Contemporary artist Aloyzas Smilingis-Elis

Contemporary artist Aloyzas Smilingis-Elis

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 discovered art at the age of seventeen and was so impressed that I decided to become an artist myself.
I entered Vilnius Institute of Art without any prior preparation where I have studied graphics. 
I decided to quit with graphics straight after my graduation, jus as I quitted with the current socialist methods, so I was not welcome at the exhibitions and did not have so many commissions.
My interest in painting and sculpture developed and I and started working with granite and established a bronze foundry.
Every time when I got tired from hard physical work with sculptures, I took the brush in my hands and created paintings.
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 aesthetical views.
Willem de Kooning

Artist Aloyzas Smilingis-Elis and Willem de Kooning

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 artwork 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 away the works that are difficult to let go.
I do not make sculptures 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. I am free from ambitions and illusions.
I like to paint and so I paint. Creative process is important – I 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.
This chapel was my studio in the 80's
This chapel was my studio in the 80's
I renovated the chapel-studio with my own hands
I renovated the chapel-studio with my own hands
At the studio in Uzupis in Vilnius
At the studio in Uzupis in Vilnius
Long time ago, at home with my family
Long time ago, at home with my family
Stone sculpture art was my passion in the young days
Stone sculpture art was my passion in the young days
My sculpture on the cover of the auction catalogue
My sculpture on the cover of the auction catalogue
I was among the first artists from USSR to be sold at the auction in USA
I was among the first artists from USSR to be sold at the auction in USA
Smoke break at my studio
Smoke break at my studio
With my daughter and agent Goda
With my daughter and agent Goda
Next to Silent Slide
Next to Silent Slide
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