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In the ever-evolving landscape of creativity, Arthur Tselishchev stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities that emerge when one fearlessly ventures across diverse disciplines. From the glittering runways of New York to the vibrant beats of Manila's nightclubs, Arthur Tselishchev has carved a unique path that seamlessly weaves together interior design, modeling, photography, painting, and DJing. In this exclusive interview, Arthur Tselishchev shares the inspirations, experiences, and invaluable lessons that have shaped a career as varied and dynamic as the artist himself.

Your career spans a remarkable range of disciplines – from interior design to DJing. Can you share with us what initially sparked your interest in these diverse fields and how you began your journey in each of them?

I always have had big dreams and inspired by big names from various industries. Also ever since I started working in different countries I have always had this fear to loose time, I guess that’s why I try to be as productive and efficient as I can, cuz you never know what’s tomorrow or even next moment. But speaking of the fields, I always was into art, in different aspects. Back in school I was in theater enjoying playing different characters from the stage; I loved music since my parents brought me to the night club where they had a fashion show when I was 7 y.o. and I danced the night away with the girl I had a biggest crush on that time; I always had interest in art, from the time when I was late to kindergarten drawing on the wallpapers to international art competitions, making my exhibits and sharing my knowledge to others through workshops; and I always liked nice spaces, ever since I started traveling I’d observe different styles of the hotels, stores, airports as well as cultural aspect of every country I go to.

Throughout your extensive travels and work in cities like New York, Seoul, Singapore and Shanghai, what cultures or experiences have most profoundly influenced your artistic and design sensibilities?

I really think it’s modeling which gave me these great opportunities to meet incredibly talented people and opened so many doors to explore all the fields I love working in. I can’t really say which city influenced me the most, because every city and place left the mark in my heart and taught me something. But I know for sure that if not my first modeling experience in New York when I was 20 y.o. than I wouldn’t be where I am now. Long story short, during my time in NYC I met Karen Lee, legendary scouter, co-judge at America’s Next Top Model. She gave me so much lessons in terms of career and life in general. She advised me to explore Asian market, build my portfolio and name over there since that time Asia was already place to be where all big brands and publications are blooming. So I went to Shanghai shortly after I graduated from my university in Ukraine and got my Interior Architecture and Design diploma. Then I got another contract in Bangkok, then Seoul, Taipei, Singapore. And then I came to Manila, place which I call home for the last 8 years. Philippines really got my heart and I can really tell influenced me in so many ways. I met so many talented and creative people who either inspired me to create or even shaped me up in a way. After doing modeling full time for 6 years I realized that I wanted to do something different, perhaps same industry but with another angle. So I was doing fashion photography for magazines, brands, malls and designers; then I learned Djing so I’d perform in the clubs and events; then I was invited to be a trainer in the animation company so I became an art teacher. By that time I always felt like I got full of modeling and fashion in general so I was thinking of the ways out of it. But I guess fashion didn’t want to let me go just yet. Then I was invited to become a Creative Director of one of the local Fashion Weeks here in the Philippines. Was such an incredible experience for me to work with so many creative people and to see the output on such a global level. Then I would still be doing some campaigns and TV commercials and teaching in Modeling School time to time.

How do you see the unique characteristics of Filipino culture influencing your creative decisions and projects? And how has your connection to the Philippines shaped your perspective on art, design, and fashion?

I really admire Filipino culture, people and traditions. It influencing me every day in many aspects. My first major project with Filipino culture was in collaboration with my friend and fashion designer Ditta Sandico. We wanted to create a documentary featuring weaving process of Hanuno Mangyans of Mindoro. I felt so lucky to go to their villages, speak to them, learn about their craft and support them. It’s always been my dream ever since I’d watch National Geographic and then after some time I released a documentary which was shown in Royal Textile Symposium in Kuala Lumpur and is showing now in the National Museum of the Philippines.

Also for the last 2 years I have been working on a series of painting featuring strong women of indigenous communities for my next exhibit. So this process allows me to learn more and more about Filipino culture, history, vibrant traditions and heritage. I am sure I have some sort of magnetism to the Philippines, because it’s only here I’m always full of inspiration, energy and desire to create.

As someone deeply immersed in both the art and fashion worlds, how do you see these two realms interacting and influencing each other, particularly in your work?

In my own perspective it’s still one thing. I don’t distinguish one from another, I just see them as different tools to create. So for example, I love to do photography, due to my modeling background I find it natural for me to shoot fashion. Of course I can do other genres, like portraits, architecture, commercial, fine art but fashion photography would be something what my eye was trained for years and I’m sure your taste develops with exposure. Plus it’s easier for me to get the brief from the client/designer/brand and deliver it to the model and other members of the team.

And in my paintings, I like bodies, faces and ethnicity. Lately I hear from people more and more that my subjects looks like models. Honestly it is never my intention, to paint only models, but I guess that’s just my lifestyle and subconsciously it somehow dictates the look.

Your photography is renowned for its distinct style and creativity. What is your philosophy or approach when capturing images, and what do you aim to convey through your photography?

I appreciate the complement. I started photography because I was always surrounded by models and designers at a young age. My parents opened “Image Center Model Management” in Ukraine when I was 6 y.o. and I happened to be their first model, so I had no choice. Eventually most of my friends were from the same industry and I had this desire to capture them on camera. So I bought my first used DSLR camera and started to shoot everything, I’m still ashamed of photos I used to take when I was starting, especially the was I was editing it, but all of that was just learning experience. Thanks to the agency of my family I had access to all models, so I kept on organizing my shoots just to build my portfolio and get better in this field. Every year the shoots would be more complicated, I always loved to experiment with lights. Some photo studios I used to rent were afraid of my shoots because they knew they had to pull out all studio lights they have cuz I would use all of them. Then I was trying to do shoots out of town and sometimes out of country and that was the time I started to get clients in the face of not only models building their portfolios, but designers, brands and magazines.

Speaking of philosophy in photography, I love doing test shoots when I have time. Test shoots is the process of making photographs of the model showing specifically the beauty of the model, normally natural beauty of the model without so much of a styling and makeup. These photos are being used in models book and that’s how they are selected for internationals contracts. So in such shoots I love working with new faces developing their new looks, characters and styles. It is really exciting to see growth and metamorphosis of young girl or boy into a future star or top model.

When I shoot campaigns, of course I have to focus more on clothes and show the pieces in the best “light” delivering the message to the audience or market the brand or designer is catering to. For the editorial shoots, I always think of the story which you need to convey to the reader. I like when viewer can read between the lines and message isn’t always straight forward.

Interesting correlation between art and editorial photography I find. I think they have to make viewer think and ask questions. So it is not just about creating a pretty image or capturing moment in time. It’s about creating new worlds or stories.

Teaching is a significant part of your career. What do you find most rewarding about mentoring aspiring artists and photographers, and how has teaching influenced your own creative process?

I started teaching when I was 14 y.o., I was teaching male models in the modeling school back home in Ukraine. Then after 10 years I was teaching fine art in different schools in Manila, and lately I give workshops to the students at National Museum of Fine Art. So I guess sharing my experience and knowledge is my other passion. I never really wanted to be a teacher, but to think of it, teaching gives me so much joy. First, because I love seeing students learning, growing and becoming better, and second I learn so much from my students too. For example, when I have an Academic Drawing class with 20 students and we are drawing figure. Possibly I’ll see 20 or mistakes they are doing and I’ll apply it on myself too without me working on 20 drawings. So teaching trains me somehow too. But seeing your student getting better than you is priceless feeling.

Your role as a DJ adds another layer to your creative persona. How do you blend your artistic sensibilities into your music, and what do you enjoy most about DJing at various events and venues?

Music is also art, just in another dimension. I was always passionate about music, to the point that I can’t leave without it. From driving around, to working out, making love, cooking and painting.

I tried Djing in Manila after taking some lessons from Djing schools and my friends Djs and immediately fell in love with it. I started from spinning in the night clubs in Manila, then was going around the country doing some big events. But then I had to stop Djing for a while due to Covid-19 because there were no events out there, now all events are back but I didn’t get back to Djing since realized I’m not comfortable spinning on events while there’s war in Ukraine. So I told myself that I will get back to it after Ukrainian victory. In the meantime I’m focusing on other fields as well as initiatives to support my country.

But going back, best part of Djing is to see the crowd jumping on the dance floor and genuinely enjoying your beats with smile on their faces.

As an artist known for your oil paintings and figure drawings, how do you continuously evolve and challenge yourself in these traditional mediums? Are there any new styles or media you are currently exploring?

Of course, there are so many mediums and styles out there. I started from charcoal, ink and watercolor – these were the tools of my comfort zone. I did sculpture back in the days as well, digital art is also very exciting for me. But my biggest passion in visual art is oil painting. I love exploring new techniques getting inspiration from old masters blending it with contemporary approaches. There are so many ideas in my head now, I just really wish there was more than 24 hours in a day.

Looking back on your diverse career, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned? Additionally, what future projects or ambitions are you most excited about in the coming years?

Never stop learning and evolving. Sometimes it might feels like you know or achieved a lot already, but there is always more. Also I recently learned that no matter how much your art appreciated it can’t always be perfect and please everyone. You just gotta stay grounded and focus on your ideas without over analyzing factors such market, value and demand. Art is a very tricky field and in this time and age it’s not easy to stand out. But genuine and unique art always will be appreciated.

I’m that type of person who doesn’t like disclose the plans ahead of time. I have a lot of ideas for future projects and will be very happy to share with you when it happens.

How do you see the role of innovation in the fashion industry evolving, and what do you believe is the future of creative expression in this dynamic field?

Fashion world is really so dynamic and vibrant. Trends are changing so rapidly, hence there’s a culture of fast fashion. But there are so many talented guys revolutionizing approach to cloth and styling. I hope we, humans, will be more cautious choosing the materials for the things we wear and would be more responsible to our land.

I think it is very exciting time with new materials and technologies these days. Also trends in presentation of the collections are mind blowing, from all the live shows and digital runways with avatars to my favorite runways in fashion capitals where the show looks like a movie (Burberry, Saint Laurent, Celine) or theater performance (Maison Margiela by John Galliano, Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens).

Finally, for those inspired by your journey and wishing to pursue multiple creative paths, what advice would you offer about balancing and nurturing diverse talents and interests?

Keep on growing and exposing yourself to as many fields as you can, you never know what you might like tomorrow and you might become next genius in some areas. Also don’t give up when success seems unreachable, it will come if you are are consistent, dedicated and true to yourself. And lastly enjoy the ride and just play, don’t take life too seriously focusing only on an end result. Journey could be as fun as the destination.


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