Jonas Balsevičius: What is photography to you?
Andrej Vasilenko: Photography, for me, is a form of expressing my personal view of the world around me.
JB: What events have shaped your creative path?
AV: After graduating from Vilnius Academy of Arts, I moved to London for 5 years. I did many different jobs there, such as washing dishes, working in a canteen, being a gardener’s assistant, a barman and finally a photographer’s assistant. Eventually, I ended up working in the photo studio as a still life photographer for online shops and, after a few years of studio work, realised that I am not as interested in studio or fashion photography as I had previously thought. I started working as a freelancer and photographing London streets in my spare time. Then I decided to come back to Vilnius.
Living abroad and coming back home shifted my view on my hometown Vilnius. That’s how This Is Vilnius project started.
JB: Can you define your work in a few words?
AV: My work is based on observation of surroundings and comparison of what we know and what we see.
JB: Do you think that art and cultural education is important, and if yes, why and what is your personal experience with it?
AV: It is important to a certain degree: it is useful to know the context and history and how it works. But there is another side to it when art becomes overly theoretical and textual. That is when it becomes boring to me. I am more of a visual, cinematographic kind of artist, so I believe there should be a good balance between the visual and the theoretical parts of artwork. But yes, you do need to be art educated to understand the rules of the game if you are in it.
Interview Project is initiated and conducted by Jonas Balsevičius, a student of art photography at the University of the Arts London, during his voluntary internship at the Lithuanian Culture Institute. In it, Jonas talks to and presents to readers six Lithuanian photographers – Geistė Marija Kinčinaitytė, Vytautas Kumža, Darius Petrulaitis, Norbert Tukaj, Andrej Vasilenko, and Justinas Vilutis.