Alexey Kondakov’s Funny Digital Collages Are Your Life as Romantic Art Last time you walked ‘round art galleries of classical and romantic art, did you ever notice that all those centuries-old paintings could be the punchline of funny, self-contained jokes? Probably not. But then you’re not Alexey Kondakov, the Ukraine-based artist who supplants characters from romantic art onto modern-day settings. Since the last time we spoke to him, Alexey has continued to be loved and appreciated on Instagram – and seen his following exceed 50 thousand. We caught up with the artist about what goes on behind the scenes of his ongoing project and more. THE PLUS: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since we last spoke? Alexey Kondakov: I quit my office job, rented a studio in a centre of Kiev and am now focusing on my own artistic and design projects. TP: How do you think humans today compare to humans from classical times, character-wise? AK: Now life is much easier and faster. I don’t know how it possible to compare it. I think than now is some kind of Digital Medieval and humans of future will describe us like some kind of savages of technology era. TP: What’s the creative process behind your work – do you choose a scene first or a painting? AK: Both ways, sometime I have painting first and then keep scene in my mind while I walking around the city. Now I try moor to follow one concept to produce series addressed to one topic. TP: Have any art historians given you their opinions on your work? What have they said? AK: No. But a lot of student write me that they are making some projects or researches about me and my works. So I hope I made some influence on art history. TP: What do you like about the contemporary art world – and is there anything you’re not so fond of? AK: Well, now I see art world as a show business and that’s great. Art has become not only a kind of exhibition, but a kind of show and you may do it as you wish and in any way you can suggest. Movies, music, web, photo, painting and of course all of this at the same time. TP: How’s life in Kiev? Have you been exploring other cities in your works? AK: Life here is good! You must have heard that a lot of advertising and video clips are filmed in Kiev and Ukraine as well. We have a lot of creative minds and you may produce you creative projects here cheaper but with great quality! TP: Collage has become quite a zeitgeisty area of art recently – what is it all about for you? AK: Great if something become trendy, but I’m not sure that it make a big sense for me. It may make more sense for someone who searching for some ways to express himself. Or for someone who wants to buy some art and now he know that collages are zeitgeisty area of art. TP: You said in our previous interview that satire always has a place in art. What is it for you that makes an artwork (whether yours or someone else’s) funny? AK: Self-irony is a health of human mind. Art is something subjective and I think if it contains some self-irony and humour, people easier can find something personal in this. Of course if society is healthy, because we know a lot of historical examples when society without self-irony was offended, and did not accept the ways of art to depict problems with some sense humour. TP: You’ve been making works for this series for some time now – what would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned from the project? AK: I found out more new about art world, how to run projects. Will show it soon, I hope. TP: What do you like doing, outside making art? AK: Some design projects. And of course traveling! And I added some sport to my life – that definitely makes me feel better.