INTERVIEW WITH DMITRY ZAKHAROV

Hello Dmitry, could you tell us a little bit about your background? You are originally from Moscow but live and work in Cologne, right?

Hello RoomsMagazine, Yes that's right. I am originally from Moscow, but my family moved to Germany in the end of the 80s and till than Cologne was my new home .
So I grew up between two different cultures, what has greatly influenced me as a person but also as a creative professional. But the source of my creativity is also based in my parental home. Almost my whole family is active in the creative field and I was stimulated in various areas in my childhood. Actually, I have played violin many years and enjoyed a classical Music education. I spent a lot of time with music, I played in orchestras, ensembles or solo and this encouraged my development greatly i think. I am very thankful to my parents for that experiences. But apart from music I also had , for example, Drawing lessons with my siblings. I think this stuff in my early years made me more sensitive to certain things that are also useful in my work today .

How is the creative scene in Germany?

In Germany there are many good artists and also many different ways to present yourself. It comes naturally to it, in which City you live . Every city has its advantages and disadvantages. A few years ago some cities such as Berlin experienced a boom and some cities are stagnating in their creative development.
At the moment it seems that cities in the east of the country are expected to develop strongly in the field of art. There, where rents are not so expensive, freethinkers can play around and create a new scene.
This is fascinating . But of course , you see this point not only in Germany. Here in Germany we have many opportunities to develop yourself and to go certain directions. There are generally much support in different ways and also great universities and that gives a young creative just the opportunity to find himself, without the fear of having nothing to eat , as in many other countries. It is not a must, because I have learned all the techniques by myself without a university and it still works . Apart from this there are of course great exhibitions, concerts and festivals. One of my highlights last year was the documentary film festival dedicated to music in Cologne. That was a great concept and i watched a lot of amazing films.

You are a designer who works with 2D and 3D… How hard is it to come up with an original, animated design?

In the days of the Internet , it is most important not to forget yourself. Anyone can start today with a few simple steps and do some stuff.
Even with a small budget , you can create software-based images that you could not even imagine in my childhood on the home computer .
I'm not really old but I'm still grew up in the time in which the modem has made funny noises and you looked at a black and white or 16 color screen. This was high-tech and it is just 20 years ago. The technique has infuriated developed and with it the possibilities. The internet brings daily creative work in the public and people from almost every country can present there projects. You should trust that the creativity and originality run out of yourself. The computer is just a tool that needs to be used and broken up. Every innovation or technique can be used, for what it is not intended.
As a creative person, of course, you must also get some inspiration, but you should not be scared of this mass of information. The originality comes from your own mind. Turn off the computer and your head on.

What are the main elements of your work and what is the creative/artistic process behind it?

There are different ways how I find a solution for projects. Sometimes there is given a topic or I have a theme that is interesting for me and than I try to find a visual concept for it. But sometimes it works simply by testing and playing with some stuff and this creates compositions which I like. Based on this I develop a concept. For me it is important to combine visual aesthetics with a story or a message.
I like it when these two components play with each other, but Are not too obvious. I try to create abstract elements and to connect them with important topics for me. Nevertheless, I try to construct the composition so that the video works also without meaning. And so it is everybody's own choice whether he just wants to watch only beautiful visualisation or still want to explore something behind them.

Your work features shapes that are extremely geometrical, clean and minimalistic. Do you believe that creativity necessarily needs to be paired with technique?

There are no rules in creativity. Primarily, the act of creation plays an important role , what techniques were used, depending on the artist itself.
I tend to use clear shapes and structures, because I put a lot of focus on aesthetic and beauty. Of course everyone has their own idea of what is beautiful or not. I love good typography , classic design and I like it when these areas combines for example with animation, film or new technology. I see a lot of good work out there. Very creative and technically very well executed. But often they are overweight for my taste , and adorned with too much effects. I often have the situation in which I try out different techniques , effects, editing , and thereby the compositions get more complex. In the end, I turn back from it all and get back to the original dry because I just like simple clean design and structures. Here, of course, I know that my work often live of complex effects, but I try to keep these minimalistic and concentrate on a few of them in one project.


What kind of techniques and materials do you use?

At age of 16, I made my first experiments with video , afterwards I began to design events as a VisualJockey. A Visual Jockey visualises the sound ,
which the musician plays and it all happens live . This activity has a very creative character . You develop layouts in place, change and combine them with other already existing artwork. Personally, I 've used a lot of different techniques and have mixed 3d animation , 2d animation and also normal video. Even today I mix different techniques with each other because I like crossing genres.
I admire people who completely focus on one thing . This has a very special and unique character. However, I am a person who
experiment with everything and I therefore put no limits what I can do. I want to try everything in my own creativity. I think in this day and time you can make both successful video clips, but also make music or producing great pictures. Whether I have perfected the technique or just discover. Creativity knows no bounds. And there are some artists who are very successful with several areas simultaneously. I think in these moments can arise exciting projects . You're breaking out of your own thinking and enlarge your own horizon and then you creates something new.

Who are your influences?

Everything around me influence me. Although I am a city child but I always have had a very strong connection to the nature. The nature is just something incredible and you can not at all really imagine how all this systems around us works. If you look at a tree , animals, or at yourself as an organism you understand that today's technology is a joke in contrast to that. I find it absolute amazing how different organisms could look, can behave and interact with each other . As a child I wanted to be a biologist and collected Butterflies, skulls and stuff , because I have totally fascinated by this variety of shapes, colors and structures. I think that you can still find these interests from my young age symbolically in my works today. But apart from that I have , of course, many influences from music, film, art and architecture. I'm always looking for exciting people and watch many documentaries on all this topics. People like Robert Wilson, Werner Herzog, Michael Haneke, Nam June Paik but also Artists like Nils Frahm, Iris van Herpen or Amon Tobin are absolutely inspiring for me.

What drives you, as a visual artist?

I think for any artist, no matter in what kind of area he operates, there is nothing better than to see a finished project on which you has worked months, days or even years. You lose a lot of nerves and works pretty hard, but if you then end up with a good result, that is what gives strength for new. I've always had the urge to do something and if I do not work 1-2 days, I feel really uncomfortable. I have to concern myself creatively, no matter how, otherwise I'll be unhappy.


Does your creative process ever stop? Is being a 2D/3D designer something you can shut off at the end of the day?

Sometimes I would wish that I do not have to think about work. But somehow this thoughts surrounds me always and everywhere. There are moments which are creative and also moments which are the opposite of that. However, the thoughts about creating something revolves continuously around me. Sometimes it is something exhausting to have ideas and concepts in your head or on necessarily want to develop some. I often can't sleep on it because I just can not come to rest. It is perhaps a blessing and a curse. It is a process that surrounds me every day and almost never stops.

As a visual artist, I imagine you have a very clear image of what you want to do in your head. Have there been times when you couldn’t achieve that specific image? If so, how do you deal with frustration as a creative?

Yes , there are often points in projects where it isn't going further . This situation often cost me a lot of nerves and I'm trying to distract myself differently to get somewhere else inspiration.
I think everyone has developed different techniques to free his mind and sort out his thoughts. Personally, I always feel better when I get new input . And that does not mean watch threw the Internet again but simply to go away from the computer to go for a walk or do something you do not often do. If I break up myself and do something what I would not thought of myself , there are forms an incredibly force in myself and also drives the creative thinking. Because you have to break your own thinking and borders to stay creative.
Last year I worked on a project with which I could not identify myself first . But I have introduced myself to the theme and at the end I was totally happy to worked on that. It was an incredible project and i was totally touched.
From this I have drawn a lot of incredible strength and motivation. What also often helps is to go climbing. I go several times a week to the workout and in the summer I go out in the nature to climb on real rocks. This sports has often brought me out of creative holes , because it 's like a kind of meditation . You are focused on the body and mind.



I love the Black Liquid video animation! Could you tell us more about that, what was the inspiration, the process and how long it took to create?

Many people ask me about the Black Liquid video and it was pretty successful. The funny thing is that at the beginning there wasnt actually planned a conscious concept. It originated with the process itself.
I have done nothing other than simply try out the software and make tests. This created a mass of different simulations , which I then edited according a pattern. A friend developed sound to it and there was an experimental video. I wonder this days often that this video is sometimes more popular than any other video of mine where I really have been thinking and wanted to say something . Black Liquid is an experiment and actually pure aesthetics and maybe that's why it works just so good.
I have these experiments, packed into a clip so that it becomes a concept. This simply creates a round of work. Sometimes it makes me yet thoughtful working with messages and emotions are less accepted as works that play with pure aesthetics. How long it took to realise, I really dont know anymore.

What is your dream collaboration?

This is really a difficult question, because there are so many artists that I am interested in. I can only name a few:
Robert Wilson, Iris van Herpen, Amon Tobin, Hendrik Kerstens, Werner Herzog, Massive Attack, AntiVJ, Nicholas Alan Cope, Portishead, James Blake, Cloud Boat, Efterklang, Peter Broderick, Apparat, Kraftwerk, Lubomir Melnyk, Shinichi Maruyama and many more.

What is the project you are most proud of?

Each project reflects a particular section in my development as an artist. That's why I cant say exactly which is my favorite project.
You can compare it with a tattoo perhaps. Each project has a particular story, what casts memories or reflects a particular state of consciousness.
Of course, the most recent project always has a stronger character, since it is still very close in your mind and you know exactly how much you have worked on it. You live in this moment in the emotional state of the project. Also these projects are often developed with new techniques i have learned, and then you always see new ways that you can go. What is a great feeling.
Of course, I also like to remember on lightness of early projects, i made.

Do you believe there is any innovation left in the creative industry? If so, how do you think your work incorporates this belief?

The technology is developing very fast. I think you cant keep up with this speed. I search for new techniques, which are interesting to me and
then try to discover them in my own way. It's amazing to see how new techniques from different fields get together. Video mapping was a few years ago at the beginning and now it is already in the next era. A big potential I see in hybrid projects between animation and interactivity. In some areas design starts liked up with coding and this brings a new concept of art. Mapping, performance art connected to projections, interactive kinetic installations or 3d printing technology are new ideas of art. This is very exciting and I think there are still a lot of new inventions will come the next few years. But how far my work will connected to this areas, I don’t know now. I'm really open to everything and will try to go new ways to develop myself. How this could be an achievement for the industry, we will see. The most important is to be free and to create something that inspires you without bending it to trends or the industry. Nevertheless, you should be informed about both areas and use these to your benefit if you like some stuff.



Alt-J
Abstract Animation
woman - Control
Musicvideo

Vodafone CEBIT
Media Installation

Inside Me
Musicvideo

Herr von Eden
Experimental Film/Animation

Code Orange - The Mud
Musicvideo
Die Beste Show der Welt
Stagedesign / Projection

Max Cooper - Micron
Musicvideo

Black Liquid
Experimental Short
Études
Magazin

MyIdiotFriend
Stagedesign
Care Affair
Magazin
Utwist
Animation
Monophona
Visualconcept


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© Dmitry Zakharov, Cologne, Germany.
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