Six questions for
Eike Eplik

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Eike Eplik.

Artist Eike Eplik
Lives in Tartu, Estonia

How do you describe your own art practice?

Mostly, there’s a certain feeling, sentence, or something that resonates with me and compels me to develop it further. I jot down that thought, sketch out whatever comes to mind, and see where it leads. Sometimes a specific idea emerges for an installation or exhibition, or there’s just a strong need to go to the studio and start creating something immediately, and from that something new can evolve.

The working process is rather intuitive. I often work directly with the material, enjoying the tactile sensation and thinking with my hands, so to speak. Things and ideas develop best when you start bringing them to life, letting the process guide you to places you might never reach otherwise.

Sometimes it feels like art is my game, and I’m still playing the same game I played as a child, but it evolves with me constantly. I’ve never stopped.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

I don’t explicitly ask questions or pose problems. I’m more sensory and playful, aiming to create something that allows the viewer to recognize, find connections, relate, or simply enjoy the visual play.

Themes are mostly related to nature and humanity, drawing attention to what I consider valuable.

What was your first experience with art?

I was a country child and played a lot outdoors. I used anything I found for games. In the stone fence, I had caves where characters made of sticks and plant parts lived. An old tar barrel served as a hangout spot for my brother and me, furnished with wooden crates and other handy items. In the sandbox, we built forts, and by the pond, we tried to catch tritons, imagining them as dragons. The entire surroundings were familiar, and everywhere could happen some art-related activity; games were imaginative and often long-lasting. I remember building a whole household with people and animals from leftover wood scraps one summer. I played with my brother often, but most of the time, I had to figure out things on my own and find activities, as we didn’t have close neighbors to play with. This positively influenced the development of creativity. In summer, I played and built outdoors, and in winter, I did a lot of crafts indoors. I always enjoyed working with materials and drawing. My brother and I also recorded audio plays and formed a band; he’s a musician now and I became an artist.

The first consciously art-related experience I vividly remember is when my brother and I, maybe around 6-8 years old, created a gallery in our backyard. We found a bag of clay in the garage and made various figurines from it. Somehow, the idea came to make an exhibition out of them in the abandoned chick house, an unusual lantern-shaped glass garden house that my father built in our backyard. It was a commercial gallery, as we thought of prices for the works and asked for admission at the door. We invited neighbors and relatives to visit our gallery. I recall my aunt buying one of my mermaid sculptures and displaying it in her sectional cupboard for years.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

The greatest is undoubtedly nature, with its diversity, completeness, and abundance of forms. Nature always surprises me with something, and everything within it is in constant flux, interconnected, and nothing is simply good or bad. Duality in everything is a significant driving force for me. Generally, strange moments in everyday life, literature, music, and other artists also inspire me.

What do you need in order to create your work?

When starting a new piece, I need the opportunity to be alone and focused. I prefer to work alone and mostly I have the opportunity to do so. However, if I already know what I want to do, I can do some things practically everywhere.

Being an artist working with materials, I, of course, need basic tools and materials. But the material does not always have to be pure raw material, sometimes it is good to recycle materials or collect them from nature.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

The last time I was surprised was a painting by Angela Maasalu that I saw on Instagram a few days ago. The name of the painting was “Tender night”. Her works often touch me.

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