art georgia is an innovative platform for creative individuals, connecting inspiring people together trough the languages of fashion, design and illustration. It is one of the many creative projects of Sofia Tchkonia. Born as Georgian, living as Parisienne, in her work she is driven by passion of art and design, fused with her strong love for her home country. Sofia’s daily routine includes discovering new talanted creatives and establishing one of a kind artistic interactions through all over the world. Moreover, she tries to rise an awareness for her country through the means of culture and help creatives there to grow. Following her various ambitious projects, Sofia tries to establish a balanced nexus between Paris and Tbilisi.
We had the pleasure to interview Sofia Tchkonia in her fascinating creative space.
This interview is devoted to all undiscovered talented people.
"my aim is to discover and help new talents."
How did you come up with the idea for ARTGeorgia?
The idea is to create a more relaxed platform where creative, talented people can meet fashion and art experts in a more relaxed atmosphere and show their work, exchange ideas. We did already three editions and I am happy that now it’s becoming more and more international, more and more countries are applying. They meet, talk, create new contacts.
How do you make the selection for your creative space?
I am looking for the talented people around the world and with a team of professionals we select participants. Criteria is a talent and interesting, original idea.
How would you describe your work space and its atmosphere?
My work space is very artistic, with lots of books, magazines, sketches, illustrations and people I love.
How do you envision ARTGeorgia’s development?
We started ARTGeorgia in Paris and my goal is to have it held in more cities like Istanbul, Milan, Rome, Moscow. I would like this exhibition to travel around the world and attract more people from the field of fashion and art.
How do you manage all of these creative projects? What is the hardest part of multi-tasking?
Itis very important to have great team and most difficult to find. I’ve been lucky enough, I always meet interesting people and sometimes I find support where I don’t even expected.
What are your tips for a good interview?
The most important is to be interested in the person who you talks to and to be a good listener.
Who is the most compelling person you have ever interviewed? What makes a person captivating?
All the people I took an interview from are amazing, I can not name one. There were so many interesting meetings and more are coming in the near future. I have learned one thing: the more a person achieves in life, less ambitious she/he becomes. They all are very simple and easygoing. For example before my meeting with Pierre Berge I was a little bit worried but when we started our conversation I didn’t feel how the time passed.
You live and work in Paris. What is your favourite place in the city of light?
I was born in Tbilisi, Georgia but I have found myself in Paris. This city gives me incredible energy and inspiration and every corner, street, cafe for me is exceptional. I love going to the museums when I have time or just walk around the streets of Paris.
Ms. Tchkonia, you are always in a quest for innovative ideas and new talents. How would you define your job? What was the chronological path of your career?
I am a talent scout. I have a creative foundation, which helps and supports talents, artists, designers worldwide. Besides that my partners, friends and I have opened a creative agency in Paris. We organize the annual fashion and art festival, fashion design contest “Be Next” on the coast of the Black sea. The aim is to bring fashion and art professionals and experts from all around the world, introducing them to our country and its culture while helping young talents. Our partners are major fashion educational institutions from around the world, fashion week representatives, stores, leading contests, and many more. Now we work with the Ministry of Culture of Georgia on a projects named “Save the Academy of Arts”. We raise funds to restore and re-build the unique building of Tbilisi State Academy of Arts.
Twice a year, in Paris, I organize the event “ARTGeorgia”, an exhibition, fusion of art and fashion, which participants are artists and designers not only from Georgia but from different parts of the world. The first “ARTGeorgia” was held on 26th January, 2013.
"For me it is very important to place Georgia on the world fashion and cultural map.."
Who are the participants of BENEXT design contest?
BENEXT International Fashion design contest and festival is an annual event held in Georgia. For me it is very important to place Georgia on the fashion and cultural map. Our participants were only Georgians but now we became international and have participants also from India and China. Guests are international fashion schools, magazines, fashion houses and designers. The jury consists of real experts. The event is held on the coast of the Black sea at our Georgia Palace Hotel. Through this approach people can combine work with leisure.
How can a person participate in it?
Every person can apply. The important is to have a strong concept, an interesting idea in order to win.
Do you have any other on-going or future projects?
I work on the project “Icons and Muses”. This is a film and in near future a book about the major masters in art, fashion and film. I filmed and interviewed already Pierre Berge, Edmonde Charles-Roux, Madame Carven, Serge Lutens, Betty Catroux, Claude Montana, Bettina Rheims, ORLANE, Jean Paul Goude, Rick Owens, Michele Lamy, Herve Leger, Diane Pernet and many, many more. I collaborate with TV channels and magazines. Films are shown on the festival ASVOFF 5 and ASVOFF 6 in Paris in Centre Pompidou. I always look for interesting projects ansd do what I love.