Interview with the artist: Jurgi Ta

Interview with the artist: Jurgi Ta

Known locally as Jurgi Ta, Jurgita Krukauskaitė is an ambitious artist teeming with ideas. For Elf Bread & The Artists Present: Creative Challenge collaboration, she painted a striking portrait of a woman’s face on the belt bag. She enjoyed the challenge of working with a new canvas and stretching her creativity.

Elf Bread: The portrait you painted on the belt bag has made a really stand-out feature. We love it! When did you start making this kind of art?

Jurgi Ta: I discovered painting quite unexpectedly, about four or five years ago. I was going through a rough period of my life and I was looking for a new hobby that would offer me an escape. This is how I found myself with the Gataveckai brothers, who introduced me to the subtleties of academic drawing. I became fascinated by portraits – both in drawing and photography. When I wanted to take a break from meticulous, detail-focused pencil work, I would grab a paintbrush and paint with large, bold strokes on canvas or textile. During the quarantine, I started experimenting with another painting technique, very close to realistic pencil drawing, and now it’s one of my favorites. I love to draw people’s faces and convey their different emotions.

EB: Have you painted on clothes or accessories before this project? If so, when?

JT: For more than 10 years I worked in the fashion industry – as a model, a saleswoman, a stylist, and a marketing expert. I enjoy dressing stylishly and have always expressed my individual style since I was a teenager. Painting on clothes, shoes, and handbags came from my inner desire to stand out from the crowd, to let the world know who I am and how I feel on a particular day. When I couldn’t find the right clothes in my closet to reflect my mood for the day, I would simply pick up a t-shirt or a suit, paint on it, and walk out into the street. And now there’s another thing: despite an overwhelming amount of fashion being produced, there is still a lack of that ‘outstanding uniqueness’ in stores so painting on clothes allows me and the people who wear my works to be themselves. Clothes act as a person’s business card. You can tell a lot about someone before you even talk to them.

EB: Did you enjoy working with leather for this project? We can see it turned out pretty well...

JT: Working on leather is nice because its texture is solid and slippery, making the strokes soft and smooth. The choice of painting techniques is limited compared to working on textile or canvas, so before painting on the Elf Bread bag I had to prepare – to think not only about the drawing itself, its composition and position on the belt bag, but also to choose the right painting technique.

EB: Interesting. Can you explain more about this – what techniques would you usually use on canvas and fabric that you can’t use on leather?

JT: On fabric, I can use a watercolor technique, whereas on leather I can’t get the same beautiful effect. I’d be left with a runny puddle! On leather, I can draw smooth fine lines, make uniform strokes, which is more difficult to do on the fabric since it’s woven - the threads in the fabric are laid out vertically and horizontally. This is all part of the fun, though: selecting different materials, experimenting, and processing them differently. With new materials, you discover new possibilities and new techniques.

EB: And finally, where or how do you get inspiration? What drives your creativity?

JT: Creativity for me is meditation and self-realization. Sometimes beautiful and sweet drawings are born, and sometimes disturbing, maybe even unpleasant ones. I would not single out one main theme or branch in my work because, like many, I am still trying out new things and searching. But as I have mentioned before, I really like to explore different people's emotions in my work and catch the viewer’s attention through them, and I also like ‘imperfection’  – if a person's face is symmetrical, then my drawing will definitely have crooked teeth or a large gap between the teeth. I consider a person the most beautiful when their flaws and advantages are seen as one. Humans are so beautiful by nature. For me, it’s an absolute balance.

You can order Jurgi Ta's creation for Elf Bread & The Artists Present: Creative Challenge collaboration here. 

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