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The Self-Taught Digital Art Hobbyist from Georgia

Lazare Gvimradze is currently working at the PR and Marketing Communications Company Gepra, and in his spare time he creates digital artworks on his tablet. He agreed to talk to Caucasus Business Week about his hobby and what it means to him. You can view most of his work on his art page on Facebook at facebook.com/lazareart.

– Tell us a little bit about your background. What made you interested in art? Who were your early influencers?

– I have been interested in art since I was a child. Drawing was always special to me back at school, and art classes were my favorite subjects. Even after they were pushed out of the school’s priorities list and dropped from the curriculum, I carried on doodling in my spare time, depicting my favorite cartoons, movies, characters from books and so on. It may sound cliché, but I had an active imagination and channeling it through drawings helped form some of my fantasies into something more tangible. I think it is something we all try to do as children, one way or another.

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I had a bit of a blind spot during my teenage years when I had to abandon drawing because of other commitments, best summarized as a general lack of time; especially since I never pursued art professionally or in university. It became accessible to me again once I discovered the digital medium, and found how easy it was to pick up where I left off using an iPad and years of pent-up urges.

In terms of influencers, I’d say surrounding myself with creative friends and lots of vivid stories did its part in kickstarting the impulse in me. My mother also used to draw, and seeing her elegant line art in my early childhood was probably a massive subconscious catalyst, as well.

– What are your thoughts on the label of multimedia artist vs. performance artist vs. reality artist?

– Labels help differentiate practices and mediums, maybe even tap into an artist’s specific identity in what they do. It has become a subject of discourse to elevate some forms of art above others, especially in the 21st century; I’m no expert on this, but I don’t think arbitrary definitions invalidate art. Or at least whatever it is that they communicate.

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Sure, some forms bear more responsibility due to their exposure and scale, others contribute in creating larger bodies of work – concept art for studio films, for example – but art is art, a way of expressing ideas and emotions in however complex a form the artist decides to employ. I feel like it would be irresponsible of me to say any more on this subject.

– Who are your current art inspirations? Do you look to other contemporary artists’ work during your artistic process?

– I got entwined with multiple online networks of digital artists, and they’ve in turn become a constant source of inspiration for me. I wouldn’t say I have much of a process, since I dabble in a lot of styles – but when I have an idea but don’t necessarily have a specific vision for its final form, I look to others’ similar work and try and identify specific steps they’ve taken to reach results, mentally breaking down their artwork. This helps me sort-of “chart” a course for building my own thing.

One of my more recent obsessions is creating alternative posters for movies, video games or other popculture branches – and I’ve found that it’s a niche full of incredibly skilled artists ranging from classic masters like Drew Struzan to contemporary geniuses like Matt Ferguson or Orlando Arocena.

Delving into the art communities also helped me rediscover the famous artists behind my favorite childhood memories – like Ralph McQuarrie, the almost-legendary visual mind from which Star Wars was born. All of these artists inspire me on a daily basis.

– What are your thoughts on the art community & market in Georgia as compared to the world?

– I am regretfully somewhat behind in keeping up with Georgia’s development in the modern art field, since my artistic “venture” is still just a hobby and I often find myself in a bit of an informational bubble. Despite this, I am aware of great strides being made by young and hungry up-and-comers who are matching international levels on almost every front.

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I recently entered into a partnership with a brand that aims to promote Georgian artists’ designs through a colorful clothing line, and the store through which they are sold – www.kokori.ge – is completely on par with many global alternatives that I’ve come across. They’re one example in a growing awareness among Georgia’s youth that their artistic prowess can be harnessed and showcased throughout the world. Very happy to see it happen!