Danil Polevoy is 25 years old. He was born in Ukraine. He got his first degree in law in Russia and later emigrated to Israel. Afterwards he ended up in Moscow again. In his 25 years of life he tried many things. He worked as a lawyer, an artist, a party organiser, a photographer, as a producer at the advertising agency and even as a laborer. Now Danil is back to Ukraine, Dnepropetrovsk, but by the end of 2011 he will go back to Israel. At the moment he is working as a digital designer for Moscow design studio (outsourcing). In my spare time he creates collages and takes photos (concert and children ones). Also he’s been studying The Torah for 15 years and as it happens he still can’t ride a bike:) It was a pleasure for us to take an interview with Danil Polevoy and we are happy to share it with you.
AP: Danil, tell us about your first photos. What did they look like?
DP: In 2008 I bought my first digital camera and that was when I got into photography… Nothing special, I was just taking pictures of the sky and other nonsense. I think, I realized that photography is my call in November 2008, after doing a photoshoot of a Russian performer Delphin at his concert. Since then I’ve done over 200 concert photoshoots with performers from all over the world. I was an official photographer at the performances of Matisyahu, Gogol Bordello, Infected Mushroom and Johnny Lydon.
My first collage was created in December, 2010. It was an image with hip-hop Hasids. At that time I was writing a new post for my blog. I had to design a text about modern Israeli music. And here an idea came up to combine orthodox Jews and hip-hop culture attributes. My readers liked the image even more than the text. Then I started to create new collages. For my first ones I used my own pictures (Hasids, Einstein, Stalin, etc.), later I started using archival photographs from the Civil War. I bought HiReses online and created new collages. Working on the 5-6 collages I realized that the main characters of my collages were super-heroes and pop culture icons (not just music ones). I had tried to make collages on various themes, but somehow I came back to the super-heroes. Looks like this is my destiny…
DP: I am a self-taught person and I am proud of it. Ha-ha! I believe, all kinds of education should help us to catch the wave instead of trying to teach us to do everything in the “right” way. All the people are gifted. And our talent is developed through the hard work and great love to what we do, even more than within formal education (and it doesn’t matter what you are – a cook, a painter or a builder).
We live in the period of getting any information in two mouse clicks. This is the way I get all the necessary information. Actually, I get 200% more than I really need, but I can screen what I “really need”, “never need” or “perhaps, will need in the future”.
Imagination is also highly important. I read a lot, I try to realize myself in different unknown for me areas. Once I even worked as a piercer. All the information turns into food for imagination. And imagination, in its turn, grinds these tones of images and creates exactly what you need.
AP: What genre are your photos?
DP: My favorite genres are digital collage, concert, children photography and psychological portrait. All the difficulties I’ve met and still meet are related to my will to learn. I’m trying and experimenting. If it doesn’t work for the first time, it will do for the 10th one. I like experiments in the new genres I have never worked before. Once I have been taken pictures of lines and shadows for two months. It was great experience for me. This is the way I learn the world. In the nearest future I wish I could try my best in the new genres: nude photography and political report.
DP: Speaking about my collages, I am neither a pioneer nor a trendsetter. I do it just for fun. I enjoy creating new collages. And people enjoy looking at them. My main goal is to make a viewer to smile. And there is nothing else to impose on. No politics, no humour on the modren world or misrepresentation of the history. They often write about my collages in the Internet and it was something in the Russian mass media. It seems like people find my collages unique and unusual. What do you think about it?
And about photography. I take it much more serious than collages. But for a lot of people I am associated with a designer and an illustrator and only after that as a photographer. It looks like I should take photography as serious as I used to work with collages. Then they will also write about Danil Polevoy a photographer, not only about Danil Polevoy – a designer.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your photos?
DP: I create all my collages in Adobe Photoshop CS5. I don’t have any PC, just use my Hewlett-Packard laptop for all kinds of work. I always use a small pad Wacom Bamboo. And I take photos with Canon EOS 50D. And my favourite lens – Canon 50mm f/1.8. Of course, I wish I could have more serious equipment (both for photo and graphics), but I need big money for it. And I don’t have it yet.
DP: Yes, I consider myself as an expert. It can be easily confirmed by the online publications, by the exhibitions and invitations to give some work-shops. To my great regret, I don’t give any work-shops because I don’t know what to tell about. I am afraid, people will be unsatisfied with me.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
DP: To my great regret, I don’t know the formula for success. If I knew an answer to this question, I would be a pretty rich man. All our success comes only because of hard work. Sweat, tears and sleepless nights – that’s what makes my work “mine.” I take part in competitions very seldom. I don’t like competitions, they are very subjective. But I love different projects. I took part in The International Student Art Fair 2010 in Moscow. Now I am participating in the new Martini project – Martini Art Club (have created a new set of collages that nobody has seen them yet. This is a great secret :).
I am really proud my collages were used in office design of The Ant Farm Studio, Los Angeles. This studio collaborates with Hollywood, and they are good experts in good creative works. And a dream of my life is to get to the USA to work in some interesting projects. Unfortunately, they haven’t invited me to the USA yet. Maybe, you will invite?:)
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
DP: Certainly. My parents and friends support me. It’s really important for me to know the opinion of my blog readers and Facebook friends. But I never renounce my collages and photos, which were created earlier, even if somebody tells they are not good enough. I’ve created and released them. And this is highly important for me. A lot of things can influence my works: a song, a man, a word, a photo, etc. I can’t pick out something specific.
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