lives in Moscow, Russia
I started my artist career while still at University studying law in 2007. My granfather was an artist and lived in Riga, Latvia, and when I was a child Ioften visited him. His room was lled with tobacco smoke, paint tubes and the smell of oil paints and de nitely left a trace in my mind. I started by painting colour abstractions with acrylic paints on canvas-es. I read a lot of books dedicated to colour theory and psychology of colour, which also played its role in future. I quickly reached some success and managedto sell some paintings. I decided to become a pro- fessional artist. After graduating from the University as a copyright lawyer I dedicated all my life to visual arts.
I got involved in the art life, and visited lots of museums.. Hours were spent contemplating on paintings of old masters.. Not surprisingly, soon after I desired to work with form. My first attempts were not very successful. I quickly moved away from acrylics to and began working with oils, and things went better.I started to learn old Flemish multilayer technique that was commonly used in 16-18th century, but is almost forgotten today.
In 2010 I met Vladimir Markov, a professor of arts, an artist and anatomy teacher. He was much impressed with the technique I used in my paintings and accepted me as his apprentice. I was his student for over a year.
Then I became fond of digital art. I completed a course in digital illustration and concept design. I also learnt 3D modelling, sculpting, texturing andrendering by myself. I quickly got a job as a digital illustrator on an animation project as a background artist. And… I quickly got disappointed in this job. Real art requires freedom of creation. I simply could not work on the same patterns day after day. So, I left this job, abandoned digital art and concentrated fully on oil painting.
I got fond of surrealism and symbolism, and for about four years I was a member of surrealistic project Geysers of subconscious inspired by a well-known Russian surrealist artist Andrei Nekrasov.
In an attempt to convey my ideas I tried to fill my paintings with some symbolism, which gave them an ulterior meaning. Understanding of an art piece comes from our current mood and life experience, this is why different people understand it differently. But I think that the observer plays the same role as the creator of an art object. There is no right or wrong way to interpret art, and through these various interpretations artists can ultimately understand themselves better.
I used classical multilayer technique to create mysymbolism and mystical-realism paintings. Sometimes it took months to finish a piece, because every layer must dry before the painting process can be continued. I took part in about 2-3 exhibitions per year, and I always tried to exhibit one or two new paintings. I would not showcase them anywhere before the ex-hibition. I think that, in a way, modern digital era destroyed the element of exhibition suddenness. Everyone can search the Internet to nd paintings,and there are fewer reasons to visit such events.
During this project I got acquainted with Evgeniy Agnin, also a surrealist artist and quite a well-known rock musician.
We decided to make our own project called Agnirealism and it was a success, but ceased to exist after the exhibition in Paris 2014.
I began to experiment and my first steps were to come back to my roots – abstraction. After several years of a prudent painting process I needed to recall what if felt like when I painted abstractions years ago, before I had any art education, experience and knowledge. I wanted to achieve the immediacy and spontaneity I used to have back then.
By then, I had visited most of major European museums and become absorbed by late 19th-early 20th century experiments in art.
Expressionists and impressionists were a powerful influence at that point. I was fond of Pablo Picasso, Mikhail Vrubel, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and many others. To my surprise, I also realized that paintings of El Greco (16-17 century painter) have a lot of traits of expressionism art.
During my experiments in 2016-2017 I created several successful paintings created in a different manner. But the reason was quite… Unexpected.
This was the time when I started to realise that quality of art has nothing to do with technique. I can barely say that I had any technical skills back when I painted my first abstractions. However, I managed to sell my paintings and people liked them.
To follow the path previously travelled is what makes us develop and evolve throughout history. Let us divide traditional art forms into Art and Craft. Developing your technique makes you better at Craft. Art, according to Oxford Dictionary, is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or per-forming artefacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. So Art is also about expressing and transferring feelings and products of imagination to the observer. Ideas could be transferred in many ways, but evoking emotions in others is different. And this is the most important aspect of Art.
My knowledge of colour psychology also led me to some interesting thoughts. When I was working on a painting for weeks, I would sometimes change already painted colours over and over again and typically come back to the once I used first . I often wanted to change the whole idea of the subject painted. Thus, I always moved away from the original concept that inspired me. And the reason of this is simple.
Our emotional background and mood changes from day to day. It influences the way we perceive the colour and how we perceive the ideas as well. And this is the main reason why abstract art and expressionism art affect us so powerfully sometimes. The emotional power of an artist is concentrated usually in one session of a painting process. It is very pure, which often cannot be said about paintings that were painted during months. The impulse is gone and different states of mind are layered on canvas.
This aspect was noticed by many great artists of thepast. A distinctive feature of expressionists, for example, was to work “a plein air”, not in studio. It means that you have to work very quickly, before light conditions change. It led to a totally new understanding of colour. Fast painting was also a trait of many marine artists. The sea wave can’t be sketched exactly from reality because it moves fast. The other thing is that marine artists work with a very dynamical subject. Paintings of Joseph Mallord William Turner, the great 19th century English artist, also had some traits of expressionism, and they became more relevant during the time. Another marine artist, Ivan Aivazovsky, a prominent Russian painter, always tried to finish a painting in 3 sessions maximum. Even large scale paintings , measuring by square meters. When I started my experiments I still could not quite get rid of the technical issue. I used to spend weeks on a painting, working on details and mixing my paints for the layering technique.
I reached some success after I tried to paint… being drunk. Just for fun. The results were awesome. But the most frustrating thing was that when, six months laters, I tried to paint something in such a manner, but being sober, it did not work. Brushstrokes had much less expression, colours were less eloquent. The habit still dominated my mind .
And I decided to start a kind of a project… Drunken master. Alcohol removes inner psychological barriersand leads to unexpected results in paintings. I want to emphasize that I started it as a conscientious experiment in December 2017.
Pablo Picasso once said: ““It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
Well, let’s say that I resorted to some kind of dope. Experiment started with the Beggars and Saints series.
I finished this series in March 2018 and felt drained and exhausted. I had to take some rest for about two months and then continued with the Drunken Master project.
In summer 2018 I visited India. It was not my first trip there. Indian subjects appear in many paintings of mine throughout 2018. I was inspired by the people of India, its nature and… street graffiti. Some social and philosophical context was included in some paintings.
When I painted the characters I really tried to become them, to live their lives. The kind of approach that is used by actors. When painting a monk, for example, I would imagine myself as a monk for the whole day and then, in the night I would convey my feelings on canvas.
Somehow I would like to compare such approach to music… Musical improvisation. Not composing but improvising when I have an image and pure emotions.
Since 2018 all the paintings I created have become a chronicle or a kind of diary that consists of my personal emotional experience. And still all of them carry a message or a statement to the observer.
During the Drunken master experiment I also started the Whoredom series. Let me explain this. In fact, I put a lot of sense into those fluid forms. The sheep, for example, have some re-ligious context. Floating patterns symbolize the repetitive sinful behavior of a human being.
Animals symbolize our instincts. Silly eyes expression symbolize that this behavior does not fully depend on us. Pure light colours on some of the paintings still gives a hope for grace.
I stopped the Drunken master experiment in January 2019. And I really have to say I learned a lot. Especially concentrating on emotions and expressing them on canvas. I continue to work on Whoredom series of paintings.
I also decided to rethink the classical multilayer technique, to arrange it somehow for a quicker painting process.
Paintings made with such technique have a very volumetric light, the illusion of volume and presence is incredible. The light pierces the canvas and reflects from the wall where the painting is hanging, scatters and lights the canvas from the inside. As the shadow areas have the most transparent layer it glows there the most. In real life, our eye tunes the aperture when you are moving your sight from light to shadow, so we can notice a lot of detail in very dark shadows and we can see a lot of detail in very light areas when we focus our sight there. Without such technique, our eyes see the painting as a simple 2D object. With such effect,moving your sight through the composition gives you an illusion of 3D objects as the aperture of the eye needs to tune to different objects in the picture (of course, this effect is barely noticeable on photoshots).
I always used some methods of this technique, even during the Drunken master experiment. I was combining opaque and transparent pigments, adjusting the transparency of the painted layer. I also used quick umber acrylic underlayer.
In 2019 I decided to use transparent watercolours to build up some underlayer. This approach was used by masters of the past as well. Some weeks trying out different grounds, primers and varnishes to make watercolours work on canvas led me to success. On such underlayer I can work with translucent oil paints. Finally, my paintings can be done quite fast, in one or two sessions, and still have this effect of traditional Flemish approach. It does not require weeks to finish a painting anymore, allowing me to be more impulsive and expressive.
2008 Solo exhibition, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow
2008 Group exhibition Death and afterlife in art, VDNKh, Moscow
2008 Two paintings were bought for Museum of world Funeral Culture, Novosibirsk
2010-2011 Group exhibitions, Grekov’s Studio, Moscow
2011-2013 Participant of Andrey Nekrasov surrealism art projects “Geysers of subconscious” and “Ying Yang”.
2011 Group exhibition, The State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow
2012 Group exhibition, Gallery “Plum Palm”, Moscow
2013 Group exhibition, Gallery “Plum Palm”, Moscow
2013 Group exhibition, Central House of Artist, Moscow
2013 – Agnirealism exhibition, DEVE gallery, Moscow
2014 – Agnirealism exhibition, Galerie Natalie Boldyreff, Paris
2008 Interview, The Battered Suitcase, Vagabondage Press, LLC
2012 Interview, Futur Maestri
2015 Interview, Artist Removed
2015 Interview, Figurementors
2015 International Contemporary Artists, Vol X, ICA Publishing
2016 The First Berliner Art Book 2016
2017 Interview, Figure Painter Magazine Vol. 46
2017 article, Russiaknowledge
2017-2018 Author of the section “Lessons from the past”, Figurementors
2017 Bullfight painting, Honourable Mention, Creative Inspiration 2017” event, Bauhaus Prairie Art Gallery
2017 One has reached Samadhi painting, Special Merit Award, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery
2017 Sadhu and the old man painting, 4th place, American Art Awards 2017
2018 Top 100 Award, Circle Art Foundation
2018 Trapped childhood painting, Honourable mention, Colors of Humanity Art gallery
2018 Music of War painting, Best of show, Still life 2018 event, Bauhaus Prairie Art Gallery
Miniature Art Events:
2012 Golden medal, Silver medal, Winter Angel Miniature Show, Moscow
2013 Overall prize winner, Spring Angel Miniature Show, Moscow
2015 Silver medal, Monte San Savino Show, Italy
2016 Bronze medal, Monte San Savino Show, Italy
2016 Contest Judge, Ruby sphere Miniature Show, Moscow
2017 Contest Judge, Monte San Savino Show, Italy
A member of Creative Union of Professional Artists since 2013.
I am also a famous miniature painter. A multiple award winner. You can find my miniature art gallery here.