Interview with Deiviz Kostoya

The internet is a great medium to discover talented artists. A couple of years ago, I discovered the artwork of the Spanish self-taught painter Deiviz Kostoya (28) on a Dutch Facebook page. His art is inspired by 19th century artists.

TBP: Where does your fascination for art come from?
DK: I have always been fascinated by the artworks of famous artists, especially the works of the impressionists, post-impressionists and the power of Frida Kahlo’s art. Also, since I was a child, I used to draw, paint and make crafts, even I won some art competitions at school.

Deiviz in Utrecht, The Netherlands (March 2014)

TBP: When you moved to Holland you became a painter according to your website.
Can you tell us a little more about that moment when you decided to take painting
DK: When the economic crisis began in Spain in 2010, at the age of 21 I moved to Utrecht, The Netherlands, to start a new life. Apart from working and studying, I started drawing and painting in my spare time. There, many people told me that they liked my way of painting. When in 2014 I returned to my city, Santiago de Compostela, I decided to start seriously taking commissioned works, like portraits of people of my city, and I began painting things of my city and the experiences I had during my time in Holland.

TBP: Did it have something to do with being abroad?
DK: Of course, in almost all my artworks you can notice of small details that reflect the homesickness of my city, experiences of the Netherlands, things I like and dislike…

Deiviz (as Van Gogh) with a friend (as Frida Kahlo) (Carnival, 2017)

 TBP: Why did you decide to move to Holland and for how long did you stay there?
DK: A Dutch friend I met in Santiago proposed that I should go to Holland because there were more job opportunities for the young people than in my country due to the crisis. Before I moved, I went on vacation for a week, and I was so fascinated by the dutch way of life, that in September 2010 I decided to buy a single flight. Thus, my Dutch adventure lasted three and a half years, until in 2014, for family reasons, I decided to return to my hometown.

“Self portrait between two towers” (August, 2016)

TBP: How did you experience exchanging the sunny city of Santiago de Compostela with the rainy city of Utrecht?
DK: It did not affect me too much! Santiago de Compostela is located in the northwest of Spain, 50 km from the Atlantic Ocean, therefore the climate is very similar to the climate of The Netherlands, much rain and grey skies, although it is true that it is not so cold.

TBP: Did you also experience some culture differences?
DK: Yes. That was what surprised me the most about Holland, the mix of cultures. I had the opportunity to meet people from countries as far away as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Thailand … As for Dutch culture, I initially had a hard time adapting, especially to the “agenda cultuur”, but once I learned to speak Dutch and learned and participated in the dutch traditions, I would say that my integration was almost total.

Giving as present the portait of Professor Bastos (April 2016)

TBP: One of the people who influenced you is Vincent van Gogh. What do you like
about him and his work?
DK: Apart from the incredible way of translating reality into his works, with his winding lines and contrasting colors, what attracts me most about Van Gogh (who was practically self-taught), is that he decided to become a painter and although he sold very few works in life, he never gave up on painting in his own way.

TBP: How should we call your art? Post-post-impressionism?
DK: I would not know how to classify it, because I consider my art as a mixture of styles. For example, my way of painting owes a lot to artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin and Matisse. However, in my work there are also details of Expressionism, the art of Frida Khalo and, of course, naïve art.

Kostoya’s instagram:

Jo Luijten
Dutch-born editor and video maker.

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