Interview 22. Joni Belaruski.

I was searching around on Instagram for something interesting, someone to do an interview with…and, there it was. People peeing rainbows and others who had icecream cones parked in the forehead. I felt a need for some answers…can´t let this one pass…

Me: Hello Joni! Please tell us about yourself, a short (or long If you prefer that ) presentation, who are you?

Joni: Hi! Well I’m an artist and musician hailing from the UK currently living in a little village called Brightling in the South of England. I’m originally from Northern Ireland and my whole family still live there but I have lived in London for the last ten years. But that’s pretty boring stuff right there. So let me tell you something more interesting. I play drums (check out my band The Great Malarkey, we are FUN), I’m currently learning how to play the tuba, I live in a haunted house (I really do), I have a mild obsession with sharks and crows, I have some alpaca friends that live in a field up the road, I have a fear of public speaking, but most importantly, I love to draw and paint.

Me: When did you “go public” with your art endeavours?

Joni: I’ve always sort of put it out there but I suppose I started to take it a bit more seriously about ten years ago when I made my website and dedicated art Social Media pages. The rest follows suit.

Me: What is “art” all about, for you personally that is?

Joni: I tie myself up in knots thinking about this question a lot, and the only answer I can give is: it changes all the time. There are so many facets attached to the word “art” that it’s almost impossible to pin down. I love many different artists and all for different reasons.
Sometimes, it’s just for the aesthetics, sometimes the humour, sometimes it’s hurts to look at, sometimes it helps you understand the world in a different way, see it through the lens of someone else’s eye, there are messages, intent, context, history etc and then it all gets filtered through the funnel of our own experience, probably into something wildly different from the original meaning and all of that is ok.
My own art veers from imagery that I just think is amusing and might make someone smile, all the way through to visual exorcisms of my own demons. It’s all art. Ideas are art. Getting up the morning and brushing your teeth can be art. Live your life like it’s a work of art!

Me: How has the latest year affected your life when it comes to things like creativity but also when it comes to the business side of it, has the pandemic made selling art harder?

Joni: I’ve had both ups and downs in the last year, like many people. When the first lockdown came into effect, I had a moment of panic, then realised the most important thing for me to do was to keep doing! I needed a project to focus on, so I started painting all the drumskins I had lying around, which was something I’d been meaning to do for a while. The general theme was ‘people who have inspired me’ – this was mainly musicians but I also took scenes and characters from my favourite films and reinterpreted them. They were such a joy to paint and I was surprised (considering the circumstances) and happy to find that they sold really well. Seems I have a lot in common with a lot of people. And now? I have a new series in the works that I’m looking forward to putting out there.

Me: Which social media has been serving you best in promoting your creative work?

Joni: Facebook is up there at the top, followed closely by Instagram. I’ve even dipped my toes into the murky waters of TikTok but I’m not sure it’s for me. Maybe I’m too old? I don’t know, I don’t want to shy away from new platforms like this, and I get that video is a fantastic way to show artwork in ever more creative ways and give your audience an insight into how it’s created or what goes on behind the scenes in the studio – I’m just not that comfortable in front of a video camera believe it or not!

Me: What are other interests and/or hobbies of yours?

Joni: I’ve played drums for almost 25 years now so that’s the other big love in my life, and as I mentioned before, I’ve started to learn the tuba, which is one of the most ridiculous and amazing instruments I can think of to play. I love animals too and one of my dreams is to have an Irish Wolfhound in my life.

Me: Tell me about unicorns?

Joni: I’m sure I’ve seen one at the bottom of my garden…

Me: …and about peeing rainbows …?

Joni: I actually started this series (“Taste the Rainbow”) as a response to the banning of female ejaculation in porn in the UK a few years back but, politics aside, really it’s just something I find quite funny to think about. The world would (literally) be a much brighter place if we could all piss rainbows.

Me: Your surname…are you from Belarus?

Joni: Not at all – my Northern Irish roots are pretty far from Belarus! The name Belaruski actually came about as a stage name for a band I used to play with called Rasp Thorne and the Briars. There were lots of different Russiany sounding names being thrown into the bag but I can’t remember why we settled on that one. And I didn’t think about the connotations associated with the name either! Anyway, it stuck and that’s what I’ve been known as for a long time now. Recently I’ve started to drop the ‘elaruski’ and just call myself Joni B.

Me: If you didn’t know yourself, what would you ask Joni Belaruski? (also, please answer the question)

Joni: How do you want to be remembered?

Joni: As a positive influence on the world and the people I meet.

Me: Great question and a very sympathic answer, I like that. Where can we find your art?

Joni: My website is a good place to start: www.jonibelaruski.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonibelaruskiart
Instagram: www.instagram.com/jonibelaruski

And thank you, these have been a pleasure to answer!

Me: Thank you Joni for your time, it was a true pleasure to read your answers. I wish you all the luck with everything you do and that you learn to play the tuba…interesting choice of an instrument to learn.

I can really recommend the reader to visit Joni B´s website as well as her social medias, she´s got some absolutely beautiful and cool stuff there to get inspiration from. A few examples south of here as usual…oh, don’t forget to check out her band “The Great Malarkey” If you haven’t already heard them, they are really good!

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