Miss E interviews Vasilisa Romanenko.
Today I'm chatting with Vasilisa Romanenko, whose work I've been following on Instagram and have really come to adore. Artfully balancing delicate botanical beauties with bold colour choices and graphic components, her work has a strength and fragility that truly connects with me. Reminiscent of the botanical illustrations from times past, she combines strong women and pop-surrealist elements to summon her imaginative visions. Plus she is the most lovely person who I have enjoyed getting to know via Instagram! Vasilisa has taken some time out of her busy painting and teaching schedule to chat with me about life as an artist!
1. Give us a typical day-in-the-life of Vasilisa! How do you start your day, what kind of head space are you in, what do you get done?
I normally teach painting classes from 3 until 8 in the evening, so my own painting/illustration work needs to be done either before or after. Some days I wake up ready to be creative and paint before I teach, and others I put it off until afterwards. I do try to get a little bit of painting or drawing in every single day though, even if it is just 20 minutes, I think this is very important.
Miss E: Absolutely agree, teaching classes is a great way to constantly be stretching your art muscles, but sometimes it can be difficult to summon the energy to work on your own creative projects on the same day!
2. Do you consider yourself a full-time artist? Do you have multiple streams of income to support your art? Tell us about the studio you run with your mother?
I do consider myself a full time artist. Between teaching, painting, and some graphic design/illustration freelance work, pretty much everything I do is art related. My main source of income is teaching at the little art school that I run with my mom: Palette Art Studio. We have students of all different ages and experience levels. I am very grateful that teaching not only allows me to have some free time to work on my own painting, but that I get to share my passion with my students.
Miss E: The only thing better than simply making art is being able to show others how to do the same! Sounds like you've established a good balance that allows you to do what you love.
3. What advice would you give to fellow artists who are reading this? Can be about technique/mindset/workspace.
One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that it is important to take criticism and let it fuel you. Never take criticism of your art personally but use it as a tool to become better. The other thing I learned is to make art part of my life every day. If there are days that I am not painting, I need to be sketching, or reading about art, or at least brain storming about my next idea. Consistency is key.
Miss E: That is really functional advice, sometimes I will go a week without creating anything and it feels awful! Consistency is hard to achieve, but so worth it.
4. What's the best lesson you've learnt recently in relation to your art?
The biggest lesson I have learned recently (and am still learning), is how not to compare myself with others and to let my art develop at its own pace. It is challenging to not be down on yourself while being surrounded by so much amazing artwork, especially on social media. I have learned that it is important to occasionally unplug, and to spend time developing my craft instead of looking at others work and comparing mine to theirs.
Miss E: There is so much stunning artwork being created around the world, we are so lucky! It is hard not to compare yourself to others, but we are all on this journey and there is plenty of room for us all to succeed.
5. What does success mean to you?
To me, success means simply being comfortable with where your life is right now. Being able to live in the moment without being worried about the future - that’s happiness. And happiness equals success.
Miss E: That's a really positive and interesting way of looking at it! The idea of success can really stress people out at times.
6. How would you describe your art to a person who's never seen it before? This is always very challenging for me, especially because my art is so all over the place. When it comes to my paintings, I would describe them as illustrations of nature, featuring lots of botanical elements, elaborate details, and often, the female figure.
Miss E: Most artists find it difficult to describe/talk about their work! You did well. I would love to know the feeling behind your artworks!
7. How do you practise self-care and ensure that you live a happy and balanced life? I always feel my best when I eat a healthy, mostly plant-based diet. It makes a huge difference in my health and productivity. I also try to keep stress at bay by doing creative things with my hands (I love to crochet and craft) and spending a lot of time with my dog. And tea - lots and lots of tea.
Miss E: Health is a huge component of life that can often get overlooked or under-prioritised!
"To me, success means simply being comfortable with where your life is right now. Being able to live in the moment without being worried about the future - that’s happiness. And happiness equals success."
8. What's your favourite colour or colour combination to paint with currently?
Right now I am all about warm earthy colors - I can’t stop using mustard yellow. Mustard yellow and gray is one of my favorite combinations.
9. What's the most challenging thing you force yourself to do regularly? Anything that has to do with technology - photographing my artwork, posting it on social media, posting it on my website, managing my online shops. This is my least favorite part of creating art but I force myself to do it because I know it is very important.
Miss E: It's funny how much of an artists time is taken up with such tasks! I wish it was all simply painting, but alas there are so many other jobs to be done.
10. Who's your favourite established artist and who's an up-and-coming artist we should follow? There are so many artists I love right now! Martine Johanna, Kelsey Beckett, Soey Milk, Andrew Hem, Dinara Mirtalipova, just to name a few.
You can find Vasilisa here:
Thanks so much for the chat Vasilisa! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to share some insights about your art life with us all. I hope you've enjoyed this blog posts folks, I'm planning on alternating my own article with interviews to really help get some different perspectives on being an artist to share with you all. Plus, fostering a sense of community seems to be something I'm always drawn back to, and connecting with like-minded folk seems to bring me a lot of joy! If you'd like to nominate an artist for me to interview, please let me know! Or if you'd like to continue the conversation with me please send me an email.
Please take a moment to check out all the original artwork, prints and jewellery I have lovingly crafted for your enjoyment!