1 – Hi Vytas, please introduce yourself.
Hey, Matteo! I am Vytas Neviera. Born and raised in Lithuania, but European at heart and mind. I have lived in Italy and South Korea in the past, now I am living in and loving my life in Vienna, Austria. I graduated from political sciences bachelor studies, but art has always been a huge part of my life. In recent years, it’s share has become even larger and nowadays I dare to call myself an artist, as I draw and photograph.
2 – How would you describe yourself?
Talking about oneself is never easy, so answering this question is tough. I would say that I am friendly, nice, polite, creative, interested and never bored as I love learning. I am curious, adventurous and determined, too. Also, I often tend to be optimistic. A glass is empty only when it’s empty 😉
3 – What’s your job? What do you like to do? What are you best at?
For some time I’ve been looking for a job and/or a new challenge, however you want to phrase it. And in the meantime, I have focused my attention to becoming better at what I love doing – arts and photography. So to say, I am pursuing my artistic aspirations. To make end meet, I do all kind of temporary jobs. And sometimes sell my artworks, if I receive requests. What I am best at? I would say being present and focusing on the tasks I have in my hands at a given moment or if to say it in other words – I try to be best at what I do at a given moment. However, my strengths are the areas of politics and international affairs, arts and culture, languages, geography and nature, and history.
4 – How do you relate with photography? And with adventure?
I have always been a very adventurous child. My family used to tell me that as a little child I would just wander off to my neighbours in the village for hours and socialise or explore the hood, including a small forest that stands proud just across the house where I grew up. Then in school years I got involved with the extra-curricular school of “Young Geographers” of Lithuania and twice or three times a year during school holidays I would go to corners of Lithuania and explore them in a proper cultural and scientific manner. In my late teens, I got my first opportunities to travel abroad and that’s when I caught the travel bug that now happily lives in me and isn’t planning to die any time soon – there are way too many places in the world to see and get to know to. Photography has also been a part of my life as my dad was good at analogue photography, but his main objects were travels and us, family.
My first attempts to do photography with his camera were miserable, but it also got to me and I continued on trying. Perseverance is one of my strengths, too. If I like something, I get hooked and do not let go of something, until I master it in one way or another. I got my first digital camera before my trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia, when I was 16, and that’s when my passion for photography took off! Digital camera enabled me to engage in the trial-and-error learning, which kind of has always been my favourite way. I started taking pictures of everything and any time, but my favourite objects where the ones I encountered during my adventures – nature, architecture, etc. Soon after adventures and photography have become inseparable. Nowadays I barely ever leave home without camera because, as I learned, every day is and can be an adventure. You just need to be in the right mindset for it – keep your mind open and stay curious.
5 – How do you choose your drawings’ topics? When did you start drawing about wilderness?
I do not really choose the themes for my drawings. It might sound pretentious, but it isn’t, the topics just kind of come to me or occur in my head naturally. It’s all about inspiration. Sometimes it’s a line from a book or an article in a magazine, a famous quote, an extract of lyrics of a touching song, a photo of a gorgeous friend of mine or a random handsome human being on Instagram. But nature, above everything, is my greatest source of inspiration. Nature is the epitome of perfection as whatever happens there, is perfect, nature is never flawed, everything in it happens for a reason, and I love that. There’s so much beauty in it, that it’s hard to fathom it all. One just has to open the eyes and mind to see, not look, but see.
I love being in nature and so I love drawing it, too. We sometimes say that things look similar, sure, but they’re never the same. I adore this notion, so I kind of enjoy trying to capture that uniqueness of the moment in my drawings. Sometimes it’s the way the light falls onto the leaves or simply flowers in the meadow, or huge sights of wilderness – mountains, valleys, rivers, oceans. They have become my common themes somewhat recently – over the past year. A getaway to nature has become more important to me, so the refreshing views of vast landscapes have become more common in my drawings, too. Also, I love what they symbolise – stillness, beauty, perfection, and above all, naturality.
6 – Do you have any particular project you’re most proud of? Why is it so important for you?
Yes! I am definitely very proud of the project I challenged myself to do last year – to draw daily and make a drawing for every day of the year. The project “365 Days “A Drawing A Day” Challenge” of 2014 made me work really hard, push myself forward, to overcome the limits I used to create for myself and just get rid of some other shackles. It made me realise how much I love drawing and how important it is when it comes to my own personal happiness and self-fulfilment. It “came” to my life at a low point of it and simply made me happy and I am very glad that I stuck to it. I have improved my skill, I became happier, I realised what truly matters to me and I’ve become better for doing it. It also led me to some other very beautiful that happened over the past year and are still happening.
7 – How do you make your drawings? What’s your style and which techniques do you use?
Well, I don’t really know how to properly describe my style in art terms, but I think the closest and most accurate way would be this – graphics and its subcategory line art. I always draw only by hand, no technological devices are involved in producing images. It’s just me using a pencil, black (or coloured) liquid or gel ink pens, liquid ink and brushes to draw fine lines that in the end create the images I have in my head. On average it takes me around 5-6 hours to finish one piece, but it happens not so seldom that I would draw one work for 8 hours or even more.
So it’s not a short process, it requires some patience and precision. Of course, I am no professional, I am still learning how to do things, what’s the best way to draw one or another object, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do. In the future I am planning to mix up the techniques and start doing works or parts of them also in pointilism style and watercolours. In conclusion, the best part of doing all of this isn’t the result, but the process – I love drawing. It’s like a meditation to me, I relax and reach a happy place while doing it! Only maybe travelling and photography can compete with it! 😉
8 – Do you like travelling? Where have you been so far? What’s your favourite country?
As I already mentioned before, travelling bug lives very happily in me. There is not a single day in my life when I wouldn’t be daydreaming about travelling to some location in the world for whatever reason. I try to travel as much as I can and as much as my finances allow me. Sometimes it happens that I can combine a couple of things at the same time – study or work somewhere and travel in all of my free moments or visit family members and friends who live scattered all over the world. So far, I have visited 3 continents and 19 countries. I also have lived in 4 of them for a shorter or a longer period of my life, so choosing favourites is very hard.
When you live in a country, you invest yourself in many ways and to varying degrees, they become a part of yourself and you leave a part of yourself there. When you just visit a country, it’s slightly different – you go to relax, to see and learn things, to challenge yourself in some ways and to become better. I like all places I have ever been to, I barely ever see/notice the negative sides, I try to concentrate on the beauty in front of my eyes and the beauty I comprehend when learning new things and comparing them to the old knowledge. However, at the top of my favourites list would be Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, and the Baltics.
9 – Have you ever been in Italy? Did you enjoy it? What did you like most?
I have! As I told you just before – it’s among my favourites! I have been to Italy twice, so to say. Once for 6 months, when I did my Erasmus exchange studies, and the second time for 2 weeks when I worked for the EU Pavillion at the EXPO Milano in 2015. I lived in two cities in Italy – Perugia and Forlì. Perugia, in my humble opinion, is probably the most beautiful city in the country. Of course, I haven’t seen all of them (I actually have never been to Rome or Venice), but from those I saw, it left me a huge impression.
Living in Forlì was also a truly great experience. It may not be the most beautiful city in the country, but it is very interesting, especially its history. If to sum up my experiences in Italy – I love it. It’s my first (foreign country I lived in), so it will always take a very special place in my heart. But on a more objective level, it’s freaking gorgeous. It has all what I really enjoy – stupendous nature, fascinating history, messy politics, beautiful architecture, tasty food, interesting traditions and above all – good people. The things I liked the most in Italy are the friends I made there and the fact that Italians are very confident about who they are at the core.
10 – What do you think about our website? And our Instagram profile? Any hints to improve our project?
I am thoroughly excited about your website and the idea behind, so well done already for taking up this adventure and starting your blog! Wish you all the best with it, there will be down times, there will be ups, but never give up, never back down. I really like that you’re interviewing nature and adventure photographers – it’s always so much more fun to hear the stories from the first lips. What maybe the facebook and instagram are lacking are the best photographs by the fellow adventurers (maybe you could create a special hashtag and promote it, and then choose images to share from the ones tagged) and yourself, Matteo! I like the quotation images, but mixing them up with an original creative works, would be even more interesting!
11 – Where can we find you online?
I am rather present on the social media. As they say, if you’re not there, you’re don’t exist at all. (Joking)
Here are links to my works:
Planning on becoming more present on 500px, too. https://500px.com/vytasneviera
12 – Do you want to tell us anything else?
I just want to wish you all the best of luck and perseverance with the blog! And it was a great pleasure to talk to you here and now. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us with this project of yours and I am truly looking forward to future collaborations!
Oh, and fun fact about me. Apparently, I might be carrying around an Italian last name! I was told that it sounded Italian, I made a research and voila, there it is, a word in Italian – la neviera – which has two meanings, as far as my research told me. One of my future adventures is definitely going to be me visiting all of le neviere I can find in Italy!