Masha Gusova‘s work is inspired “by artworks from the past, but also tendencies of the present; we are exposed – she explains – to so many images daily that a lot of them seep into the subconscious“. From a visual perspective, she is interested in embracing and reconciling “the aesthetics of the past with the present. Revisiting our history in order to create something new”.
Gusova born in Moscow in 1987, emigrated to the United Kingdom during her early childhood. She is currently based in Copenhagen; since 2011, has exhibited at various group shows both nationally and internationally. Toner Magazine reached Masha Gusova for a fascinating interview.
Masha, where do you get your inspiration?
I am greatly inspired by artworks from the past, but also tendencies of the present. We are exposed to so many images daily that a lot of them seep into the subconscious. However, there are some amazing contemporary artists playing around with historical images who have inspired me initially (Nicola Samori, Kei Imazu, etc). Ideas mostly unfold while I work and experiment with the images that most captivate me. When an idea excites me and I remain excited, that’s how I know to go with it.
What is the relationship and influence between your cultural background (country, studies, etc.) and your artworks?
I studied History of Art at University, so I’m sure this has played a role. My family is originally from Russia, but we emigrated to the UK when I was a small child. My father (Sasha Gusov) is a photographer, and my mother has always been very creative, so these have probably affected me growing up. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a pencil, and this interest has always been encouraged.
What are you much focused in?
My current focus is in reconciling the aesthetics of the past with the present. Revisiting our history in order to create something new. I allow myself freedom in how the ideas unfold, but have a general aesthetic framework I stick to based on my own personal taste.
Have you encountered any difficulties when you first started your art/freelance career?
Yes. And those challenges definitely help build your character! There was a lot of navigating in the darkness at first, though this is getting easier thanks to some people I have met along the way. I’m sure everyone experiences difficulties in their field in some ways. It’s important to really believe in what you are pursuing and blocking off the doubts, otherwise one is likely to give up when it gets confusing and hard. Also it’s important to keep challenging yourself and your ideas in order to keep moving forward.
Over these years, what is the most important thing you have learnt from your profession?
Self-belief and letting go. Self-belief because it’s tough to trust oneself sometimes, and some people will put you down in life or opportunities won’t materialise. Letting go is important, because fear leads us to need to control our environment too much, which leads to bad decisions or a bad mood. Sometimes surrender is the best thing to do.
Do you think that a creative job is just creativity or it’s discipline too?
It is very much about discipline. You won’t get much done or develop creatively if you don’t have discipline or ‘grit’. I make sure to paint daily (7 days a week) and have a minimum amount of hours I absolutely have to get done. I recently read two amazing books on productivity and focus by Cal Newport, “Deep Work” and “So Good They Can’t Ignore You“. I highly recommend it to anyone in any field.
Are you currently working on new projects?
I am still exploring the distortion of past images. The project is ongoing and I’ll see where it leads. I am also currently exhibiting works in the States, including Jessup Cellars Gallery in California and at Haven Gallery in Long Island, NY.
“You won’t get much done
or develop creatively
if you don’t have discipline or ‘grit’“
“It’s important to keep challenging yourself and your ideas in order to keep moving forward“
“I am greatly inspired by artworks from the past,
but also tendencies of the present.
We are exposed to so many images daily that
a lot of them seep into the subconscious”