Interview with deaf artist Linas Podiriaka

by Marija Cipkute via

Linas Podiriaka is a young artist who graduated from Vilnius Academy of Art last summer with MA degree in Painting. Linas is deaf since early childhood, yet this wasn‘t a thing to deter him from studying art.

I met Linas during my Bachelor studies at the Academy of Art. During the period of few years, I visited some of his expositions held in the Academy. And I could witness that Linas has been creating really interesting and outstanding artworks.

One of the ways that the artist uses to communicate with others (teachers, other students, friends, etc.) is to write and receive the answers on a sheet of paper. Recently he made an impressive installation titled “Silence Is Talking”. It was a great collection of the conversations written on many different sheets of paper and exposed all together.

I invite you to read my short conversation with Linas telling about himself and his art.

Linas, could you briefly tell me when did painting come into your life? How did you come to understand that this was really your own way of life?

Once when I was little I was watching TV and I saw a broadcast about the painter creating realistic paintings. That really enchanted me and I also wanted to make such a painting. I tried and tried, but I didn’t succeed. However, I knew deeply in my heart that I was an artist. I went steady after I had discovered painting as a profession. As I look back, it seems that I didn‘t have any other ways to go.

What was the beginning of your artist career? What inspires you to create?

My way to the art started with the after-school art classes. I was fascinated with drawing and watercolor painting. That was an introduction to my use of many different visual art techniques as well as interdisciplinary mediums. Everything depends on the topic and the choice of medium depends exactly on the ideas I want to express.

I guess that the very act of watching is really important for you. What role does that play in your artworks? What content is lying in your works of art?

I use artistic expression to speak about some secrets, about things that many people do not notice in their daily lives. You know, very often even when they notice, they don‘t understand lots of things in the way they are, as they only scratch the surface. I try to reflect on that in a subtle and bright way. However, my works of art clearly show my nature and the problems that I have since my early childhood. I do not express myself in a rough manner, though. I try to seek for the harmony.

What is the main topic that you analyze in your art? What does that mean to you?

The main topic of my creative activities is “The Field of Silence” where I live in. I mostly paint the faces and the physiognomies. The space and physiognomies are essential in gestural language. Since my early childhood I am used to watching TV with the sound on, yet these sounds have never reached my eardrums. That is why while watching people I only see the action of their faces. Eyes are always alive, they‘re not passive. Sometimes they are vivacious, sometimes good, bad, sad, joyful or even vulgar. Eyes are a very important part of the gestural language. They participate alongside the lips.

Inoticed that your Bachelor graduation exposition was more like painting-installation. And your Master graduation exhibition was a sculptural installation (many different photographs of the mouth speaking were printed on the plates of glass and hung in the space of the white and void room). I am wondering, what art medias do you find the most effective for your expression?

All the artistic medias are suitable to me. It seems as if they come to me naturally, according to the topic I analyze. I do not feel to be bound to the painting. Why not to try to make an installation? If I had some different subjects for my diploma works, maybe I would have chosen another media.

How do you feel yourself in the world of artists? Do you think that artist live and behave somehow differently than other people do?

Artists are specific. They differ from others, let‘s say, ordinary people. For example, every viewer has to unpick the artwork in case to understand it. But when they are not able to do that, ordinary people are simply afraid of that work of art.
 Artists have the more colorful perception of the world. Miscellaneous outlook to the life and the rich expression of the personality is what refers the artist. I love to be surrounded by artists. It feels like I am in some kind of minority, as being a part of a small community.

What fields of art are you also interested in? What artists inspire you?

I am really interested in theatre and cinema. There is something in this art of performance that lets us feel the moments of the inner freedom happening. However, I am not yet sure, if I have a calling to be an actor. Sometimes artists occur to have several talents. 
 I admire Salvador Dali. He was a very powerful artist who managed to work in few different fields of art.

What does the word “authenticity” mean to you as an artist?

You cannot be always authentic, because it is hard to uncover, to show your inner world in public. You never know if the audience understands what you are saying to them through your artwork. You cannot predict what the encounter of the watcher and your artwork will be.

At the end of our talk, would you please tell me something about your plans for the future? What goals have you set for yourself?

I have many different plans. More and more plans are emerging every single day. I am a creative workaholic. I can‘t stop, as I still have dozens of ideas revolving in my mind. 
 I think I should put more effort into promotion of my art. I am going to work more on the organization of my exhibitions, so that I could show my works to the larger audience.