/ making a ceramics installation for the whole height of the Roman Road space.
Does your creative energy come from internal or external sources?
Both usually. One can’t be present without the other. The Square A could potentially be any outside source but then it’s inevitable for anything to go through the internal “filters” or reflection/memory/association…
What art do you most identify with?
The way I see my paintings usually goes hand in hand with movies and comic creation. Or even the process of writing a play/ movie script, where each idea could always have a different ray of sequence of events. Each painting series has its own script and its timeline and guideline. It’s more about making the story within a story and being its observer and sometimes even the character.
The Pandemic has made visible on a large scale many of the systems of inequity that may have otherwise remained hidden. One is access to spaces (institutional, cultural, political, etc.). How has your experience with space in the Art industry changed over the past two years?
The Pandemic has put its fingerprints on many things indeed. The hardest one for me was the inability to go to the museums and the challenge of not getting to see the new shows. I was navigating myself through with books/reading and observing the things that I would have never looked at. The theme that I am interested in at the moment – Jewish iconography – began from reading some old manuscripts and learning about my ancestors during the lockdowns. The history of my cultural heritage has been immensely deep-rooted and very inspiring.
How do you navigate these changing conditions in the Art world as a woman?
I am very much pleased that more and more women these days get opportunities and recognition. Thinking of it I realised that most of my favourite artists are women : Eva Hesse, Florene Stettheimer, Ann Craven, Helen Frankenthaler, Charlyne von Heyl, Anne Imhof…
Maybe it’s something in my vision of the world or the colour palette but rhythmically I am getting more involved (visually and on a more subconscious level) with the Women in the Arts feeling of the things happening in the world. When navigating myself through the different visions on art I immensely admire the books and essays by Briony Fer and Mignon Nixon.
What is next for you? Any upcoming projects or exhibitions we should keep an eye on?
I am always in the whirl of projects but superstition always takes the lead.