Today we’d like to introduce you to Yuri Boyko.
Yuri, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
One summer, a few years back, I stayed at the art residency near Barcelona, Spain. I was developing a series ‘Catalan Sketches’ and often would go to an abandoned villa estate in a rural area. The grounds were pretty much run down, but a spacious old Spanish style mansion and a large outdoor swimming pool indicated that the place had known better days.
Nobody lived there. The place was inhabited by all kinds of domestic animals: ducks, chicken, cats, turkeys, rabbits, sheep, donkey, two horses, and even two peacocks. Once a day in the evening a care-taker would drive in to feed and pick up customary eggs of different shapes and colors. He would swing estate’s main gate wide open and have all animals freely go out for pasture. At dusk, he would whistle, and animals would return one by one.
One day, I was standing in the far back of the estate waiting for horses to come in. A distant galloping was growing louder. It was dark, and my figure wasn’t immediately distinguished from the surroundings. First came in the mare: realizing that someone was in the back, she somewhat worryingly changed her galloping into the trot and didn’t go very far in but instead changed her course and started pacing from left to right and back. Looking toward me and straightening her neck and playfully shaking her mane as asking: ‘So, how do I look?’ Next stallion came in full gallop, no signs of slowing or stopping. Somewhere in the middle of his run through the grounds, he sensed me and without changing direction charged straight in my direction. When it was only a few feet left, he abruptly stopped with his head imposing, rotating eyes, and nostrils blasting steam. Making sure he is stating his grounds and intimidating me with a question: ‘So, who are you?’
And that was it — an engagement or, rather, an acquaintance with future characters of the ‘Catalan Sketches.’
It took me several lives, continents, and breadwinning successful and not so much successful careers to realize what is my true nature, to go back to an art school, afford to be an artist and to engage with existential and subconscious experiences.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My artistic practice focuses on deconstruction of identity.
I transform individual experiences, observations, and emotions into visual representations. My goal is to reveal subconscious and concealed qualities of identity by employing light and color intertwined with symbols and metaphors.
Usually, I have a general idea about what my next project will be. Sometimes this idea might be already steeping in my mind or notes for some time, but sometimes it is quite spontaneous. My work is representational in nature and subject matter, an idea mostly comes first before seeing or incorporating a specific object.
The essence of the work shapes up during the process of developing the entire visual narrative. It starts with observations, acquisition of images, a build-up of material. Continues with technical elements of processing raw images, visualization of a desired outcome, processing, and post-production. The process is complete when the intended imagery appears at the point where it works and feels right. I would say that the process driven result is as much important in my practice as the role of the initial concept or idea.
As a visual artist, I work in photography, mixed media, printmaking, painting, and video.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
The arts inherently envelope and reflect the times and human experiences within a given historical period of society. In that sense, the role of artists hasn’t changed. Some artists explicitly engage into social themes of today, while others explore the fundamental, not so visible on a surface, humanistic or aesthetic values.
A massive intrusion of declarative statements, ‘thought manipulation’, ‘fake news’, and, as a result, a larger question of what is truth and identity prompts me to go deeper in my investigation of human identity.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
‘The Persona’, a 9 ft. x 9 ft. public art mural commissioned by Art Division of the City of West Hollywood is on view at the ground floor of a parking structure in West Hollywood Library.
My work was shown at Fabrik Projects Gallery and reproduced in the broadsheet publication Full Blede.
My portfolio is online at www.yuriboyko.com and people may follow @b.0.y.k.0 on Instagram. Spreading the word and acquisition inquiries are appreciated and welcomed.