As colorful as African culture

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The graduate of Arts Academy in Lithuania, currently working as an interior designer, Donata Skorupskaite claims painting to be her big passion. Her works have brought a whiff of liveliness to the people’s homes not only in Lithuania, but also in Canada, Marrakesh, Chicago, Austria, Copenhagen and more.

I met Donata in Copenhagen in quite strange conditions – she came to my place to pick up a bike of our common friend who was away from the city so I was an intermediate in making a bike reach Donata. At that point I did not know her goal of touring in Copenhagen – a research of possible future studio and gallery for works to be exhibited. That red-haired sweet girl with a wide smile on her face was hard to forget as well as her works that I later saw. Bright, colorful, filled with emotion. I could not resist but ask, where this artistic talent comes from.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Yes. Since childhood I knew what I wanted to do. All the members of my family come from exact sciences and I was expected to follow the same path. But being the youngest and the most stubborn I confidently stepped towards completely different direction – arts.

So you were you one of the lucky ones who knew already in childhood who they wanted to become ‘when they grow up’?

I was not totally certain from the very childhood, but from adolescence - for sure. Parents advised me to go towards exact sciences, but I constantly objected to that. Even my application to Arts academy was made secretly – they got to know about it just when I had been accepted to studies.

When did you start to draw? Who or what kicked off this desire?

When I was a kid I attended various art related classes, courses and off-school activities, therefore it was not an unexpectedly occurred activity in my life. The knowledge of the field grew when I started arts gymnasium from 14 years old. Later I chose interior design studies in Arts Academy – since then everything moved towards the work with computer, therefore drawing had to be put aside without even a thought of making it reborn at some point. However, some unexpected events of my life made me come to what I am doing now.

What were those events?

I started painting three years ago when I lived in Marrakesh. There were moments when I badly missed home, friends and that accumulated to inner emotion that had to be released. A canvas has become a tool and space to do that. That’s how the first painted work was born.

Does Marrakesh and the culture or landscape of that region have influence on your works?

Yes, indeed, a lot. African motives, ornaments, the variety of colors inspired me to start painting. It activated the wish to express myself and use colors in this way. I feel exceptionally differently when I paint within this theme.

What is the purpose of your works? Impress, express, send some message, tell a story, or…?

…to make you feel in some way. Works that are purely drawn from my own fantasy naturally finds the audience whose feelings it awakes; some people find the link between the works and the moments of their personal lives, to some they provide positivism, evoke feelings of thoughtfulness or reflective moments. In my works I like to leave a space for interpretation. In the cases, when I paint for some particular person I pay attention to his or her hobbies, important moments of the life or qualities of personality. The environment he or she lives in becomes important too.

When do you usually paint? Where or when are you inspired the most?

My studio is my home. Here I have a separate area where I can concentrate and close myself from an external noise. An inspiration is the guest of the night. However, images are coming up in my head constantly, it is hard to allocate them in a specific time or place.

I saw that mostly people are featured in your works. Why? Is it what you like to paint the most?

In a very beginning I was asked to paint portraits of a few friends. Then I found the process of painting people very interesting; each face is unique and it can reveal a lot about the type of personality itself, which I also try to express in paintings.

It is indeed possible to see that your works express strong emotions. Is it somehow related with the nature of your character?

I believe the paintings cannot be set apart from the character of the painter. I look like my paintings. They are like energetic performance of who I am.

Colors. They are strong and rich in your works. Why? Does it have any connection with your passions or how you see the world?

The colors are a part of my life and they reflect my character and temperament. Besides this, artistically I find it very exciting to play with colors that are not easy to combine.

I saw just a few works in black-and-white. What were the intentions or the conditions to create those? Can your works be categorized according periods of your life?

That is a good observation. I have not categorized it to periods yet, but it actually happens naturally. In works you can notice my working evolution. But in some cases – black and white paintings do not necessary mean that life is not colorful around me. It might be just a short-term reflection of a calmer, more reflective and thoughtful phase of my life.

You work as interior designer now. Did you consider becoming a full-time artist?

I am very satisfied with current work and use of both skills - of interior designer and painter. In my case I find them easy to connect and they supplement each other. I can express myself in creating interiors and later add additional feeling with works that I paint. But I like to say – ‘never say never’. Perhaps one day painting will become my sole occupation. I have some goals for the moment that I am working on, which may result in some changes of my current course.

What’s next? It says when you tell your dreams the conditions and consequences appear on the way that help you to fulfill them. Would you share those with us?

Move and the way will open. For the moment it is a period of discovering of myself as an artist. Results that I achieve make me dream bigger. But for the moment I do not want to say it loudly. I prefer to work hard in a silence and let success to be the noise.


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