We interviewed Art Roof Top curator Lisa Surikova about how the gallery was established, their leading artist, and some advice that they would give to visitors. Blog contributed by Jamie Au Yeung.
Friday 30 July, 2021
We are excited to introduce Art Roof Top! Based in Hong Kong, Art Roof Top strives to teach the fundamental principles, methods, and techniques of classical art. Founder and curator of Art Roof Top Lisa Surikova talked about their chief artist, Sergei Rozhov and their journey of establishing the Art Roof Top club. For more, read on to find out about the artists they’ll be bringing to the fair, and some tips and advice as to what to expect when visiting the fair.
Hi Lisa, we’re excited to have you on board for the 2021 Affordable Art Fair! We know that Art Roof Top is a gallery, but also does other work too. Can you briefly introduce us to Art Roof Top?
We founded Art Roof Top in 2019 with a mission not only to show independent foreign artists based in Hong Kong, but also spread artistic curiosity. Other than a gallery, we offer kids and adult drawing and painting workshops. These include portraiture, still life, Plein Air, and life drawing (for adults). We believe in helping kids and adults expand their artistic horizons by teaching the fundamental principles, methods and techniques of classical art, the way they have been transmitted over the centuries since the Italian Renaissance.
Can you share with us the curatorial angle of Art Roof Top?
Two years ago we fulfilled a dream: the painter artist and art historian couple renovated a 1800-square-foot space in the center of Happy Valley and founded the Art Roof Top club for foreign artists based in Hong Kong.
Here at A.R.T., our mission is to launch artists whose names will be written in the history books tomorrow, focusing on foreign artists without other gallery representation in Hong Kong. By spotlighting these artists, we enable them to gain a platform through which they can showcase their talents and creative ideals without limitations.
Can we ask why you chose to come to Hong Kong?
Art Roof Top is located in the center of Happy Valley. We believe Hong Kong is a creative hub and strikes a perfect equilibrium of Eastern and European culture. The bridge between the two is particularly heartfelt for us as we learn and borrow from these cultures in our art-making. Being an artist in Hong Kong, this is often done without deliberate force.
How do you select artist? Do you have any principles or requirement for each artist?
Although there are no written limits of our selection process, we are quite specific with the artists we select, as they must reflect or agree with Art Roof Top’s fundamentals. We decide which artists we work with based solely on qualitative aspects. This is essential for A.R.T. to continuously grow without compromising the quality of our gallery. That said, we place great importance on discovering young artists through networking; we share the vision of A.R.T. as a hub, attracting like-minded art-lovers. And it’s because we are persistent in doing so that we have earnt an excellent reputation with artists and customers, both local and international.
Artist Sergei Rozhnov’s style varies a lot, can you describe his inspiration?
Having grown up as an athlete playing volleyball in a semi-professional team, artist Sergei Rozhnov often intertwines art with movement, vitality and the energy of life that surrounds us all. His style is rooted in Russian fundamentals from the time spent at the St. Petersburg Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, influenced by Eastern and contemporary forces. Other than sports, Sergei explores human life and its captivating relationship with technology and science.
What is Sergei’s favorite medium and theme of creativity?
Evident in his work, Sergei loves to experiment with multiple mediums – ink, oils, collages, even silicone, from his recent collection Metamorphosis, where he utilised this unconventional medium in a fluid, lively manner, communicating the irreversible integration of technology in modern society.
Sergei’s favourite medium of creativity is mixed media. His unique style of creating entails underpainting with acrylic, then finishing with layers of oil on top, thereby enjoying the advantages of each medium. Through mixed media, extra depth and dimension is added to the artwork.
Any other artists you would like to highlight at this year’s Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong?
We love to spotlight different artists that we recognise utmost potential in.
British artist John Gale, based in Hong Kong, focuses on drawing and sculpture. His work heavily emphasises human figure, movement, and thought, drawing inspiration from Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Thinker’. John explores ideas around deep thought, and expresses a modernist viewpoint on 19th century concepts. Both complex and thought-provoking, his work demonstrates the transformation of his thoughts.
Self-taught artist Seema Mathew creates work with spiritual and philosophical undertones, the many layers of human nature reflected in the layers of ink. Seema uses Chinese ink on canvas – an artistic practice she accidentally discovered and spent the next 5 years experimenting and researching. In her most recent series, Seema begins the artwork with intuitive strokes of water soluble graphite on linen paper. The painted sheets are then hand cut into panels, and adhered precisely on archival quality mount board.
What is the favorite question you would like visitors to ask?
We appreciate all questions asked by visitors as it expresses their genuine interest and fascination with our artwork. Ultimately, being inquisitive and challenging notions of the past are qualities that we aim to evoke. A question in particular we always love to hear visitors ask is about the inspiration behind particular works; often case-dependent contexts have such an influential role in the way we view the work. They bring the artwork to life, opening it up such that new details are seen and could be interpreted according to the viewer.
What advice would you give to a visitor who wants to start collecting art?
In terms of advice, developing personal taste is crucial to art collecting. Take time to research markets, trends, and art history by immersing yourself in galleries, exhibitions, and online resources. Don’t be afraid to seek help from those more familiar with the art world. Art collecting as a form of investment demands investment of your time and interest as well.
It was a pleasure interviewing Lisa Surikova, we have definitely learned much from the conversation. At the Affordable Art Fair, we completely acknowledge that acquiring personal taste is crucial to art collecting, and is something to take note of while you visit the fair. With lots more art to discover from Art Roof Top, why not follow the link below to browse their Affordable Art Fair collection?