In our ATAS Artist Spotlight series, we take a deeper dive into our artists through their work and the creative process and stories behind them.
Tima Aflitunov is a Baltimore-based artist known for his socially responsible and concept driven digital illustrations. His artwork is often influenced by ideas and concepts. When Tima is not drawing, he enjoys writing, languages, history, and science. Tima believes that “you create your own purpose in life” and has written a poem about this “huge” question of our purpose in life (You can read Tima’s illustrated poems here).
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
“I think art therapy done and taught properly can become more than just a tool, it can function as a voice for those who have lost language”
What is your creative process?
Tima: Imagine and create.
Which one of your works is your favorite?
Tima: I don’t have a favorite. I look at art as a language and I don’t have one specific favorite thing to talk about, it’s like saying one social or human rights issue is more important than the other. However, if I had to choose, it would be about identity disorientation and remains.
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
Tima: It wouldn’t be a place, rather a time. A time of the first modern homo sapiens.
What is your favorite piece of artwork that is not your own?
Tima: The Venus sculptures and ancient art, such as Venus of Berekhat Ram (230,000–700,000 BC).
What do you listen to while you work?
Tima: I usually listen to audiobooks when I work, especially if I’m doing something big and systematic like murals. At my job, when I do graphic design work, I usually play either Japanese Future Jazz, like Yoko Kano and the Seatbelts, Japanese or Universal Chill Hop like Nujabes, or classical music like Spanish guitar.
Why did you decide to become an ATAS artist?
Tima: As an immigrant in a foreign country, language can become a huge barrier between yourself and your dreams and goals. Less so as you become more integrated. I solidified my interest in art, when I realized, though I am able to speak four languages, linguistics alone are too limited to be able to express ideas, emotions and concepts, which are not written in letters or characters as they are felt, conceived or manifested. Our thoughts, emotions, sensations, memories, and experiences are the things that define and identify us. Alzheimer’s disease is like your mind and nervous system being an immigrant in your own body but it, the body, becoming progressively more foreign.
I think art therapy done and taught properly can become more than just a tool, it can function as a voice for those who have lost language.