Brooklyn Postcard: visual artist Katya Grokhovsky
In our postcard series, we invite alumni living abroad to tell us their VCA story. This week we interview the visual and performance artist Katya Grokhovsky, currently working and living in Brooklyn, NYC.
About Katya Grokhovsky
Katya is a New York based artist, whose multidisciplinary practice incorporates performance, photography, video, sculpture, text, painting and drawing. She has an MFA in Sculpture (2011) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA, a BFA in Painting (2007) from Victorian College of the Arts, as well as a BA in Fashion (2000) from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Grokhovsky is an eternal migrant. In her practice, geographical and cultural displacement intermingle into a mélange of the personal and the political. Themes in Grokhovsky’s work stem from her own experience of life in the East and West under different political regimes. Past ideals and current ideological and economic states heroically intertwine onto an emotionally charged artistic platform, in which she operates. Conditions of being are collaged from collected biographical and fictional evidence and are explored in her work through various mediums.
Katya is a current mentee of 2012 NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists based in NYC in Digital/Electronic Arts.
She has travelled extensively, partaking in numerous residencies and performance art events and received various awards and scholarships, such as Graduate International Scholarship (SAIC, USA), Freedman Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists (Australia) and Maude Glover Fleay Award (Australia). She has recently completed residencies on scholarships at Santa Fe Art Institute (New Mexico), chashama, Long Island City, Queens, NY, _gaia studio, Jersey City, NJ, Watermill Centre, Long Island, NY, Oxbow, Michigan and has a forthcoming residency at ChaNorth, Pine Plains, NY.
I arrived at VCA with a smile on my face and left with an even bigger one. The reasons being, I knew what it was like not to make art professionally before that, and suffered greatly, having already began a career in fashion industry with a prior Fashion degree.
I desperately wanted to go to art school at the time and abandon the commercially driven fashion world, part of which I was beginning to be in Europe. I came back to Melbourne, prepared a fine art portfolio at various places, such as CAE visual arts certificate course and La Trobe College of Art and Design, and was accepted into VCA BFA Painting program, which turned out to be the exact platform I was looking for: experimental and open-minded.
I fondly remember the three years I spent at VCA, which were full of fantastically utopian and bold artistic dreams, great collaborative moments, vivid hilarious memories and important dialogues. I began to truly understand the world of contemporary art practice, what it meant to be a living breathing practicing artist, surrounded by madly passionate likeminded colleagues and mentors.
Looking at my practice today, which is often fuelled by performance art and installation, I realize that it fully began at VCA, in the second year of my BFA, when I cut off my then long hair as an action at an opening at a student gallery in VCA. I kept the actual hair and then immortalised the momentum in bronze in the VCA foundry. This might sound terribly sentimental, but to this day, these bronze strands, which hang on the wall at my parents’ house in Melbourne, are a symbol to me of my entry into the world of art and letting go of my ‘other’ past. These same seven strands, travelled with me to the USA for my interview to the prestigious multidisciplinary MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from which I graduated in 2011.
This first performative action became a very important jolt into a realm of interdisciplinary practice for me. Pushed and encouraged further by VCA teachers, I started performing simple actions at VCA somewhat regularly, from sitting in a cage for a few hours, to lying on a cold floor, surrounded by candles. All this has become a foundation to my further graduate studies in the US and to what is now my practice.
I am currently based in Brooklyn, NY and often meet with colleagues and friends from my years at VCA, who travel regularly. The relationships I have formed there, laid the basis of my global artist family, which is something I treasure greatly, as an always there-support system for a nomadic, often lonely artist, such as myself.
I am always proud to say I went to VCA and believe it was one of those life-changing, difficult but most important decisions of my life.
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A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.