ai artist. Jenia Filatova
words. Odie Senesh
issue 7. on the edge

Your work uniquely marries traditional photography with mixed media. Can you delve into your artistic evolution and what inspired this harmonious blend?

My photography journey began in high school, leading unexpectedly to a design diploma with honors. Despite never working directly in design, I spent six years at Russia’s largest design studio as a photographer. There, my projects ranged widely, from shooting everyday items and movie posters to documenting a tanker’s journey to Seoul. This variety thrilled me, allowing me to capture everything from street food to celebrities within a single day. My passion for lighting experimentation grew, and during the COVID period, I delved into TouchDesigner and Blender, further broadening my experimental scope. The emergence of artificial intelligence has made this exploration even more fascinating.

Working across a spectrum from public figures to indie fashion brands, how has this diversity shaped your artistic style and approach?

It’s exhilarating to capture the essence of both well-known personalities and indie acts. Each project is an opportunity to mirror their uniqueness, deeply integrating this diversity into my own style.

The mantra “mixed media for mixed feelings” suggests an intended embrace of unpredictability. How does unpredictability play a role in your art?

Unpredictability plays a crucial role in my creative process, especially when contrasted with the structured approach of commercial shoots. I enjoy exploring with light, using dual flashes, lasers, and colored filters to create effects that are partly controllable and partly left to chance. My work with Midjourney allows me to blend images from over 15 years, such as combining Karelian mushrooms with a Parisian model, resulting in uniquely surprising outcomes. This exploration, often replacing my evening TV time, emphasizes the individuality of creative expression, ensuring a personal visual experience that stands out distinctly.

Could you share a defining moment or achievement from your exhibitions or publications that has significantly impacted your journey?

An unforgettable experience for me was when I collaborated with Maxim Goudin, an exceptionally talented 3D artist from Ukraine. He introduced me to the possibility of integrating photos into our digital canvas during our project. Despite the backdrop of conflict between our countries, we found a profound connection and shared emotions through the fusion of his 3D art and my photography.

How do you see your work in the broader context of contemporary art?

At three years old, my aunt captured my voice on a tape recorder. Struggling with pronunciation, I declared, “I don’t like appropriate art.” That statement, my earliest recording, reflects my current mindset. Regarding my art’s context, form, and techniques, I’m deeply drawn to new technologies. I aim to harness innovation for art, blending diverse techniques and exploring the latest advancements. I personally assess each attempt, embracing the intriguing and discarding the unsuccessful.

Regarding the subject matter, I choose not to dissect my art verbally. Once I create a piece, its journey isn’t complete; it begins to take on a life of its own. Rather than directing interpretations, I remain an observer, attentive to the diverse reactions from viewers and critics alike. I aim not to dictate how my work should be perceived; individuals might interpret it as a nod to environmentalism or a political commentary. This raises the question: if our intentions are so pure and environmentally conscious, why do conflicts persist? My stance is influenced by Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author” theory, a perspective likely honed through my years behind the camera, watching and capturing the world.

Are there specific themes, collaborations, or new digital techniques you are excited to explore in your future projects?

I’ve spent a significant amount of time photographing musicians, artists, and celebrities. Having recently moved to Paris, my desire is to keep capturing, encountering, and drawing inspiration from the city’s wealth of talent. In France, there’s a deep appreciation for manual craftsmanship, something that resonates with me deeply, as I’ve been engaged in drawing since my youth. Moreover, I’m eager to further my knowledge in artificial intelligence and TouchDesigner. My aspirations are plentiful.

ai artist. Jenia Filatova
words. Odie Senesh