Elizaveta Litovka ‘Flowierdy’ footwear sculptures Interview

May 29, 2022 11:12 PM

Naïve Beauty: Flowierdy

Elizaveta Litovka is a 29 year old Ukranian photographer whose work includes individual portraits in often with blurred or obscured faces. During the pandemic she published a sculpture on social media, a photo of toilet paper wrapped around a foot and captioned it “the last roll” a joke about the crazy toilet paper scramble during the beginning of covid. That post went viral, showing she obviously hit a nerve with the absurdity of the tragic situation, addressing it with humor and creativity. Since then she has created a series of ‘Flowierdy’ photographs of footware sculptures. She develops her sculptures out of found items or food elements and sometimes adorn toe nails with objects. Her posts blossomed into celebrating the weird, the fun and the colorful, recruiting a large following of fans to her Instagram @floweirdy. Although seemingly unconnected, Litovka has managed to form a tie in between stilletos, feet and the discarded. Her account is called flowierdy because she is inspired by flowers and their otherworldliness. 

Check her Instagram >> @floweirdy <<

Interview

How has being Ukranian affected your work? What other experiences have affected your work?

The environment of our country is such that there is little in the way of aesthetics. So we have to look around to find a little beauty and catch it in the most unexpected places. But there is so much here that is amazing, random, unbelievable, that if you stop seeing it with your dusty eye, you feel the delightful impossibility of what is happening. It is all the more surprising that people, in the context of this milieu, are not particularly surprised by it. I think that, in a sense, it was ahead of my creativity.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by a person's sometimes sincere, naive desire for beauty. I love to see what beauty someone has chosen for themselves. Here's a jar of flowers at the market near the usual crooked vegetable stall. The vendor has done a beautiful job and it's stunning in my opinion. Here are rugs on the sand on the beach. People thought it would be comfortable and beautiful, so they brought them and will lie down on them. It doesn't seem unusual to them. I really like places where there is a mood, like markets where there are vegetables, people and flowers.

What does art mean to you?

It is a sincere statement, an expression of feeling. An infectious word that conveys a feeling. An act of empathy, a transfer of feeling from the author to the viewer.

Would you consider yourself a fashion person? What was your dressing aesthetic growing up?

I'm not a fashion person. I'm not connected to fashion, except that fashion tries to connect with me. We weren’t very rich growing up and there wasn't much opportunity to dress up. I got old geologist jackets from my grandmother, while my friends wore silly bright tights with cartoon characters. I was very jealous of them at the time. But now I realize that the understated aesthetic of geologic jackets contributed to good taste, because they had to make very strange but cool looks out of them. My mom always tried very hard and bought me unique shoes that no one else had, because she thought it was the key to an image. I remember every pair well, they became iconic and took on a special meaning.

Do you consider yourself a photographer or sculpture artist? What artists inspire you the most, who were your favorites?

I consider myself an artist. Tools are less important to me than meanings. At this point, you could say I photograph sculpture. But between creating or capturing, I'm more likely to capture. I guess this applies more to photography. I try to be inspired by my experiences rather than artists. But once, during a difficult creative period, I had a dream about Marina Abramovic, and she took me on a boat across the pool. I didn't know much about her at the time, I didn't even know that she had once had a performance with a boat. But this dream seemed symbolic to me, and I decided that since I was dreaming about her, I should study her. So I read her book. It was absolutely amazing, because she described very similar situations, which helped me to relax into my experiences. And even one day I lost my phone in the snow and dug through a huge mountain of snow trying to find it, and when I got home I opened the book with frozen fingers where Marina described how she lost her gun by dropping it in the snow. So it became quite magical to me. Speaking of artists of meaning, I will name the directors who cause my absolute delight, Martin McDonagh and Quentin Dupier.

How important is the bizarre or satire to you development process? How important are titles and captions to your artwork?

For me, humor is more important than satire. It doesn't denounce or ridicule. Without it, it is simply impossible to cope with this world. Titles are important where they are, but I don't mind a breath of randomness, in the moment of transmission from author to viewer. When the viewer is left with the opportunity to feel something for themselves, it allows them to participate in the creation.

Yes or No? Feet are beautiful or feet are weirdly alien? Why the fascination with feet? Where do you find the inspiration?

In my art, I just like to decorate my foot.  I haven't figured it out yet: is it because I like the foot so much or because I don’t  like it, so that I have to decorate it? My mom always had perfect slim legs and I always thought it was impossible for me to achieve. Except in a shoe made of pancakes... In general, shoes are cool because they create the foundation and set the tone for the whole image. I think it's the most important thing.  And crazy shoes are even cooler. These feet can take you to any world or help you escape from it. The first shoe was not made of toilet paper. It was more of a first graded one. It all started when I was walking around collecting broken Kinder toys all over the house. It was a bit of a motherhood crisis. To keep from going crazy, I decided to cover my (unusable in the household lately) stiletto shoe. It turned into a work about the inner struggle of a mother, a woman and an artist. I always liked shoes, at school I drew different weird shoes and handed them to the girls in class to choose from.  I don't think it's a foot fetish. Although I did recently dream about a foot. It was galloping like a horse and asking me about going crazy.

What notable people have reached out to you or collected your art? Any commissions?

From time to time someone comes to me. But there was one funny story. The stylist Ari Lennox wrote to me and asked for shoes for her concert. But the deal didn't go through. I didn't even shamelessly respond at the time. I just smiled and forgot. It was embarrassing to explain that it was unfortunately impossible to dance in rotten pears. The shoes were one of those ephemeral constructions, that is, I did not even glue them, they lined up and disappeared. I love it when it comes out that way, lightweight. Like Cinderella's shoes - magical, uncomfortable, ghostly, but meaningful. Or like Cinderella herself and her moment. Everything will disappear sooner or later.

What are you working on now? Do you have any exhibitions coming up?

I am working on projects for several brands and shows, because they are most important in the fall. I'm not planning an exhibition either, it will come when the statement calls for such a format

If you were given an unlimited budget and an unlimited public space, what would you build and why?

I do not have a plan to capture the large scale, maybe some kind small chamber and I would build on it. Although a huge garden of mushrooms and flowers that everyone would walk in and admire…I would like to build.

What would you like your wider audience to take away from your work? How do you hope it affects your viewers?

I would like them to smile, laugh, rejoice, admire, marvel, and feel the beauty of everything around them. Let them live a better and more festive life.

What advice would you give to other artists struggling in this time of covid?

Don't be discouraged. To perceive limitations as opportunities.

This challenging time does not leave you indifferent, and feelings are good for creativity, even if difficult and unpleasant. I encourage them to remember that the Internet allows them to have a tremendous opportunity to speak out for the whole world to hear. A limited resource in time or space (being in self-isolation) can also serve as an inspiration and motivator. What is lacking suddenly takes on added value. And comes the understanding that it can be used more usefully than in the absence of restrictions or difficulties. In a situation where one's own apartment is limited, one can finally learn to dig deep, rather than wide, into one's creativity or life. It is commonly believed that in order to create, it is useful to be in new places.  It's easy to be new in a new place, but it's cool to be new in an old place. To be able to stop and look not at many things, but at one thing for a long time. It helps not to look endlessly for a crush, but to find love.

 

INTERVIEWED BY NATHALIE MILLER 

EDITED BY KAREN YABUTA 

 

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