An Interview With Esther Franchuk “Anast ...

An Interview With Esther Franchuk “Anastasiia”

Sep 28, 2023

Welcome to my artist interview series Esther! I'm so excited to have you here, and I can't wait to learn more about your artistic journey and what inspires you. The goal of these interviews is to provide a platform for artists to share their stories and experiences, in the hopes of inspiring others to embrace their creativity and pursue their passions.

First, I'd love to hear a bit about you and what makes you, well, you! Care to share some fun facts about yourself, or maybe something interesting that most people don't know about you?

I was thinking actually a lot about it lately. What makes us as a person and how the social media these days immediately wants to assign us to a specific niche. And how limiting it could feel. I love being an artist and I love what I do. Creativity was always a huge part of my life and something I truly passionate about. Yet there is so much more to being who I am then just being an artist. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister. I'm a believer, an artist, dreamer & traveler. I love horse-back riding, baking cakes and enjoy studying multiple languages. Every one of us is like a beautiful multicolor wonder tapestry and as we get to know people and build deeper friendships we are able to see more of what we behold and I just think its really beautiful.

I'm curious to know what first sparked your interest in art and made you want to pursue it as a career. Was there a particular moment or experience that made you realize that art was something you wanted to pursue?

I definitely had a moment! It was at the charity art-auction that took place in my home town many years ago. I remember everything though as it was yesterday. I was feeling so honored to be there, every one was so aristocratic, wearing fancy clothes, and talking about art and making a difference in this world with your story. There were live music and the whole event had some form of the retro ball. I was 14 and I was the youngest there... I remember the awe and excitement sharing about the painting I did and the dreams I have. I didn’t have much skills back then but it was one of those days and paintings when you are never the same after it. And that was the year I made a decision I’m gonna be an artist. I don’t care how hard it would be, how many closed doors I gonna face and how many giants I have to overcome. This is what I meant for. This is the greatness I want to live in. I want to fly high in this creative world and I want to inspire others with what I do and what I paint.

Can you tell me about a time when something happened that completely changed the course of your artistic journey? Maybe it was something unexpected, or maybe it was a gradual realization. Either way, I'd love to hear all about it.

Even though I had received professional training before, enrolling in the Mastery Program at the Milan Art Institute marked a significant turning point in my art career. I wouldn't be the artist I am today without this course. It provided me with the courage and freedom I needed, leading me in an entirely new direction with my art. It was a time of discovering my true artistic voice and style, understanding my aesthetic preferences, and clarifying the message I wanted to convey to the world. During this program, I delved into what truly inspires and moves me, what touches my heart, and how to translate these emotions onto the canvas in a cohesive and mature manner. The program seamlessly assembled all these puzzle pieces, igniting a new sense of purpose and offering a fresh perspective on my artistic journey.

As an artist, I'm sure you've faced some struggles and challenges along the way. Those experiences have probably impacted your work in some way. Can you share a bit about those challenges and how they've influenced your artistic process?

One of my strongest traits has always been perseverance, and it only grew stronger with each challenge and wave of resistance I encountered. I faced a particularly challenging season during the early stages of my art journey while attending art college and an art academy. At that time, I was the least gifted and skilled student, and passing art exams felt incredibly daunting. Each day, I had to wake up early to catch a bus to a different town for my classes, often getting only 4-5 hours of sleep to keep up with the demanding program. I even had to hire a tutor outside of school to help me reach the required level of painting proficiency. There were days when I felt overwhelmed and doubted if I had what it takes to become an artist. However, those moments of doubt were always followed by an even stronger drive and passion to persevere. I simply couldn't give up on my dream. Now, as I look back, I feel grateful for those challenging times. I've developed a solid skill set, and I now possess the freedom and confidence to inspire other aspiring artists to pursue their dreams. I'm convinced that becoming an artist is not shrouded in mystery or reserved for the fortunate few; it's a matter of time, dedication, and unwavering perseverance. I know that anyone who wholeheartedly commits to their artistic journey can reach their dream.

It's often said that artists put a bit of themselves into their work. I'd love to hear about your personal connection to your art. Do you draw from personal experiences, feelings, or ideas when you create your work? How does your art reflect your own life?

I feel like every piece of art is very personal and it definitely comes from my heart. My latest works inspired a lot by my Ukrainian heritage. It started as a prophetic statement over my country. I began painting women with wings way before the war started and they gave me a lot of strength and courage to get through the hardest of times. I believe they were meant to bring hope and comfort first of all to my own heart and then to so many others that need it. In the same time though its amazing to see how different paintings speak in a different way to who ever looks at them, they tell their unique stories beyond the initial idea and inspiration.

You've probably had some profound or meaningful experiences that have impacted the way you approach your art. Could you tell me about any experiences that have shaped the way you express yourself through art?

Traveling has had a profound impact on how I express myself through art. It has broadened my perspective on the world and deepened my understanding of the stories that shape it. In my brief visit to Medellin, I encountered a remarkable narrative of transformation within Colombia. This city, once deemed the most dangerous on Earth, faced two harrowing periods—one involving Pablo Escobar and narcos in 1989, and another with guerrilla movements later. Back then, the idea of Medellin becoming a sought-after travel destination seemed unimaginable. Today, Medellin stands as a safe, beautiful, modern, and welcoming place, brimming with art, creativity, potential, and opportunities. It ranks among the most incredible places I've ever visited. Witnessing such a dramatic shift unfold in less than two decades is profoundly inspiring and encouraging. Learning about the pivotal role that artists played in this transformation fills me with joy and reinforces my sense of purpose as a creative. It highlights the notion that art has the power to shape cultures and transform nations. Art becomes a prophetic declaration and a gateway to reconciliation and freedom. Being part of this artistic movement, where heaven and earth collide for greater purposes and awakening takes root among nations, is one of the most beautiful aspects of my creative journey. It fuels my determination to persevere through doubts, lies, and challenges, as I realize that the victories achieved do not belong solely to me; they have the potential to impact generations. This is how we change the world—one painting, one story, one breakthrough at a time.

Feedback sometimes can be hard to take, especially when it's about something you've created with passion and hard work. How do you approach feedback and criticism about your work? Do you find it helpful, or is it sometimes difficult to hear? I'd love to know how you handle it.

Many times, sharing my art with others and engaging in discussions about it feels incredibly vulnerable. However, I genuinely cherish the feedback, especially when it comes from other artists who share a similar creative journey. There are moments when, as creators, we become so immersed in a piece that we lose sight of its imperfections or how to enhance it further. It's in these instances that an external suggestion can trigger that "aha" moment, leading to a breakthrough. Moreover, as creatives, our pursuit of perfection can cloud our objectivity towards our own work. Critique, in such cases, provides a fresh perspective, enabling us to make significant improvements. I believe it all comes down to the heart. When I know that people truly care about me and want to encourage my artistic growth, it makes these vulnerable moments of sharing and critique immensely valuable and rewarding.

There are many stereotypes about what it's like to be an artist. Some people might think that artists have a carefree, bohemian lifestyle, or that they're always starving for money or recognition. How would you address those misconceptions and give people a more accurate understanding of what it's like to be an artist?

One big stereotype I often hear is that you need to be born with natural talent to be a successful artist. But my own journey shows that this isn't always true. While some people might learn faster or have an instinct for color, it's not what makes a professional. In reality, being an artist is a lot like any other job. It's about hard work and practice. Just like in other fields, practice and commitment is what helps you get better.

Creative blocks can happen to anyone. If you've ever experienced a creative block, can you tell me about your experience and how you dealt with it? I'm sure other artists would love to hear about your process for overcoming creative blocks.

I've learned to view every creative block as an incredible opportunity for growth. A creative block often indicates that a breakthrough is just around the corner. Creativity operates in cycles, and instead of avoiding these blocks, we can learn that they serve as pillars for maturing in our creative journey. Going through an art block isn't comfortable; it's a crisis of creativity. However, if I simply push through and continue painting without any expectations, it consistently leads to a breakthrough and takes me to a new, amazing creative stage that surpasses everything I've created before.

Artists often have meaningful interactions with the people who view and appreciate their work. Can you tell me about any interactions that have stuck with you over the years? What impact do you hope your art has on the people who experience it?

Collecting the stories shared by my art collectors is one of the most beautiful and rewarding aspects of being an artist. Hearing how a specific painting has deeply touched someone often surpasses my expectations of what art can do. It fills my heart with gratitude and humility, reinforcing my belief in the prophetic power of art. I've had the privilege of encountering numerous accounts from individuals who have purchased my paintings. They describe how the artwork made them cry, instilled hope, reignited their sense of purpose, rekindled long-forgotten dreams, or profoundly resonated with their life's calling and destiny. Some stories are incredibly heartfelt and intricately connected to the imagery, revealing aspects of someone's journey that I had never known. These stories never fail to give me goosebumps.

There are so many young and emerging artists who are seeking guidance and inspiration. What advice would you offer to them, based on your own experiences and journey as an artist? What are the most important lessons you've learned?

I believe the most important thing is to understand that you will need a lot of courage and persistence. Its not gonna always be a romantic picture we imagine in our head with effortlessly painting in a dream studio or in the fields. (At least that’s what I had starting out.) You will need dedicate yourself to daily effort and to showing up consistently, regardless of how you may feel. You will need to make your vision and dreams a top priority and, more importantly, take actionable steps towards them. While we can't predict when opportunities will arise or doors will open, our responsibility lies in being prepared and having a body of work to showcase when those moments come. A good start would be identifying your goals and clarifying your vision. Then you will need to commit to working steadily towards them. Success is built on perseverance and the countless hours spent behind the paintbrush. There will inevitably be bad painting days and less-than-perfect works, but these should never deter or discourage you. Keep painting, and you'll witness remarkable transformations unfolding through your dedication.

If anyone is interested in seeing your work, where can they find it? I'm sure many people would love to see more of your work!

My website is the best place to see all of my artworks in collections. I also share a lot of progress pictures and creative content on my Instagram esther_franchuk


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