My name is Uldus.
I am a photo-based artist from Russia.
I started my way around six years ago
with ironic self-portraits
to lay open so many stereotypes
about nationalities, genders,
and social issues —
["I am Russian. I sell drugs, guns, porno with kids!"]
["Vodka = water. I love vodka!"] (Laughter) —
using photography as my tool to send a message.
["Marry me, I need a visa."]
Today, I am still performing in front of the camera
and trying to be brave like Wonder Woman.
I focus on balancing meaningful message,
aesthetic, beauty, composition,
some irony, and artifacts.
Today, I'm going to tell you about my project,
which is named Desperate Romantics.
They're my artifacts, or paintings
from pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood England
I took the painting
and gifted new, contemporary meaning
talking about issues which are surrounding me
capturing people who are non-models
but have an interesting story.
This boy is a professional dancer,
only 12 years old,
but at secondary school, he hides his dancing classes
and is wearing the mask of brutality,
trying to be united with the rest of his classmates
like a storm trooper has no personality.
But this boy has goals and dreams
but hides it to be socially accepted,
because being different isn't easy,
especially in Russia.
Next portrait interpretation is metaphoric.
And this is Nikita,
a security guard from one of the bars
in St. Petersburg.
He likes to say, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry,"
quoting Hulk from the movie,
but I've never seen him angry.
He hides his sensitivities and romantic side,
because in Russia, among guys,
that's not cool to be romantic,
but it's cool to be surrounded with women
and look like an aggressive hulk.
Sometimes, in my project,
I would take the painting
and give it new meaning
and new temptation about it.
Sometimes, I would compare facial features
and playing with words:
irony, Iron Man, ironing man.
Through the artifacts,
I bring social issues
which surround me in Russia into the conversation.
Interesting fact about marriage in Russia,
that most of the 18, 19-year-old girls
are already ready, and dream to get married.
We're taught from childhood,
successful marriage means successful life,
so most of the girls kind of fight
to get a good husband.
And what about me?
I'm 27 years old.
For Russian society, I'm an old maid
and hopeless to ever get married.
That's why you see me in a Mexican fighter mask,
in the wedding dress, all desperate in my garden.
But remember, irony is the key,
and this is actually to motivate girls
to fight for goals, for dreams,
and change stereotypes.
Be brave. Be ironic — it helps.
Be funny and create some magic.