Art Festivals Abound

Art Festivals Abound

As bright, open-minded and endlessly creative individuals, many students at HSE are always on the lookout for extra art-related events. If your goals are building relationships for work, expanding horizons or getting one-of-a-kind handmade merchandise, ‘arts and crafts’ fairs and markets are generally great places to hang out.

The trouble is, it can be surprisingly difficult to keep up with the dates and whereabouts of exhibitions and art festivals, especially since there are some we would be better off avoiding.

Recently, I have attended two memorable artsy gatherings with a couple of friends, who have kindly agreed to provide us with some insight and details about their experience.

The first, back in September, was ARTLIFE FEST, a 4-day long celebration of modern art from all over the world. It included 20 lectures and an exhibition of wonderfully diverse mixed-technique artworks by 38 modern creators from over 16 countries, workshops and Question-Answer sessions. The organizers’ aim was to “disprove the myth that art is tedious, complicated and only accessible to a lucky few”, hence you could find masterpieces ranging from traditional mediums like oil and pastel to VR (virtual reality), for absolutely no entrance fee, through getting an online ticket on their website.

“I didn’t even know all the Russian artists, let alone the foreign ones! Also, I’ve finally discovered the authors of some of my favourite works!”, said a first-year media student Olya when asked about ARTLIFE. “The atmosphere was amazing- exciting but not pressuring, there was tons to learn from lectures and it was all absolutely free!”

The second event that students may find engaging and the author happened to visit was the Berry water (in Russian – «Морс» (Mors)) International Festival of Book Illustration and Visual Literature. “Fresh”, “breathtaking” and “unforgettable” are just a few of the adjectives our interviewee Nastya from the Faculty of Philology came up with when asked to describe her impression of the exhibition. “The abundance of style, subject and medium diversity was truly something to marvel at, and you could literally feel the artists’ passion for their craft through their works”.

One of Nastya’s favourite things about the event were the three lectures visited. One of them, performed by a teacher of HSE School of Design, was amazingly motivational and really hit home for many people in the audience. It gave lots of sound ways to deal with a toxic environment and avoid getting put down to the extent that art turn into a traumatic experience.

“I also loved the market,” Nastya recalls fondly, “the hand painted ceramics and fabrics were a pleasant surprise, the organizers also gave out 10% discounts for all Red Pencil stores, which many artists were extremely thankful for! I’d recommend this to people who love art, want to know more about it, need to acquire some trendy gifts for loved ones, or just want to spend an enjoyable evening in good company”.

One last merit that should be mentioned is the fact that festivals like these ones are also great for international students, since they rely heavily on partnerships with foreign artists and publishers, hence opportunities arise to talk to native speakers of their languages.

Though both festivals are annual events, and won’t be held until Autumn 2020, they remain relevant since they offer opportunities for self-expression and education year-round. The ARTLIFE FEST website is a great platform for finding online courses, demo class translations and sign-ups for workshops in different mediums. Meanwhile, the Berrywater website or VKontakte page are great places to find either professional photo footage of the event or many craft-related projects, competitions and discussions.

Many people lose track, or are simply unaware of the ‘bohemian’ calendar and miss opportunities to socialize, see their favourite online artists in real life or just relax whilst appreciating lots of great illustrations. Hopefully this article has shed some light on the existence and general organization of such events and what you expect if you wisely choose to attend.

There are obviously many more gatherings waiting to be explored, such as the Retro Fair “Bloshinka” and Autumn Craft Market “Doonyasha”, to name a few. A convenient resource for keeping track of mentioned events is the Timepad Digest, but really information can be found via social media, blogs, or friends. There is something for everyone in a lovingly organized, atmospheric get-together. Keep up with the creative community and happy arting!

Text by
Alexandra Karpezova

Photos from ARTLIFE FEST by Alexandra Karpezova

Photos from Berrywater Fest: