1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #3 — Manuchar Okrostsvaridze
Who are you?
My name is Manuchar Okrostsvaridze, which is not easy to pronounce and I am an artist. I live here in Tbilisi and I work here, that’s who I am.
What makes you or made you do what you do?
I just want and need to do art. If I do not do it I feel uncomfortable. I have probably something in my mind which I want to express and share with someone.
What is your dream? Or your ambition?
I am not a dreamer. If I want to achieve something, I just try to do it and I do not expect much. My ambition? I just want to be healthy, doing my job. I want my family to be OK.
Could you tell us a childhood memory?
I was not born in a country which is now Georgia. I was born in Soviet Union. I started thinking that maybe my childhood was a bit different, but a child is a child, nothing special. I went to the kindergarten, to the school. But life in the Soviet Union was more censored, not everything was allowed, we were listening to different music. Rock music was underground. Of course we had tapes, but it was not on TV, or radios. You had to find these tapes or record for yourself. We could not get abroad, because the border was closed. We could get to other republics, like Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, or even Latvia, but it was difficult to get out of Soviet borders. We needed to be allowed to cross the border. We were watching different cartoons, Soviet cartoons, which was not bad, quality was good, but they were different, they were also censored, not everything was allowed even for kids. What I remember very well: we could not get gums, and candies, which we wanted. We liked foreign candies and gums, we could get them, but not in a shop. There were special guys who used to sell it. That was special. But everything was interesting, as they looked very mysterious for us, Soviet children. We thought of Coca-cola as something brilliant. I remember, that it was late 80s maybe, when they allowed not Coca-cola, but Pepsi and it was a great thing then, when we first tried. Not everything was bad, but we dreamed about what we did not have. Maybe Georgian lemonade was better than Pepsi, but we dreamed about it.
The art was also special in Soviet Union, it was called Social Realism. It was really not popular because it was official and you could see everywhere these pieces.
What do you do when you don't do anything?
Thinking, because I am thinking all the time, so that is what I do when I don't do anything. I always have some ideas in my mind. I always think about maybe future drawings, or future art, that’s it.
What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I do not have any favorite place in Tbilisi, expect of my home.
Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
Well, maybe, but still I do not have favorite persons and favorite places. I like thinking about Georgian people, if someone is successful, I like this, it is good. I like thinking about it. I am not sure someone inspires my art.
What inspires you?
Everything around. It maybe just a situation from my life, in the social life, maybe even politics, from relationships, anything. Very often I take inspiration from conflicts. I mean conflicts of ideas, between people or inner conflict. I think it does not matter what kind of conflict, but when it happens, it makes you think a lot. It can be origins for thinking and maybe you cannot solve this, but solution maybe in art. This piece of art maybe some way out of this conflict, which is not solved in real life, but it is solved in picture. This is interesting to me. Different things are in conflict together. It always gives me some emotions and some reasons for something.
Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Maybe not direct connection, but of course the situation influences my mood and thinking. In some way I am sure everything is in connection, so it influences. But mostly, I think Tbilisi and situations and relationships between people, social situations and social life influence me.