I got to sit down and talk to artist Anastasia Tasou about topics such as her artwork, social media presence, and her podcast Cosy Corner (which you should definitely go take a listen to after reading this article).
Liza: Can you give a little bit of background information about why you decided to pursue the arts?
Anastasia: The reason I started to create was because I was grieving. It was like a therapy that I applied to myself unofficially. My grandma passed away and she was like my best friend. (At the time) I was so upset and didn’t know how to deal with it. For anyone who has lost someone to a terminal illness, the grieving process is so unique and strange. I had all of these feelings and I just started to write down how I felt. Eventually, that turned into art. So, for me the reason why I started doing it I suppose was just a need to get things out.
Liza: How did you develop your style?
Anastasia: Initially it was like therapy based on me writing things. Then I would block out areas of writing so no one could see them. It was very organic and very ugly, but I think ugly is cute; it wasn’t made to be pretty and I think from there I just developed it in a sense that I continued to work from my feelings. It’s all based on honesty and realness, but I created that by applying those feelings to different things. Now I write more and longer; I am able to be confident in that way. It always has to be rooted in that honesty.
Liza: I think that’s why a lot of people are fans of your work. You’re so personal and real which is why a lot of viewers connect to it.
Anastasia: It’s amazing that anyone would care about anything I do. I think that the world is so scary, and don’t you think that when we are able to see someone be honest it’s so nice to have that connection to things isn’t it? I just try to be myself because I like it when people are honest about things as well.
Liza: Yeah! Right now, we are living in a world full of trends and standing out and being confident in your own skin is important.
Anastasia: There was a time a few years ago when there was a trend to make art that had the deep Tumblr style. I remember my pieces were being taken and posted on these accounts that would upload just “emo” quotes. It’s (the artwork) not just a trend or an aesthetic. I’m kind of protective over it because it’s more than that.
Liza: I completely understand that. When you put so much time and energy into your work you want it to be taken seriously and seen as for what it is versus as just a trend/aesthetic.
Liza: So, your work is mostly posted on Instagram. I wanted to see how you feel you have evolved as an artist from when you first began to now.
Anastasia: Do you think that question is in terms of specifically social media stuff or just in my life?
Anastasia: They are kind of intertwined. I am definitely less confident now than when I first started posting. I truly think that comes down to how badly Instagram works at the moment for artists and creators. There is so much pressure with social media, particularly Instagram. It has affected people so hard because you feel like you have to constantly create. At the beginning, when Instagram was kind of more normal, you could use it as this creative tool. I was just confident to post things that I felt were right and I think that I lost some of that confidence because now I think ‘oh no what if someone doesn’t like it’ or ‘what if no one sees it.’ I am trying at the moment to get back to that me that didn’t think about that. One positive thing though is that I feel really happy about my work because I really enjoy writing. Like I said before I feel like I can write longer stuff and I am really excited about that. If only the internet was an easier place.
Liza: What do you feel like social media platforms can be doing better to help artists?
Anastasia: Wouldn’t it be great if the people that followed could see your work? That’s just the main thing. To give people an equal platform where you don’t need to pay extra to have your work seen. But also, maybe I am getting into the bad habit of talking about how bad social media is when without it I wouldn’t have the job where I have been able to make art every day. It is such a nice community so there are some positives as well. The platform may not be that great but at least they bring amazing people together which I think is the main thing.
Me: I heard that Instagram a couple of weeks ago announced that they are no longer pushing photos and will be prioritizing videos. That’s such a big concern because fine artists and photographers aren’t going to have their work seen as much and I wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that.
Anastasia: Not everyone is comfortable making reels and doing TikToks. Can’t we just post a nice picture of our work and move on? I feel like people want to be connected to people that are sharing art or that are doing amazing things, but they are just not being shown their work. Community is the best thing, and the worst thing are the people at the top who are controlling everything. It was so cool back in the day, I know I sound 100 years old, when you had Instagram and it was just pictures. You could find other people and see so many inspiring things but now it’s just huge stores advertising.
Liza: Do you feel that pressure of not being able to change your style or do you want to try something new but you're afraid that's not the content that your followers expect you to post?
Anastasia: Every day of my life. Yes! Every time I have spoken to them about it, they are always like “just do you, we are here to support you and see what you do.” I think I have to remember that and it’s always worse in your head than the reality. You don’t have to share everything. You have control over your boundaries with your creative output. Then also, like what the hell, just do what you want. That’s where I am at the moment because the right people will stay and support you
Liza: It seems like you have a very positive community on your platform. I know sometimes when you get a fanbase it can become a little bit toxic but from what I have seen everyone just seems so nice and supportive.
Anastasia: They are the most amazing people. Some I have interacted with for years now. Certain ones have come to my workshops either online or in person. I’m interested in them as a person and there’s that relationship there where sometimes they just email me to check in. That’s such a positive and lovely thing. Some communities seem so toxic and gatekeeping so I’m glad that I have people that are so kind. When they become friends amongst each other I’m just like ‘this is everything I’ve always wanted.’
Liza: So, you started your podcast 'Cosy Corner'. I know that for the most part online you let your work speak for itself and don’t share a lot of personal information. Why did you decide to share more personal thoughts and what inspired you to start it?
Anastasia: I like to have a limit on Instagram so I can only share so much on there. I can’t go into specific things that inspire particular pieces but those are things I’m kind of ready to share. Whether that be grief and more about that, I can say so much more on my podcast than I can in a caption or in writing. I feel like it’s a privilege for me to have people listen to me. I’m so grateful that they listen to me in the first place. There’s this whole other conversation outside of my work. It’s really about giving myself a voice that extends out from my art, so I am able to explore things a little more. Maybe go off subject and discuss random stuff. I just enjoy recording them, honestly. It’s so lovely.
Liza: Do you find it therapeutic as well?
Anastasia: Yes, definitely. As someone who is an introvert, believe it or not but I am much more comfortable talking on my podcast about how I feel than to everyone around me. I feel so free doing that. Even if one person listens, I honestly don’t mind because it’s so therapeutic.
Liza: Going back to your artwork, I constantly see people getting your work tattooed. I was wondering what does that feel like?
Anastasia: You know I can’t even process it. When I see it, I’m just like ‘there is no way on earth that I can thank this person enough that will reflect how I feel on the inside.’ First of all I still can’t connect or understand anyone enjoying my work that much still. Second, I think that it’s amazing and all of the tattoos I’ve seen are just so beautiful. The fact that they mean that much to someone else that really touches me because a tattoo is forever.
Liza: It really shows that your followers connect with you. There’s a sense of trust between you two.
Anastasia: That’s such a nice way to look at it. I feel honored to have that. I almost feel undeserving of that trust. I will keep that safe because I know it has some meaning. I definitely check myself to make sure I’m not hurting anyone inadvertently. It’s important to be responsible with that kind of thing.
Liza: Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists in such a saturated market right now?
Anastasia: What can you as an individual person bring to the table? What have you been through? What kind of thoughts do you have? What kind of experiences do you have? What dreams do you have and what makes you who you are? Because we all have this unique set of things that we can get inspired by. The few times when I had someone that’s copied me a bit in the past, I tried to start a conversation. How come this is happening? People think that you always have to be inspired by other artists, but the most inspiring thing is your experiences. You’re interesting enough as you are. Dig deep and see what’s in there. I know that sounds a bit cheesy…
Liza: No, it doesn’t. The way you stand out is to stand out.
Anastasia: Be honest with yourself and don’t just subscribe to trends that are going to not stick with you anyway. I think you can tell when art has been created from an honest place. That’s where we get that nice warm feeling. Because even if you don’t have that experience yourself, you can relate to that person. When I do my workshops, I see everyone’s work, or we journal and read it to each other and it’s amazing. They’re telling me “I don’t know where to start” and I’m just like you have amazing ideas. Listen to what you just told me. It’s incredible. Everyone has such a different experience of life. How crazy is that?
Liza: With social media we forget our own journeys. Again, we compare ourselves to other people so much that we don’t realize how special we are. It’s scary to be vulnerable.
Anastasia: And understandably scary. If you think about your family and friends seeing stuff it makes it hard to be honest. But if you’re creative and young and don’t know what you’re doing just try to be true to who you actually are and what you want to do.