Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hoolya is a Russian street artist, known for the tag #Pink Power. On 8th of March 2018 it will be already 4,5 years that the project exists. Here is a talk with Yulia about the clue to her work and experience in different countries.

– How do you see the concept of the“Pink Power”? How do you decode the title? 

– At the time, when I understood that I want to do art myself, I have already worked for 5 years in TsUM (Central Department Store in Moscow) as a designer of showcase. I started to look through what do woman in Russia create, and what is done by woman in general, and I felt that almost everything contains “pink”. It worked both in metaphorical and literal sense: feminine art seemed to be associated with that color and seemed to be so naïve. It existed as a sort of cliché, which I wanted to interpret in a different manner, but also stress the femininity of art. As I came to the idea that I want to do art, the most catching format for me was street art, since it is outside and that’s why it is alive. So “Pink Power” seeks to break the feminine clichés, it is opposed to the glossy art and is powerful and alive, as it is external and enough aggressive.

– So “Pink Power” is a kind of signature of your projects. Which performances and projects are included in “Pink Power”?
– A lot! I can tell you about my favorite one, which was a part of a bigger project “30 edges of yourself” Artmossfera: there were 30 other artists besides me. The idea was to make spectator seeing himself in your work. That’s why I used a mirror, and interpreted “Pink Power” as a creative strength, which motivates and pushes one to act.

– And who are the characters here? Is it a visualization of an idea, that a person in a crowd is more powerful?
– I would not say a “crowd”, but a person with confederates. It seems to be a kind of synergy, when the knowledge and efforts of different people come together and organize in a way, that allow the group to be more effective with each other, than separately.


– There is also another project with a mirror, your performance in the Moscow Manege You were drawing a portrait of a woman, could you tell about it as well? 
– It was done at the exhibition of a Russian artist Vladimir Dubossarski, who was doing a project dedicated to “Facebook”. He called all the contemporary creators he followed on Facebook and gave us a task: during the exhibition we needed to act the same way, as we usually do in social media. I was quite excited, as Dubossarki is a recognized artist not just in Russia, but worldwide. I decided that it won’t be enough just to draw a portrait, and I came to the idea to use a mirror: I drew myself on it, but my real face was closed at the same time.


– I saw that you have some projects abroad. In which countries have you already worked?
 In the USA I was lucky to get in the “SHE INSPIRES” project in the NY gallery “The Untitled Space”. And on that time Indira, the curator of the project, was searching for 60 artist and surprisingly picked me as well. In reality, I did not plan it at all, as I traveled to the U.S. just to relax! Also I painted some outside murals with JMZ walls. They are curators, who connect the artist searching the locations for graffitis, with the owners of houses, who want their walls to be painted. There are both commercial and non-profit projects in this community, and I worked in non-profit ones. It allowed me to draw what I wanted and allowed to create freely.

– Did you feel that the public here and in the USA. is different?
– Yes, I got a lot more feedback abroad in comparison with Russia. I think, there are several reasons for that: street art is generally more developed in the USA, and people there have better attitude to artist. It is in a way understood, that if you are able to produce content on your own, you are already valuable. But here in Russia the artist is seen in a different manner, he is not estimated reasonably. However, it might be as well that audience does not make mistakes. I mean, that in Russia we might see the consequences of artists’ own behavior: they do not consider their job as something compelling.

– Did you get any memorable, unexpected feedback here or in the USA? 
– I think that was after this Triptych, which was instagramed a lot. Unfortunately, you will not be able to see it in real life anymore, as it has been repaint after a year. Yet I haven’t been informed about it, it was obvious that this location would be redone in some time. However, it was there for a year, and was shared in social media vastly. After this Tryptich I was interviewed by Loise, the editor of Street Art NYC. I was really surprised, as she seemed to know a lot more about my projects, than I do. That was a really unexpected feedback.

– Is the manner of work in the USA different as It is here?
– Yes, indeed. I reckon, it is much more controlled in the U.S., if you think about law and illegal street art. If here, in Russia, the graffiti are drawn everywhere and can be drawn by anyone, in the U.S. without the formal agreement street art is done generally by criminals. It creates a different cultural context. At the same time, it is easier to be seen as an artist there, as in the USA people do not require what they want, but try to understand the message of the creator. The spectators are more ready to consume art as they keep in mind, that every artist has his own manner of work and style.

– And your message is to defend women, to tear the clichés? 
– Not exactly. I started my project to express myself, but not to defend anyone. I generally do not like the idea that I must be defended, as I am strong. In the feministic projects I often feel that it is stressed, that women are somehow infringed. But I do not want to touch this topic, as I want to say that I am strong, professional and I want to develop art, to motivate people. Obviously, It is easier to create negative projects and attitude, than to inspire.

– Then, do you have any further projects in mind, or following steps?

– I can’t tell it yet, as they are in the process. I think that something might be lost, if you tell about the project before you complete it. The only thing I can reveal you, is that we are working on a 15-minutes documentary about “Pink Power”.

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