What sources of inspiration have had the most significant impact on you?
There is something magical in creating one-of-a-kind objects in general. And so is in discovering objects and textiles that were altered by various natural forces. The organic world with its patterns and cycles preoccupies most of my mind anyway, so I’m very drawn to things like bones and unusual stones, fungi, insects, the process of entropy, decay and all its agents.
I also like old animations and movies with practical effects and puppets. I play a lot of video games and I like to see how people used to translate simple game ecosystems into rendered digital spaces.
You work in multiple areas but I want to highlight your art objects. Can you share the message and intention conveyed by your choice of materials in jewellery-art pieces?
I like to think that I work with precious materials but if I sit down to think about what it really means for me, I could break it down to a few factors. I work with organic materials and silver; I avoid using plastic, although I appreciate it for its flexibility – I use it sometimes for space arrangements when doing scenography and when there is need to fill a bigger space – but when making something as precious as jewellery, crafting sentient beings’ ornaments from beautiful organic leftovers, I feel like I should give them proper dignity and I choose framing materials to be be as noble as possible.
Can you describe what you want to share with the world as a creator?
I don’t have a particular message as a creator, I just show a few people what’s sitting inside of me at a given moment, and strive to continue what I’m doing. After experiencing some emotional hardships when growing up, I needed some time to even be able to be creative again – perhaps that’s why everything I do right now is basically for myself.
Making objects, learning new mediums, and being able to express myself through them is sort of a meditative practice for me, and what I mean by that it’s that it brings me joy to take my time and master demanding processes and materials.
How do you remain connected to your roots while embracing the future?
I’m Slav and this idea of an eastern elven being, a water nymph (“rusałka”), is very close to my heart, sometimes it inspires me to search for visual codes connected to forest and water environments.
But on a more immediate level, I come from a rather poor family, and one of my basic priorities while growing up was to find a stable job. Today, I work full-time, which allows me a certain degree of creative freedom, and I make objects and other projects as a creative outlet; I’m happy to find myself not doing it for money. I feel like that would limit me, and if I had to monetize my art, it would come at the cost of me having to depend on it, which would most likely impose another creative block.
When I made my first batch of jewellery, I sold it all off Instagram within a week, just to see if people liked it. But after shipping a few packages to buyers around Europe, I just felt sad to see them go… And so I realized maybe I don’t even need others to actually wear them as accessories? Maybe the objects I create are meant to stay together, and slowly amass to a collection of strange, fossil-like artefacts? At least that’s where my mind is for now.
Paradise of the Opium Eaters by Shoshka
Live vivarium ecosystem: a deep research installation
The core: wooden root structure, silk, crochet yarn, air dry clay, polymer clay, shells, freshwater pearls, coral rocks, candles, cyanoacrylate, resin, 925 silver
Subverting notions of modern high-pressure fast-art, this installation shifts the focus to long-term cultivation and deep research and focuses on the investigation of natural processes which constitute life, purity, and decay. Enclosed in a glass container, Paradise of the Opium Eaters is, in fact, a self-sustainable ecosystem, conceived in September 2022 and alive since then, a living transplant from the forest with different kinds of moss, ferns, occasional mushrooms and decorative arabesques of mold springing here and there. Inside its guts time flows differently: albino isopods (Armadillidium vulgare) and springtails (Collembola) slowly decompose deteriorating organic matter, and the organic sculpted core of the Paradise awaits being completely taken over by mycelium, converted, and consumed.