We had the good fortune of connecting with Juri Koll and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juri, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is a part of everyday life for an artist or creative person. It provides motivation, opportunity, allows for intuition and creation, and makes life interesting.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started drawing at an early age and picked up photography in my teens, which was a challenging medium that requires discipline and dedication. I’m very proud of having had my first solo show at Cameravision at age 20, and the many artists who encouraged and taught me. Within the past year I’ve had about 60 of my photographs published in Estonia and the US in a book by Renee Meriste that’s become very well known on Amazon. I started painting in my late 20’s and am self taught, which is why my technique is different than most, and runs counter to the prevailing wisdom and practice. Most painters are taught to copy others work in order to learn technique, and I’ve never done that. Each of us is capable of unique work if we discover our true motivations. My filmmaking has always helped with my other art practices because it helps to know how others live their lives and tell their stories. It’s never been easy. Being an artist full time is very difficult, very risky and offers financial rewards in only extremely rare cases. My most recent body of work is called The Handshake Series, paintings begun in late 2018. The original subject matter has taken on greater relevance to historical events as Covid-19 become part of our lives and we can no longer shake hands and must remain at a distance with most people. My curatorial brand is the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art (ViCA), an arts organization devoted to identifying, protecting and sustaining the unique stories, history and culture of one of the most important centers of American independent artistic expression. Through its exhibitions, events, research facilities, and education curriculum, ViCA celebrates the world of art internationally, and most importantly the art and culture of Venice Beach/Southern California. Our founding in 2011 marks an ongoing commitment to our community – to present the art world from the perspective of it’s artists, writers, curators, collectors, and the art viewing public. For the past 7 years we have presented films on art and performance from around the world at our Fine Arts Film Festival. 2021 promises to be our best year ever, after showing 92 films from 27 countries in our 2020 event. We look forward to the time when we can get back in the galleries and museums once again.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d take them to Venice Beach and up the coast on PCH to Neptune’s Net for a great fresh fish dinner and a surf. I’d drive through the Santa Monica mountains, say through Topanga Canyon, and show them the views of LA that are in abundance up in the hills. I’d take them to the Getty center and the Getty Villa. We might end up having a beer and a burger at Hinano’s on Washington in Marina Del Rey or having sushi at Hama Sushi in Venice.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say the many great teachers I’ve had over the years since I was a kid, including Anthony Lovette, Edmund Teske, Gloriane Harris and so many others.