‘Artists can arrive at their dream.’
Anasyasiya Chybireva-Fender works from her studio in Dallas. She was able to study figure drawing from childhood, and continued her visual art studies after arriving in the USA as a teen. Anasyasiya draws and paints from what she experiences in her own life with serious consideration given the elements and principles of her design, as well as research into the history and unique qualities of each subject. She seeks to give her paintings a palpable sense of the very soul of the humans represented, to initiate a dialogue between the artist and sitter and ultimately, the viewer.
Where is your current studio? What would be your dream studio?
My studio is a small 11 by 12 feet room on the second floor of our house. I am absolutely grateful for this space. It allows me to have a world of my own where I create all the rules. I can break them too if I want to. From the tender age of fourteen I have struggled being a foreigner, I experienced rejection quite a lot. Now I learned the trick. I am self sufficient when I am in my studio. I paint portraits too, so there is no shortage of people (in the frames) for me to hang out with. One day I hope to have a studio with lofted ceiling facing the sea, or any substantial body of water. Desert amazes me too, it is like a sea of sand. I want the windows of my studio to overlook something infinite. I think I care for that more than for them to be facing north.
Do you prefer to work in silence or does certain music inspire you?
I very rarely listen to music when I work. The emotions in the music often start infiltrating my intent for the piece that I am working on I don’t like that. I do like to listen to podcasts though when the work gets repetitive.
Studio life can lead to isolation, how do you address this/ keep a balance?
(My kids usually hang out in my studio, so it doesn’t feel too lonely.) Well, I love to teach and I have been blessed with lots and lots of students. I find that teaching balances out the hours of solitude very well. It also gives this solitude a well defined purpose making it easier to bear.
Describe a moment you had an epiphany concerning your creative life.
When I was three or four years old (sorry, it is going to be one of those proverbial childhood moments) my mother was cutting my hair. I picked up a pair of scissors and marvelled at the fact that when you open the scissors they look angry, and when you close them they look spooked. It started my lifelong inquiry into the morphological semiotics. It is the topic of my dissertation. Nothing has ever fascinated me more than the power of form to elicit human emotion.
What is your favourite/ least favourite part of the creative process?
I like to start and to finish my pieces and I don’t like all the rest. I think, however, that learning to enjoy the tedious middle part is what qualifies you as a professional, so I am trying.
Do you have a personal mantra or quote which serves to motivate you?
“On the shield or with the shield.” It is a Spartan motto. You come home with the shield as a victor in a battle, if no one took it away from you in disgrace, and on the shield as a (dead) hero. I like to leave myself no third option. Luckily, I have never been dead. Maybe if I have, I would have reconsidered adapting this motto.
Is there something you regard as essential to your preparation or process?
I need my mind and heart to be still when I start a new piece. Sometimes that means going for a run, other times I need to go cry about something, sometimes I need to call my mom and make sure she is well, other times I need a day of silence. When I need to start a new piece, somehow, I become very aware of what is preventing that stillness and until I resolve it, I cannot begin.
If you could time travel, what advice would you give the younger you, regarding pursuing your artmaking?
I truly understood what it is that I want to paint and who I am not only as an artist but as a woman in general after I had my first children. I consider them to be my masterpiece and my inspiration all at once. It completes me. So I would have advised my younger self to follow her heart and have courage to be a young mother; to not be afraid of the social pressure that insists that smart girls build their career first.
What do you hope to convey through your work?
I want to facilitate an encounter between my subject and my viewer, as for myself, I hope to fully disappear. I want to be not seen and not heard nor thought about when one looks at my work. I want my viewer to experience the visceral presence of another individual in the room, even when they are not facing the wall with the painting