1) Where were you raised? Can you paint a picture of your childhood?
I was raised in a small town near Moscow, Russia. It’s a beautiful place with forests, rivers, and a lot of churches around. I think I can paint my childhood; it will be painting of a girl with big eyes dancing with butterflies near a wild river in the forest.
2) Did you always create art as a kid, or did you come to it later in life?
I’ve known since I was 9 years old that I came to this planet to be an artist; and when I lost my father at age of 11, I became completely aware that I am an artist. My father was a woodcarving artist. And I would always draw or paint alone or with my father. We did a lot of creative things together before he left this world. So he inspired me to be always creative and see life as a big fairytale.
3) Which artists have influenced your work? Why and how?
Oh, a difficult question; because there are so many of them. Especially when you study fine art for many-many years. Art school, then Art College, then Imperial Academy of Fine Arts; and every day I want to learn something to feel myself fulfilled. From the beginning, — many Russian modern artists as Zinaida Serebryakova, Nikolay Fechin, Marc Chagal, Andrei Rublev, Zverev; after — Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele; later — Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo; and now — Takashi Murakami and M. F. Husain together with folk art, which is my main inspiration source.
Going to different museums around the world, reading or watching about artists’ lives always influenced me and, of course, benefits my art. It is a slow process; you never know how it will work, but it’s always there in me.
4) Any other influences (people, places, ideas)?
My India, people in this amazing country, art and artists influenced me a lot. Actually the daily life influences every moment so much that it’s all one life and art. People are one of the best inspirations for me; relationships, traveling is the second one; and the best way to get inspired is to mix it all together: people, traveling, and collaboration with other artists around the world.
5) Tell me about your practice — how do you generate ideas, what medium do you use?
First, I think a lot; sometimes it goes on for months; and I will make some other paintings at the same time, but I will continue think about a new idea or series of works. The moment I am ready — I start. I wrote an essay about the stage of creating a painting. Ideas can come from everywhere and any time, — you just need to be open to receive them. So I do my best to stay tuned to the universe. My medium is acrylic, golden leaf, and gold and silver ink.
6) Is your art more concept-driven or image-driven?
It was more image-driven, but when I moved to USA, to NY Metro aria, which happened not long time ago, I think it’s become balanced 50/50 in terms of concept/image ratio. I believe balance is always the best.
7) Why do you make the art you make?
It’s the purpose of my life. As I mention before, to create the art I create is very important for me to stay tuned to universe, and follow your bliss, your inner voice. Right now I know that all my lifetime experiences have been special for me to make me understand more and put my knowledge into practice. Art is continuation of my life; so to feel life I create the art I create.
8) Does your art influence your life, and vice versa?
Yes. I explained already how life influences my art. My art always influences my life as well and creates this flow of being and creating. Very often, I paint a painting only to see very soon what I put on canvas happen in my life. This fact inspired me to start my project Portrait Of Dream, where I paint goals, intentions, and dreams of those who commission me to paint their Painting Of Dream, and after sometime most of these painted dreams come true. I can say that life painted on canvas becomes reality and vice versa, and that this flow never stops.
9) What do you think about the notion “the lonely artist”?
We all are lonely. I love this novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called One Hundred Years Of Solitude where all protagonists were so lonely in a big house always full of people; so yes, things can look like this, but I have my spiritual world where I am never alone, and my supportive family is always here for me. When I am painting I always have relationship with my painting almost completely the same as with human beings.
10) Does your art connect you to the world in some way, or does it help you navigate the world?
I think it’s both))! At least it’s helping to navigate my world for sure. My art is moving me everywhere — I always travel for my art projects and meet new people who open new worlds for me. Art is my source to help open doors to other realms. I know my art navigates the world because it is full of symbols, which are very constructive and positive as well as connected with the viewers, with their inner voice. So my art navigates people to concentrate on spiritual energy and preserve their real nature.
11) Do you make art for yourself or other people?
The answer is both. For myself is first, because I came here to paint, to sing my song on canvas; and I need to sing for someone as well, of course. I am very happy when I can exhibit my works and people purchase it for their homes. It makes my life fulfilled.
12) What purpose do you think art serves today?
Art in general serves public with awareness about life in all its diverse aspects. Art shows you the way in life; and artists often envision the future through their works ahead of any others. My art reminds viewers of this very moment we are in, and at the same time it tells of eternity of your soul.