Interview with street art aficionado Kristina Kurilaitė4 min read
Kristina Kurilaitė is a street art blogger and editor of Gatvės meno galerija, a web publication about street art in Lithuania. Kristina opens up about her favorite artists, the best places to spot street art in her home country, and more in this exciting interview!
Hi Kristina! What got you interested in blogging about street art in Vilnius?
I live in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania. I started taking pictures of murals and sharing my collection with the rest of the world. In 2019, my art blog grew into a street art magazine! My interest in this kind of art began in 2013 when I found out about the Vilnius street art festival and participated in some of the festival events. It was a great opportunity to meet artists from foreign countries and see their art in my homeland. I enjoy long walks and taking pictures of new artworks and every photo goes into my art photo collection.
Artist – Ernest Zacharevič. Location – Open Gallery Vilnius.
What makes street art in Vilnius different from the rest of the world? Or the rest of the country?
Although Vilnius is more known for its Old Town and Baroque architecture, there are places filled with extraordinary art — you’ll be surprised when you discover these hidden gems.
There are two great places, filled with street art, which I suggest visiting in Vilnius: Open Gallery and Republic of Užupis.
Open Gallery is the first and only unique international street art gallery in Vilnius under the open sky, open all year round to large and small lovers of alternative impressions. The gallery exhibits colorful drawings by Lithuanian and foreign artists on factory walls, impressive large-scale light installations, and sculptures. It is an ongoing project, which is supplemented every year by new long-term works and installations.
Užupis is a tiny republic of artists and free spirits. Located within Vilnius, Užupis is one of the smallest republics in the world. Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. As the home of artists, Užupis has become well known for its colorful street art.
Artist – Millo. Location – Vilnius.
In getting deeper and deeper into street blogging, have you come in contact with some new artists? Share some of your favorites with us.
Yes, I do interviews with Lithuanian artists for my magazine. I recommend following on Instagram these amazing artists: Morfai, Tadas Vincaitis-Plūgas, Gyva Grafika, Etto Ja, Linas Kaziulionis, and Pijus Čeikauskas.
You released your first issue of a street art magazine named Gatvės meno galerija (Street art gallery in Lithuanian) in July of 2019. Congratulations! Can you talk about how you assembled a team and how everyone came to be a part of it?
At first, I started publishing online street art magazines on my own as a part of my hobby. It is a niche that hasn’t been covered in Lithuania yet so I believed that I could create a free magazine about it and help urban artists become more recognized. Today I have a team of volunteers who write articles together with me and a professional designer who creates a design for issues. I met my team on social media. One day I just posted that I am looking for people who would like to write about urban art and now I’m happy that I found these people who believe in my project.
Artist – Marija Tiurina. Location – Open Gallery Vilnius
Magazine “Gatvės meno galerija” takes the form of short editorials and features. Spotlight some of your favorite features from your first edition.
I began writing articles for the first magazine’s issue after a trip to Berlin. For me Berlin is a stunning street art capital which I want to visit again and again! In my first issue of the magazine, I wrote about Urban Nation Berlin – an urban art museum in Berlin. Also in 2019, I’ve visited Marijampolė, Lithuania where I participated in the urban art festival “Malonny”. This experience inspired me to write more about street art events.
Today our magazine team keeps writing about Lithuanian artists and urban art in the world. For example, one of my teammates has been to Seoul, so she wrote about street art in this city. We always want to show the big picture of the amazing, colorful world of street art.
Artist – Povilas Kupčinskas [Povas on fire]. Location – Open Gallery Vilnius