A cultural provocateur, an author, an lecturer, an activist, an agent for some of the brightest contemporary Russian designers, a consultant for international luxury brands operating in Russia and a restless creator, Victoria Katamidze-Verdun is the proof creatives minds conquer it all. She comes from a family of rich intellectual background. With famous artists as grandparents, a journalist as a father and an interior designer as a mother, Vika grew in an environment where arts, education and beauty shaped her personality. While her family combines the traditions of Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Jews and Tatars, she is passionately celebrating diversity and has a soft spot for the Russian culture. Her latest project on rediscovering the beauty of the country’s folklore is the living proof.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Different things can make me happy. When I see acts of goodness and help in society, the love and mercy of people in relation to each other, animals and the planet. When I see works of art by great masters and when I travel, discovering new countries and cities. My family, friends and my dogs and cats that wake me up every morning. And of course my work. When I’m on the photo set and see the result of my creative endeavor.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
I always loved beauty in all its manifestations. I wrote my first poem at the age of 6 on my mother’s birthday. At the age of 7, I invented and wrote different tales and stories. And at 10, I staged a mini-performance and started taking photos on Polaroid. I think all these hobbies made me a journalist, creative producer and author of various art projects.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Fine art and music. Two unique areas where I could and can fantasize and create my own worlds, heroes, stories, inspired by the masterpieces of world culture.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Hard to tell, since my projects are like my children and I can’t love some of them more than the others.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
There were many. One of them is “Gods of Olympus” project, in which the stars of Russian sports, cinema and show business took part. We shot this project for about two months in Greece and unique costumes were created for it – over 30 kilograms of metal and leather clothing items, to be more precise. This project was very spectacular and we created it for the Grekotel Company, a luxury hotel chain. Through this project I realized my childhood dream to make a story about ancient Greece, because I was fond of Greek myths and legends.
THE BEST THING ABOUT RUSSIAN CREATIVITY IS
We can create amazing things from nothing, without any budgets and great opportunities. This is our uniqueness.
BEST STATEMENT OF RUSSIAN HUMOR
If a Russian is angry, he will say “I will show you Kuzka’s mother”! Which means “your actions will have repercussions and I will act accordingly”. Why the mother of some Kuzka is brought in the matter, not a single Russian plainly knows. And what is so terrible about him and even more terrible about his mother, no one has a clue. And this is very funny.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO RUSSIAN CREATIVES
Try to understand and accept the mysterious Russian soul. It is really beautiful. The poetry, inconsistency, versatility and depth, very accurately reflected in the works of Leo Tolstoy are key. His famous works Anna Karenina and War and Peace reveal the features and subtleties of the nature of soul.
BEST PLACE IN MOSCOW
Pushkin State museum of Fine Arts. There are magnificent exhibitions, lectures and excursions. This place always gives inspiration, new knowledge and a great mood.
BEST PLACE IN RUSSIA
For me it is St. Petersburg. I call this city a treasure box. Palaces and art galleries created by the greatest world architects, decorators, painters and sculptors. This is a theater, music salons, ballet and opera performances, all under the same roof. There are boat trips along the Neva River and incredibly delicious food.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT RUSSIA, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
The cliché is that the Russians are aggressive and it’s not safe to come to Russia. We are happy to receive guests. We love and know how to do it in a best way. Come to Russia, get acquainted with our culture and people and you will be charmed.
RUSSIA SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Talented, smart, creative, hardworking people live in Russia. Our country has enriched world culture with composers like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, choreographers like Balanchin and dancers like Nuriev, artists like Kandinsky and Malevich, writers such as Chekhov and Solzhenitsyn, opera divas like Vishnevskaya or the pianist Matsuev, just to name a few. The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first person to fly in space. Aren’t those excellent reasons for Russia to be known for?
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality is, first of all, kindness and willingness to help someone who is weak and needs protection. This is a life based on the principle of respect for all living things on our planet. And for me, it is not connected with religion or teachings. Spirituality is faith and responsibility for one’s actions.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Money is needed to spend it on development, assistance, creating projects, travel and comfort. But you should not pay special attention to money. It must be remembered that truly expensive things, such as caring and loving friends and family, are given to us for free. And this is the most valuable thing in life.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
Go to museums, read different books, meet new people and expand your horizons. Choose the best teachers from different fields for yourself and learn from them, change them, update yourself and constantly move forward.