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Inside the colourful world of Indre.

First of all, could you introduce us all to yourself, have you always lived here in the Midlands? If you moved here from elsewhere – what was it that brought you here to Leicester?

Hello there, my name is Indre, and I am an artist based in Leicester. I moved to Leicester from Lithuania, in 2014. That's when I started my fine art studies at DMU, and I only came here originally to study. I wasn't planning on staying at all but seeing the various opportunities around the UK for artists I decided that I would stay in the UK, and see where it takes me.

I absolutely adore your art, when did you start painting? Was it something you taught yourself or did you attend university or college to further your skills?

Thank you, Nikki. I actually started drawing when I was very little, you know, nursery kind of age. But I started actually painting at an art school in Lithuania when I was around 12. It's called an art school but actually it's more like an extracurricular activity. And I went there for about six years, which was awesome. They taught me how to paint, how to draw and I really appreciate all the skills that I gained, but I did always draw and paint during my own time too. Which has, you know, helped me to develop the skill that I have right now. University time painting was a great way to explore further what I can do, but they didn't really teach me any technical stuff like techniques or things, everything was very much about what I will find. So it was great on the level of, you know how far I dug that's how deep I got.

The idea that your work is based on female strength, independence and shared experience really connects to me as a fellow female! How do you pin point an idea from a woman’s gaze to work on/ What is it that draws you to your subject matter? What inspires you?

Yeah, actually, the work very much developed in the past couple of years. It shifted more towards the female strength and you know, a woman's image and representation through a woman's eyes. I kept on asking myself, why do I paint bodies and why do I always paint females. As a woman, you know, all sorts of questions came up about my own sexuality, about why I come back painting myself all the time, about self image, about all sorts of toxic ideas that this society has put in me. Now I'm reflecting on and healing from this toxicity. Because a lot of the time I do find that my painting process is all about reflecting, and healing, a lot like how dreams work. Dreams help you heal from and comprehend the trauma that you might experience daily so you do not need to have any emotional exertion during the day. I find that painting does that on a more aware level. So, I always tie a lot of psychological content to my work. They are very personal to me, but obviously not anyone will really understand that personal aspect.

So my current series, which is called domestic landscapes, is based on simple everyday activities of a woman's life, and then showing that in a way where I'm tying elements of nature into that domestic scene. I really missed being outside during the lockdown. It really felt like there was a part of me that was missing. Having a background growing up in a very nature based environment. I find that the forest is always with me somewhere in the back of my head. I keep finding myself kind of thinking about it. So I'm tying that into my work and trying to show, maybe, the more simple aspects of life in a more interesting light, making them more entertaining and interesting to look at.

I recently went to Lithuania to visit my family and they live in a forest at the moment. And that was just an incredible experience for me to, you know, get all the research that I need to make more work because I just find it incredibly inspiring to be out there in nature and just observe. Also observing other people interacting with each other is extremely inspiring for me too.

Wow, that sounds incredibly inspiring. I’d love to hear what inspires your colour palettes as they’re so eye catching!

Oh yeah, I really love colour. I think it used to be something that I struggled with when I was younger. I used to paint quite dark paintings and you know, I realised that I was having a very hard time and that was what was coming out from me. But now I just find it extremely enthralling to paint, super bright colours. And maybe sometimes the colours don't really match with the content of the work. Some of the content which I paint can be a bit disturbing or not, you know, something that you would associate with happiness. But then again, I've loved that visceral effect it has on our brain when you just look at that colour. You can't really see it very well on Instagram or Facebook or like small imagery on the computer or phone, because I'm using fluorescent paint, which actually kind of glows in real life. When you get the ultraviolet sunlight shine on the piece it looks very different to an image on screen. Of course the size of the work also really matters, because you have such big sections of the work just really bright coloured as the paintings are big. It makes your eyes hurt sometimes to look at it for too long. So sometimes I have to not look at them, to be able to have a bit of a rest. But yeah, I’m very inspired by the energy and effect colours have on our minds and state of being.

The videos you post on your page are such an awesome insight into your creative process, have you always used the same method or has it evolved over the years?

I think making videos is such a common thing these days. My work wasn't shown before in such a format where I show how I make the work because before it used to be a little bit of a taboo for artists to show their process. It wasn't all about sharing it was more about the artist as a persona and an artist's secrets and techniques or something like that. But the way society has shifted with social media and the internet I found love in this ability to show other people how I make things with the intent that maybe it would help others to try certain techniques and see, you know how long it actually takes sometimes to make a piece. I don't always paint every day but some work might have taken me three or four weeks to create, just because of the sheer size of it and the details. It is a rather long time to sit on one painting, don’t you say?

I do you love the platform of tik tok and Instagram and making these really short videos. It’s entertaining and fun! Interestingly even before tick tock I used to love to capture five or four seconds short videos of certain scenes and just kind of keep them for myself, because at the time we didn't have the live photos setting and I used to love to see how things move and change and shift, even for a few seconds, which normal photographs just column’t capture.

Do you work from home or in a studio space? Could you talk to us about your creative space, how it works for you and what you like to surround yourself with?

I do create my bigger paintings from my studio space at Studioname, just because they're too big for me to create at home, and I really do love the community at Studioname! All the artists working there are just wonderful and I get so much advice and experience sharing with them and also lovely chats as the spaces are very open format. They're not closed off, we don't really have doors between each other’s spaces. So it's lovely to be able to talk and just see how other artists work. My space isn't very big. All the walls are white, well they used to be. Now all splattered with paint, mostly. I have a skylight above me, because that is one of the things that I would require when I paint as it really affects the coloration choices of my paint, and how the paintings look. So I really prefer to work with natural light. My space is rather empty. There are no tables or chairs. I Just have this converted little storage box where I keep all my paints in. I try as much as possible to cover every wall with paintings so I can surround myself with the colours and work on multiple pieces at a time.

Do you have a ritual before or during you work? What does a day in the life of you look like?

My ritual, hm… I do like to set my mind in a certain way which prepares me for the work ahead. I think I do that on the way to my studio. Never thought about it as a ritual, but I guess it is. It takes me around 40 minutes to walk to Studioname, which I prefer to do instead of driving. During the walk I love to really think about what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it, what colours I might pick and the subject matter of the piece.

It just really puts me in this mindset of working and productivity. So when I get to the studio I might be spending like five hours there of which the whole time would be spent painting. Well also maybe 10-15 min for filming or taking photos, but the rest of the time I wou

ld be chipping away at the piece.

Oh yes! And of course, coffee helps with that too.

Is this how you spend all of your time? What do you get up to when you are not painting?

So a lot of the time when I am not painting. I do other work. As much as I would like, I do not spend all my time painting. a lot of Mondays are spent writing applications for various contests, open calls, you know, communicating and all that administrative kind of stuff. But on the other days I do workshops with children with two different organisations called Pedestrian and Platform 31. We do special workshops for women’s refuges, and slightly less wealthy areas around Leicester. I find this work extremely rewarding. To be able to do art with these children and their mothers, who might have seen some horrible times and kids that might not have the opportunity to participate in certain activities. It’s a great feeling.

Also in my spare time, I love to do a lot of different crafts, and various projects from sewing to pottery to painting the walls of my house, and various creative things. My mission is to bring as much art into my daily life as possible.

What’s next for you?! I’d love to hear where you see your project going and what avenues you fancy exploring and then like a “THAT IS THE DREAM” goal if you feel like sharing?

I guess My dream is to just keep on painting without needing to worry about all the business and application side of things. To be confident in knowing that people are actually seeing my work, and hopefully buying it.Have someone else do all the paperwork. But yeah, I’d just love to focus on painting without needing to have all these different distractions. Funny thing is that the time I spend actually painting is probably just 30% of all the time I spend on my art activities. Being an artist is so much more than just creating the work. There is so much admin stuff to do. As unglamorous as it sounds I think it is true for most artists.

I think that's so important to note, it's a real insight into the artist lifestyle we like to romanticise. We’re hoping to create a creative loop within the community, is there anyone locally that inspires you I could add to the list and speak to next?

So, if I recommended another artist for the interview it would probably be Lorna Grey aka @nipnacks on IG. She's doing really well with her pottery and ceramics and I really love the subject of the female power, empowerment and exposure that she’s sending. The cups and pots that she's doing are awesome and Lorna is also based at Studioname.

Ah, I LOVE Lorna's work. I definitely need to chat to her! Are there any local spots you visit in your spare time?

I’m a big fan of St Martin’s Coffee Shop and the Crafty Burger restaurant they have. Also anything that is vintage, small and East Asian will attract my interest. So you could include all the Korean, Chinese and Japanese grocery stores in Leicester :D There’s a very lovely tiny sushi bar on Welford rd that serves great food called Kuru Kuru Sushi. Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been.

Thank you so much Indre, it's been a pleasure talking with you.

If you like Indre's work, you can find it online via her website

or via her instagram;

You can also visit her work in real life from this Friday at the LCB Depot in Leicester. The opening day is 5-8pm on November 5th.

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