Being an artist requires many things, but knowledge and sacrifice are particularly key. In our age of options, focussed specialism can wane to multidisciplinary generalisation. Not so, however, for artist Karlis Bogustovs, who possesses the power to instinctively and skilfully transform his feelings into art through many forms of expression.
Graduating from the Academy of Lalvia, Bogustovs is now a sculptor, a graphic designer, a painter, a photographer – even an adrenaline skater – who explores new and exciting ways to bring our everyday surroundings to life.
Speaking with Bogustovs, he tells me how one of his latest pieces, a glass piano entitled The Sound of Arcitecture, seeks to translate the sensational feeling born from combining music with art. Taking months to complete, the piano was placed in Canary Warf, joining the city of London’s host of unique attractions.
Giulia Catani: What initially inspired you to build a piano? Why did you choose to create it using glass?
Karlis Bogustovs: Music is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me. Piano music especially, has such great strength. I’m a glass art student at the moment and I love the technique involved. So when I saw a call out for artists to build pianos for Canary Wharf, everything came together instantly.
GC: How have people interacted and responded to it?
KB: People were truly amazed; it really pulled people towards it. A few days after it was unveiled, some drunks vandalised it pretty bad, leaving some of the keys missing. Fortunately, the piano found a new home in Canada One Place - where I managed to mend it as much as I could. The people from the building liked it so much that they wanted to keep it there for good. Now the piano is on sale, and it would be great to find a new house for it or a new public space.
GC: What message do you hope to portray through this piece of musical architecture?
KB: That architecture is like music; each building is like a song. Look at the way in which architecture is built - with all the drawings, models, plans, maps, rules, timetables, people, investors – it involves many players, just like a musical composition. Or, if we look at their functions, as the people go in and out, up and down, what sounds do they make or experience? I wanted people to become aware of the melody of their surroundings.
GC: Is this indicative of what usually inspires you as an artist?
KB: I come from a family of artists. Being creative is just how I am – life inspires me. The more vitality I see, the more it urges me to express it. I try to make beautiful things, with care and patience, because from my point of view, patience is something we lack these days. My goal is to slow down a person in a rush and give them a sense of wonder.
GC: What advice would you give to other artists looking to embrace their own aesthetic?
KB: The only thing I can recommend is to be yourself. I know it can bring trouble and uneasy situations to everyday life, but in time you learn not to care. Where better to look for your own aesthetic than in your own being?
Words: Giulia Catani
Photography: Karlis Bogustovs