The Creative Discipline of Vasilj Godzh

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After studying Louise Bourgeois, my friend theorized that some great artists have a singular focus, trying to convey the same message over and over in their art. If Bourgeois was doing this, she accomplished it through the use of many mediums. Her work is certainly recognizable, but the materials, sizes, and style often varied greatly.

In light of that, I’m fascinated by the work of Russian artist Vasilj Godzh, in which he repeatedly uses the same medium over and over. Godzh’s says that he “opens himself up to the events happening around him as his major inspiration.” Given this, it sounds like what is going on in Godzh’s mind is fluid, so what he is trying to express is perpetually changing. I do not know what Godzh is trying to say, or if he intends to say anything at all, but I do know that whether or not he is trying to convey the same message over and over again, he uses black inked lines on a white background over and over again.

This repetition isn’t monotonous, because Godzh’s creates varied artworks, in their weight, density, texture, and form. What he is capable of creating is versatile. Sometimes, it’s a portrait; sometimes it’s a winding intestinal-looking path, or a vaginal figure, or a floral pattern. He gives himself confining parameters, not even just limiting himself to his “beloved Rotring pen,” but limiting himself to only drawing black lines with that Rotring pen.

Creating in this way disciplines an artist’s creativity. A couple years ago, he created some portraits and illustrations that used color and paint, but it seems like he has confined himself to the Rotring pen since then. Presumably, at some point, Godzh will venture outside of these parameters, by introducing color, or using paint, or sculpting.  I hope he eventually makes that shift, because by limiting himself to this medium, he has learned how to exploit a medium and style to its fullest extent, which makes me excited to see what he will create when given a new set of tools.

>> See more of Vasilj Godzh’s work at


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