Algis Griškevičius was born on 12th December 1954 in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. He attended drawing classes while studying at school. Algis served in the USSR army (mandatory) after finishing high school. The last half of the year in the army he was a painter of a regiment and painted all kinds of idealogical nonsense. After he returned from the army. Algis got a position as an artistic director’s assistant in the Opera and Ballet Theatre of Vilnius. He was accepted to The National Institute of Arts (now Vilnius Art Academy) in 1980, from which he graduated in 1985. While studying at the Institute Algis got a job as an artistic director in the National Youth Theatre. He quit the theatre in 1990 and from then till now he is a freelance artist.
Algis started participating in exhibitions in 1986. Since then he has arranged 52 personal exhibitions in various countries and participated in over 80 group exhibitions. His works have been exhibited in countries such as Latvia, Laos, Tunisia, The Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, France, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Portugal, Sweden, USA, Croatia, Austria, China, Belgium, Italy, Vietnam, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Bulgaria, United Arab Emirates and Canada.
We were very pleased to meet and have an interview with Algis Griškevičius and are happy to share this fantastic story with you. Enjoy reading and share it with your friends!
AP: Algis, tell us about your first works. What did they look like?
AG: I used to draw in childhood, mostly it was fought between North American Indians and colonialists. After serving my time in the USSR army the battle scenes naturally disappeared out of my creativity. My personal style got its shape quickly after graduating from the National Institute of Arts. It took several years of intense work (always washing and scraping newly painted work and starting all over again). When you learn to destroy a newly painted piece, it gets easier to overcome “youthful genius syndrome” and to better understand the nature of the creativity itself.
AP: We noticed you have a fully developed personality as an artist, designer, and photographer. What do you prefer to do more? To shoot pictures, create paintings, or design objects?
AG: I started my creative career as a painter and the biggest part of my creative life I have painted since I got into photography and objects only 10 years ago. Today all three mediums are equally important to me. I do photography during summer and paint the rest of the year while doing objects during the evenings. Changing mediums helps me to avoid routine and save the feeling of freshness.
AP: What genre are your works?
AG: At the beginning of my career I was deeply interested in hyperrealism, but quit quickly and moved to so-called ‘magical realism’ which sometimes passed through surrealism. While you are young it is always difficult to make a decision about which creative method is the best for your emotional attitude, but with a lot of hard work, everything comes naturally.
AP: How would you describe your photos?
AG: In my photography, I try to tell little tragicomic stories in which opposite feelings and beings intertwine – from naive game to absolutely absurd. The uniqueness is in a lot of work because photo sessions required cranes, digging ponds, building wooden ferries, and so on…
Sometimes it could take a whole month to prepare for a photo session. There are several films documenting the preparation process, you can find them in the News section on my website. I want to convince the viewer that it takes only a wish for dreams to come into reality. And that the world is like a big theatre – absolutely not a metaphor.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your photos?
AG: I use two cameras: a digital Canon EOS 5D and an analog wide film Mamiya 7 II. I use only natural light, software is involved only episodically.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in photography?
AG: If you want to become an expert in photography you would have to spend time on studies on history and theory of photography. But I doubt it would help in my process.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
AG: I believe an artist should constantly participate in exhibitions to keep their creative shape. Besides that I have a minimum of one personal exhibition a year, I also participate in group exhibitions, contests, and various projects. My works have been acquired by museums from Lithuania, Russia, and USA, European Parliament. Warner Bros has acquired several of my paintings for use in decorations for movies.
My sculptures can be found in the “Menofortas” theatre, and Konstitucijos Street in Vilnius. I have won the Caroun Photo Club (Canada) silver medal for photography and was a nominee for the Henkel Art Prize, in Austria. Quite some prizes I won in Lithuania.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
AG: Family and friends help me a lot in my creative life. My wife helps me with computer-related work, my son, a graphic designer, designed a book of my photographs and my daughter is helping me with translations to various languages. You can see my good friends and colleagues in all my photographs. Without them, my photographs wouldn’t be possible.
AP: Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
AG: Probably this interview will be read by people who more or less are associated with art – ones as viewers, others as artists. To both of them, I would like to wish to avoid looking at the creative process as entertainment (which is common nowadays). It is a serious work that requires a lot of physical and emotional effort. While writing this phrase the stone rolled down again…
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