Daria Khoroshavina (kitchenghosts) – 7 days of inspiration – Advent Calendar 
It’s day 24 already, many of you have opened the last door in their Advent Calendar. That means, today is Christmas Eve and we have come to the final day of our 7 days of inspiration series. So we want to introduce a special artist, who has inspired us a lot this year with cinemagraphs partially inspired by Harry Potter, that already were perfectly suitable for this season. Daria Khoroshavina, you may know her as kitchenghosts, was so kind as to answer us some general questions. If you want to know more about how she creates artwork like this, stay tuned.
Christmas is coming up for many, how do you spend this time?
I absolutely love holiday time! We have a big family celebration on New Year’s night, with the tree and presents under it, it is like Christmas in the US, only instead of Santa Claus we have Father Frost 🙂 Also, the whole country of Russia doesn’t work until January 10th, it is official winter break for everyone, and I’m looking forward to it very much. Will be staying at home watching Lord of the Rings probably.
One day it all started
How did you get started with Wacom?
I have a very warm relationship with my Wacom tablet. I got my first one about 10 years ago as a birthday gift from my parents. It was a white bamboo fun tablet and I fell in love with it completely. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a job back then, I just wanted to try drawing something. But eventually I got into photography and had my first job as a retoucher. Got some mad skills back then! That tablet lasted for 8 years and it still works! My parents gave me another one (intuos pt m) for my 28th birthday, it’s new and black and I love it just as much.
How did you find out what creative area you wanted to specialize in? Any recommendations?
I used to do retouching and portrait photography then I discovered video and cinemagraphs and that is all I do now. Also switched from people to food, because I don’t have to talk to food 🙂 I’m not a very sociable person, I’m much more comfortable working with only one assistant than being on set with 40 people around. Although I do that as well sometimes, for work, but I’m glad it’s not an everyday thing.
Here’s a useful advice: when they tell you to do what you’re afraid of, you don’t have to listen! Do what feels right and comfortable. You may have an idea in your head about an artist you want to become someday, but it may not be you, it may be something imposed by what pays the most or what is popular or what someone else is doing. Try going the path of least resistance, find something you’re good at and become better at it.
What does your day look like?
How do you find inspiration and motivation?
If I want to stay motivated and inspired I have to be organized. I am that freelancer, who wakes up at 6 to go to a pool/gym, then has a day full of to-do lists, meal preps, bullet journaling and timers set for work and breaks. Not every day of course, I am still human. My creative work is usually very chaotic: I do shopping, cooking, filming, eating and editing myself, things often get crazy. So my obsession with organizing is just a pathetic try to hold it all together when it wants to slip through my fingers. I feel like a lot of creative work is like this, isn’t it?
That sounds like a plan, so what does your workflow look like and what makes it unique?
My workflow is definitely unique, because I’m the only one still making gifs from my cinemagraphs. After I finish shooting, I take all my videos to After Effects and spend hours searching for perfect loops. I cut them out and take into Photoshop, where my favorite part begins – retouching! My cinemagraphs are closer to photographs than videos, that’s why the retouching process is similar to retouching a photo.
I clean up the crumbs (but not all of them!) fix cracks on macarons, adjust lighting and colors and cut out the mask for the moving part. That’s it! People always ask me what apps do I use to make such perfect loops, but it’s all mostly just meticulous work. If there was a quicker way to do what I do, I still wouldn’t use it. Because I like to control and be able to tweak every step of the creation, from filming to export. After making a thousand of cinemagraphs I definitively sped up my workflow, so that’s my best shortcut – the more you do it, the easier it is 🙂
So that was work, how about leisure time?
Do you like gaming?
Oh! I love gaming! I play overwatch a lot. It is so much fun AND I get to spend time with my friends AND I don’t have to go out and wear makeup! What’s better than this? 10/10 recommend as a hobby. I also think that it’s good to do something completely different from time to time, just to clear the head and reset the imagination.
Final words of advice?
Any recommendations to aspiring artists of your creative area?
If you want to learn how to make cinemagraphs – go on youtube, there’s so much useful information there, and it’s free. That’s what I did and can’t recommend it enough. I am still learning and getting better at what I do (hopefully) so I don’t feel like I’m qualified to teach anyone yet. I am doing little workshops from time to time, but for now that is it. Also, if anyone has any questions about my work process, feel free to dm me, I’d love to help and chat!
You can find me on instagram @kitchenghosts and tumblr @butteryplanet, I have just finished a huge client project and ready to create cinemagraphs for fun, so please come check them out and let me know what you think!
“Thank you, Daria!”
“Thank you Daria, for sharing this information with us and taking the time to write down some answers!”. We truly love her replies and are sure, they give a direction and some advice for aspiring artists and young creatives looking up to her work. As she already pointed out, you could send her direct massages and ask her questions too. Make sure to keep her on your radar: