Aloyzas Smilingis

The Artist

I was born in a village and had no relation to professional art in my childhood, although my artistic abilities appeared at an early age. I saw my first painting at the age of seventeen and was so impressed that I decided to become an artist.

I entered Vilnius Institute of Art without any prior preparation where I have studied graphics. I quitted graphics straight after my graduation as well as I quitted with the current socialist methods, so I was not welcome at the exhibitions and did not have so many commissions.

I was interested in painting and sculpture. I started working with granite, established a bronze foundry for sculptures. Every time when I got tired from, I took the brush in my hands and created paintings simultaneously.

Artistic ideas are more important than dependence on some workshop of faithfulness to one genre or style. I am not keen on reproducing myself. My thinking is changing and so does my art. I remain self-critical and walk on.

After collapse of the Soviet Union I had a chance to visit the West and get acquainted with the collections in best museums of New York, Amsterdam, London and meet famous artists. This had a great effect on my esthetical views.

Meeting Willem de Kooning was the most impressive event. His abstractions were a big discovery for me as well as the artists personality – without any arrogance. I visited his studio in East Hampton, NY. We were talking over the glass of wine and I asked him, what did the fame bring and what was it like to become the only alive artist whose work was sold for 20 million USD. This modest man replied that in fact, nothing change, only now he can afford better paint and good wine.

I understood that the value of art does not depend on the number of exhibitions, nor prestigious projects, critics or curators. It is not my problem where my piece will be hanging and who will be showing it in some exhibition after a hundred years. That is why I don’t go out in the public and don’t waste my energy preparing for shows and projects. People who are interested in my art find me and sometimes take  the works that are difficult to let go.

Aloyzas Smilingis & Willem de Kooning

I do not make sculpture anymore, because my understanding of sculpture as the art of spaces, that requires certain size and strong materials, requires large financial budgets. Several large pieces were created and others are only ideas, because I understood that sculpture should not be considered seriously. I am free from ambitions and illusions.

I like to paint and so I paint. Creative process is important – dive and jazz with the colours… This is very personal, it is my inner life, my passion.

I am a free artist and always have been.