"Art is the language and the science of creation".
Aleksandre Vashakmadze (born in 1994) grew up in an ex-Soviet country, Georgia, in the capital city of Tbilisi. At the early age of two, he started to draw. As if knowing what would become of his life, his mother saved all his drawings, including his very first one which was a drawing of “God.” Vashakmadze’s childhood was unique because unlike other children, he was not able to play outdoors due to an illness he acquired at the age of three. This depicted his very first battle, but one that allowed him to spend his time alone thinking, imagining and learning about himself. This resulted in the awakening and defining of his spiritual journey. Throughout the course of his life, he constantly fought against the educational system. As a result, he was kicked out and changed from many schools. Had it not been for the help and support from great teachers that encouraged his art, he would have been kicked out of the Academy as well. Since early childhood, his vehicle of expression was through art. However, it was not until his 20’s that art became more than just a hobby. It was during this time that he was presented with the greatest test in his life. The realization of a new beginning for him as an artist and a new person in Christ -as an orthodox Christian, his life consisted on searching God, praying and researching his creation. This was to continue being the main inspiration for him to paint non-stop. The desire to know God and his creation is what ignites that burning fire within him that leads him to channel such purity and innocence through his art. Vashakmadze has exhibited nationally and abroad and his works have been featured in prizes, publications, and collections throughout Italy, Georgia, and Canada.
“Stop Being material and you will start seeing non-material things.”
Aleksandre Vashakmadze can be defined as a spiritual person who chooses to perceive more than any other person does, and more so, who chooses to share such a gift with the world through his art. From childhood battles, struggles, and nonconforming distractions, he derives meaning from it all in order to produce a sincere expression of his emotions. As stated by him, “…I can say my life challenges are the fuel for my paintings…There is no creation for me without a story behind it.” It can be safe to say that a common denominator in Vashakmadze's paintings is that feeling of tranquility and ease that suddenly awakens an insatiable yearning for spiritual fulfillment. It seems that without any hesitation, or even thought, he just automatically delivers the route you must take in order to reach that epiphany you've been longing for. Each painting - a recognized momentum that somehow you simply understand. Vashakmadze offers you a tint of innocence and truth, captivating and introducing you to the inner workings of his reality. A reality that many individuals lack, and we just stare here in awe…silently screaming for more because in each sight, is that simplicity that only the spirit can comprehend. And that stirred emotion can bring you to your deepest questioning, and absolute desire to meet whatever represents your Creator.
Q. Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career, such us memorable shows or publications?
A. Some of the highlights include my trip to Italy during my third year at the Tbilisi Academy of Art in 2015. The whole school was against me going, except for one teacher. To my surprise, I was chosen to go as an additional student. I had no clue that once I got to Italy that I would be invited to be in art exhibitions and offers were made. It was my first experience with the real world.
Before I left Italy, I donated a painting and was given a top award for this painting. After that, I had a long break in painting because of health problems. Just a year ago in recent competitions, I won third place in the “Passion to Perform” competition and at the same time I got an honorable mention in the world competition “Art Olympia.” Last but not least important, one of the most loving moments of my career was when I inspired a poet to write. He has written a book of poems called ‘Reaching the beyond’ inspired by my art.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. A drawing of God at the age of two. My mother somehow knew I was going to be a painter and saved all of my drawings, putting the age and date on it with titles that I had come up with.
I first seriously started painting at the age of 20, after a huge life challenge. It was a new beginning for me as a person and as an artist. From the age of 20, to this day I haven’t stop painting. Up to this day it is my only unique way to express myself and my inside world, my vision of this world is the spirit of my art.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. I sacrifice most of my time for the creation process of my art. I want to make it clear that the creation of art for me is not just standing in front of the canvas for a few hours, it is a much longer and deeper process. It takes great life experiences, a lot of emotions and feelings to explode to make me stand at the canvas and to finally start painting.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. I can’t say I have an exact style; all paintings are a new challenge for me. When I’m standing in front of the canvas with a palette, I’m forgetting everything I know about art. All my paintings are unique for me and I am always working a unique way on each one of them. To be honest I don’t know how I really got there, I think it’s just my signature, to treat every work a special way.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. My biggest influence is this world itself, which is the first creation. It is the deepest, and most meaningful, and everybody and everything else for me is part of this only creation. Michelangelo once said: “Only God creates. The rest of us just copy,” I agree with this. My main inspiration is God and his work, every copy including mine is another perspective of the main creation.
Q. What does your art aim to say?
A. My art’s aim has two meanings. What my art itself is representing in emotion and what message I want to convey. My aim is to clearly help people see the spiritual part of life which is mostly hidden from people.
An artist’s purpose is to show more than what one can see. To say it clearly, a real artist must be able to explain in art what God has created for an easier understandable language. Most people don’t notice the details that artists are able to see and find beauty. I am trying to create beauty and life out of everything. The emotion that painting carries, the viewer themselves gets to decide.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. The artistic life is lonely in the perspective that people may not understand your work, they may like your art, but they don’t understand the purpose and the true meaning behind it. What I do to counteract this is by not changing my style or my viewpoint for
anyone, I continue to work knowing that art is a reflection of my soul and nobody else’s.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I love reading books that are insightful and inspiring to my
soul and way of life. Exploring my inside world, my most loving subject is to read holy fathers’ teachings, researching the creation of God is food for my soul and art. If my soul is satisfied my art is as well, in satisfaction I mean about the painting process but never satisfied with what I have done, I never am satisfied with my paintings.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. My philosophy of what matters in art is that of an image of God. I must create beauty with him and as He created. I think it is the main purpose of every human being, to live life, research, see, understand and create beauty. In living life, I mean to accept all of life challenges and always overcome fears, never living in a comfort zone, and always running out of it because death is exactly waiting for us in our comfort zone, a slow, painful senseless death.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success is that I’m still alive and able to live life, experience and understand more and every day, to be able to create something beautiful. Fame and glory are just things which don’t really matter because it’s going to stay here, and rot with my flesh, success for me is also to have hope and faith because in today’s world real faith is very rare.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. The best advice I remember was from my mother, she was always telling me from childhood that no matter what I will reach in life or where I will be, to always stay humble and to remember that I’m not even a bit more and better than the worst person I know.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. To always remember death, it's going to take from us all our material belongings, what we have or going to have during our lives. Therefore, to live a meaningful life and to have real aims.
Q. If you had not chosen to be an artist, what would you have dedicated to?
A. Till this day, I’m always thinking about becoming a priest because in everything I do, I’m trying to do for and in God's name because I often see myself preaching and assisting people.