The Latvian photographer Arnis Balčus (1978) answers the “Daily Dozen” questions. Read more about him in the section “Artists”.
1. What’s the best moment of your day?
That depends on the day.
2. Why do you work as an artist?
These days, photography is just as important as eating and drinking. People who don't take pictures are putting their (mental) health at risk. Taking pictures is a good way in which to “filter” reality; it helps us understand what's happening to us.
3. What films, concerts, exhibits, or books have left a lasting impression on you?
The list is too long, but the first things that came to mind were the films “Moscow Does not Believe in Tears” (1980) and “Le Mépris” (1963).
4. Where do you currently get ideas for your works?
I spend a lot of time just observing. Sometimes I just wander around all sorts of strange places.
5. Which work(s) of art would you like to have in your possession?
I'd like to privatize the State Film/Photography/Sound Document Archive.
6. What do you do when you’re not occupied with art?
A lot of things, like working on fotokvartals.lv, for instance.
7. Do you sleep a lot?
About 8 hours.
8. Do you collect anything?
Unopened cigarette packs from around the world. I'm interested in their design. These days, cigarettes are often times the only national product with which one country differs from another. It's a bit sad that Latvia doesn't produce cigarettes anymore, but that's understandable – the most interesting designs are usually attached to the worst cigarettes.
9. What is one of the most important things in your studio?
I don't have a studio or workspace. The main thing I have at home is the computer, because I end up spending enough time at it as is.
10. What do you like to eat, and what don’t you like?
I like all sorts of strange cheeses, sweets and fruits. I don't like olives, mushrooms and prawns.
11. When you were a kid, what did you want to be?
I don't remember anymore.
12. Name three creative individuals, from any era, with whom you’d gladly spend an evening.
Hitler, Stalin and Mao.