Dominika Grnova is a restless 20-something girl with a deeply rooted love for pastels and humans that look like animals, or maybe just the other way around. When she is not in her East London apartment getting her hands dirty with all sorts of paint, Dominika travels the world, working as a successful model for various fashion magazines and leading brands. Read as we discuss life with the artist and model herself.

When was the first time you felt the urge to create ‘art’ the way you experience it today?

It all started around the same time with modeling, at the age of 16. My first trip was in Tokyo, Japan. At the time I felt so alone and in need of an outlet- then I started transforming my feelings, fears and sadness into dark sketches, using charcoal and pastels.

You create art from a very personal perspective. Which painting says the most about you?

I think the woman on four with the pig mask on. She is coloured grey which, for me, represents everything that makes us feel powerless, without a soul, addicted to the ecstasy of this perfect life that doesn’t exist. The pig mask represents the hidden animal instinct we all have inside us. The sexuality, the roughness and the bold realities that lie in our thoughts, actions and feelings and seek to be brought into the surface. The loneliness, the fears and happiness we feel when we are just left with ourselves.

Twisted forms of humans and animals is a prominent theme in your works. What do you find so intriguing about it?

Well, we all have that animal instinct inside us, right? Most of the time when I look at somebody, I see some kind of an animal form in their face or body, even in the way they act. It is difficult to understand just how many differences and similarities we all have to animals and by mixing different forms together I get to create my own reality.

Most people recognise you from your many works as a fashion model. Which of the two roles do you find easier to ‘play’?

Modeling for me is similar to acting. It’s always about team work and I’m always the blank canvas. They get to put clothes, make up etc on me and then I pretend to be the girl they want me to be. I really enjoy having the opportunity to see myself in different styles and pretend to be someone else, even if it’s just for one day. As an artist, however, it’s the complete opposite. I am the client and I get to use a blank canvas to satisfy my own eyes.

Where are you these days? Do you feel inspired by your surroundings?

I currently live in East London which is definitely an extremely inspiring environment. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming but then again this helps me to be even more creative every time I find myself behind closed doors. Now, I’m half way from finishing my new artwork series entitled ‘Candy Floss’- a group of small canvases featuring paintings of human organs. It might sound slightly disturbing for most people but I’ve painted them in a rather dreamy and pastel way so they have a similar feeling to well .. candy floss for grown ups!

What would you like to achieve in the future with your art?

I would like to merge my modeling experience with my artistic point of view and creativity. Maybe I could work as an art director. I really haven’t decided yet but I would definitely love to start exhibiting my work soon and perhaps make a living out of it.

Photography | Yannis Tzannis
Fashion | TAG + The Ragged Priest @ AFFEKT Showroom