Acrylic on canvas | 80 cm x 130 cm | 2022
Describe your artwork and the inspiration behind it.
I have always enjoyed exploring femininity in my artwork. However, recently, I began noticing how the lines between femininity and masculinity are blurring. I wanted to explore this in my art and create a painting that would represent the modern human – one questioning the old standards and drawing new boundaries.
What does modern masculinity mean to you?
To me, modern masculinity is, perhaps slightly ironically, about freedom. Surely, the typical middle-aged white man is as free as some humans will never be, and yet, he is bounded by multiple stereotypes – he must always be serious, strong, showcase no emotions, dress expensively, yet not too brightly or flashy, and the list goes on.
To me, modern masculinity is the ability to free oneself from all these “norms”. The ability to show emotions (perhaps learn how-to do it at first), be vulnerable, unsure, and act in a manner that would generally be assigned to girls and women some 50 years ago – enjoy shopping and dressing, spending time without a serious purpose, openly care for others and oneself, be creative and careless and fun.
What do you think are the requirements to be a “modern man”?
Firstly, I’d like to express my joy that both modern men and women face less and less “requirements”. And yet, I don’t think it all comes easy. The modern man is required to be open, tolerant, caring, empathetic, know how to listen and how to express own emotions. And I can only imagine how hard it must be for someone who can’t learn from different generations and must still conform the old stereotypes on daily basis.
What is modern masculinity in your country – and how do you feel about it?
Lithuania has a unique socio-cultural background due to its complicated – and hurtful – history. Men here are forced to juggle the Western influence and the painful soviet heritage. The former invites one to be open, courageous, emotional, and tolerant, while the latter still requires unlearning and fighting the old stereotypes that the man always has to be strong and cold, no one can stand out from a crowd or challenge any public opinions.
So, the modern Lithuanian masculinity is mostly about learning – learning to be open and accept others, learning about oneself and the world, learning to listen and to speak.