Neon art is painting based on the effect of the reflection of neon under ultraviolet light. Thanks to the illusion of the glow and 3D effect the pictures become alive. Neon painting, which is quite widespread in Europe, is represented in Azerbaijan by Farid Alakbarov, the only artist in the East so far who works in this relatively new art movement. This is a completely new technique and style, which enable a creative person to shed light on his own world of experiences.Q. You have an individual and unique style. How did you come up with the idea to work with neon paints?
A. It is the most popular question and all journalists and publications start with it. I should probably work out a press release and circulate it in advance so that I wouldn't have to repeat this again and again (laughing). It happened at the disco when I saw people wearing white shirts and this white color resonated while interacting with ultraviolet light. I started to examine how it is interconnected, found the pigments that glow under ultraviolet light and began to experiment and work with them, began to create different paints using them for fabric, for the body and stone, and in the end it all turned into an exhibition that I organized 8 years ago. After that I started working, began to offer my services, mainly such as design of children's rooms -- the effect of a starry sky. And consequently it became widespread, i.e. appeared in discos and hotels, private homes, as everyone wanted to have something glowing. Some chose the landscape, while others opted for the underwater world, but the most common and neutral plot was the starry sky.Q. What is the reason that blue shades dominate in your creations?
A. The fact that ultraviolet light itself is like blue color makes this effect, as the white color begins to glow like a bluish shade.Q. Do you specially pick your colors? It is noticeable that everything matches harmoniously...
A. I do not pick anything. Generally, when I'm working, I'm in a meditative state, sometimes I look at the work done and I cannot even remember how I created it because at the time I am creating I am, so to speak, connected to a space channel. The mind can't create anything, it merely transmits the experience of the past mistakes, and that is basically negative experience. And inspiration is a space channel of energy. When connected to it, I get ideas, plots, colors and color combinations. It does not occur to me consciously, it happens in this very meditative condition.Q. And how do you arrive at this condition?
A. I have been doing yoga for a long time. Breathing practice leads to special awareness and you begin to understand the essence of the events taking place around you. When you are in the state of awareness (this is also called the state of an observer) you can observe yourself and everything that happens to you from the outside. Thus, you are in a meditative and detached condition, which means you are not in the state of an ordinary person. A regular person is asleep; although he can go to work, communicate with children and do a lot of things, he is asleep because he does everything automatically. As a rule, people live in the past or dream about the future, without noticing the present moment where life occurs. But thanks to meditation it is possible to experience the present moment.Q. What is important for you in your work?
A. Probably everything (laughing). It is very difficult to choose anything specific. For me work is my lifestyle, a way of life, my self-fulfillment. This includes many notions. And, of course, it is the feeling I experience when I'm creating something. It is similar to what is called "God's blessing" when something very bright is bestowed upon you and it nourishes you energetically. When you are in this condition I do not want to eat or drink, you don't care for anything, you are just in some strong energy flow. Of course, this cannot happen 24 hours a day, it happens in a certain moment. Sometimes it can last an hour, sometimes three hours. Sometimes, of course, when you work at some facility, you are pressed for time and you can work under that schedule for six or seven hours, but you don't feel tired, don't feel the pressure, because there is some force that helps you.Q. When you are pressed for time, does it affect your work?
A. Absolutely not. The point is that I have been involved in art for almost 25 years and as far as the technique is concerned, it is not difficult to realize some projects if a person has already gained certain knowledge and skills over 25 years. The time issue is even exciting, you are kind of competing with yourself: every time you set an overly high goal and achieve it. And every time you raise the bar higher and higher. And every time you feel that due to consistent work your professionalism grows. So, no problem there.Q. And now, what period are you going through? Are you in search?
A. Currently I am going through an active period (laughing). I'm moving forward. I am not sure, the search occurs until the end, I think, until you die. As long as a person is in active motion, the search is underway. Well, I work on many projects, I work all the time.Q. That is, your creative work is cyclical or are you consistently on the same wave?
A. Probably it is stable. I just have the opportunity to hone the technique and to achieve new levels. When you work a lot, as pianists do, your hard work gives you the practice and every time you grasp the technique better and better, so, this is the period I am having now.Q. How did you become involved in art?
A. I was born to a painter's family. My father was a sculptor and my brother is a painter, I grew up around people like that, so, my choice was predetermined. When I was three I was painting on building entrance halls and on wallpaper.Q. Have you experimented with ceramics?
A. No, I haven't done that, I just painted on finished pitchers, they were not my own pitchers, just pots and jugs. This was just a way of experimenting. I work with fabric and do body art as well, that is, I do everything that could be associated with art. I also do theater decorations, for example, I've done those in the Russian drama theater, in the Azerbaijani drama theater. I am interested in anything where my work can be useful.Q. Have you had an experience of working with other artists?
A. I always work with my students, graduates of our Academy (Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts) who regularly help me with my projects.Q. Would you like to work with other well-known artists?
A. If offers are made, I can always say 'yes', why not?Q. How does the public perceive you?
A. My most large-scale exhibition was held at the Jale Plaza one and a half years ago, and there were really mystical conditions for my exhibition, because everything there was submerged in ultraviolet, there were no sources of light, and I completely painted the premises occupying 900 square meters and I put my works on display there. They were made in black threads and were invisible as if they were hanging in the air. And due to this effect -- plus the music and dancers painted with the ultraviolet -- the audience was shocked. When they came out they were all fascinated and thanked me. There were 1,000 people, and that was a whole lot. People are generally interested in everything unusual, anything that deviates from the standards.