Artist Spotlight: Khatia Esartia

EuropeNow Can you tell us a little about yourself and about the kind of art you create?

Khatia Esartia I am a Georgian born, Soviet raised, currently residing in the United States, multimedia artist. My roots are in watercolor and oil painting although, recently, I have moved into the sphere of video, photography and performance art.

EuropeNow What about your primary medium do you like best?

Khatia Esartia My primary medium is still watercolor. I base most of my work on its properties. What I like about it and what I found to be also most frustrating to others, is the combination of speed with which the artist has to execute the works, the control which is crucial in manipulating the image and the fact that there is nowhere to hide a mistake. I tend to spend most of my time sketching, thinking and planing the work, because the actual act of painting is very quick and needs to be rather precise.

EuropeNow Can you tell us about your creative process?

Khatia Esartia There is a lot of reading and listening and watching involved. I tend to use my smart phone for gathering images and ideas on the streets rather than for its main function. I pour through my sketchbooks and phone images and notes I have taken from news, books, etc. I come up with an idea. The physical process starts with me circling my desk/floor space for two days just thinking and plotting and on day three I start the process of physical work.

EuropeNow Can you tell us a little about the piece you donated for this auction?

Khatia Esartia The piece I donated to the auction “Strange fruit” is the earlier piece in the series I based on the the fruit trees from my garden in Gagra. I paint them from memory as Gagra is part of an illegally occupied territory of Georgia by Russia. Most of the backyard has been destroyed and our home, like many other homes, was looted and burned. In the garden one of my least favorite trees was a pear tree and I started with painting the series with it, as the memories can sometimes be overwhelming and I thought it would be better to start with the simplest, least emotional memory. I was very wrong, by the way, all memories are powerful, no matter the fruit.

EuropeNow Was there a single moment when you decided to pursue your passion for art?

Khatia Esartia My name means “painted” so you could say I was born this way.

EuropeNow Who is your favorite artist and why?

Khatia Esartia Honestly, they change. My taste changes as I grow and continue to learn, but there are a few artists I am still fascinated by. Marcel Duchamp has been a constant source of inspiration. Robert Motherwell for his prints, Mathew Barney for Cremaster series that left a huge imprint on my imagination, Sam Taylor-Wood’s (before she became Taylor-Johnson) fantastic photography. Pretty much anything by Sarah Sze and Roberto Matta. There are a lot more lesser known artists, but the list is too long to include.


Khatia Esartia

Lillian Klein is the programs coordinator at the Council for European Studies. She holds a B.A. in literature with a minor in religious studies from Barnard College, as well as an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University. Previously, Lillian assisted in the Memberships, Programs, and Awards Department at PEN America Center. She also served as a teaching fellow at Paris American Academy’s writing program for two consecutive summers.

Christie’s Education (CE) New York has entered into a collaborative partnership with the Council for European Studies at Columbia University (CES). A first joint project is a forthcoming online auction, the proceeds of which will be used to create a new scholarship to be awarded to a CES-CE applicant. The featured work in this article has been donated to the online auction, which will take place in December 2017.


Published on September 21, 2017.


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