My Visual Arts Story
It so happened that art is a permanent part of my life, and almost all I see I recompose and enhance in my mind in this captivating flow of existential vision.
My childhood room was full of art when I was five: my parents' apartment was packed with books, and among them art reproduction albums, which were stored in huge piles close to my bed, and I went to sleep with images from the greatest paintings, and with dreams to create some. I wanted to paint. The desire of visual expression of my worldview and of the abstract beauty I was able to perceive had followed me ever since.
Early Introduction to Oils and Academic Drawing
I started with oils at age six, and the first thing I painted under a guidance of a formally trained artist was an autumn oak tree. Then, I was introduced to gouache for sketches and studies, and practiced academic figure and nature morte drawing in graphite. I hoped to be transferred to the best full time creative school in my city, where I could continue playing piano, while studying art in addition to standard subjects. Well, I got accepted, but we left the country before I could attend it.
Starting Film Photography
At 13, I was given a two-lens SLR, and developed my black and white film rolls and photographs in an improvised darkroom with semi-professional equipment. My first photograph was of an elegant white-red Collie, reflected in a wet asphalt surface - you could barely guess what it was.
At that time, I was mostly interested in photographing and drawing kids of my age - flirting scenes, fashionable girls, and mysterious symbols. I remember designing paper money for an undercover school game in third grade, and making imaginary maps for a group of younger kids in fourth.
Years of Observation
When I finished both music and high school, a class with in-depth math program, my parents convinced me to study economics for practical reasons. I continued with sketching during those years, but mostly for personal need and pleasure.
In the last years of studies I gradually returned to oils, and developed a few techniques in gouache. It was mainly because my passion to dance had proved to have no future. The other reason was my inability to write poetry anymore, and therefore I was forced to find other ways to set myself free from the feelings I could net let out. I saved myself with verse since I was 13, and having no useful access to my piano to experiment with lyrics after 18 was driving me crazy. Following a surprisingly good unsolicited advice, I replaced my hard ballet group training with running - to manage energy excess. I also added more line work to my drawings to compensate for the loss of verbal precision.
In the following years, I went through a variety of self expression styles, and ended up realizing that I should concentrate not only on fine art but also on videography, to capture movement in a way impossible in static images. After years of (day-) dreaming about overwhelmingly many paintings, which were almost uncontrollably appearing in my mind in details, I realized I would forget all my ideas if I could not find a way to materialize them, and that life is not that long to wait.
I made several subsequent economically unsound arrangements in order to pursue art, and payed insufficient attention to the people around me, especially to those I loved. The results were dramatic and devastating, and the following stabilization required time and resources. I lost many of my works, and resented the confining nature and demands of fine art creation.
I tried to break out to entirely digital art world, but found that the tools could not keep up with my speed and did not match the properties of physical materials. Then, I tried to go strictly with recording and manipulating motion.
In 2008, my mind was blown away by the possibilities of montage and camera work. I got involved with video and bought the best for my needs portable camcorder, and experimented with editing quite a bit. By 2012 I was ready for a more serious video-optimized mirrorless camera, designed for both photography and independent film-making, with wonderful lenses and filters. I invested in high quality sound, light, and stabilization equipment, and studied media production in Californian colleges, choosing the best teachers. I spent uncountable hours gathering footage in all possible positions and under all angles that came to mind, training my hands and body to be one with the camera.
I tested some of my film editing ideas. I divided the time between jobs and art, aiming to increase the time I could paint and make films. I happened to find a few worthy subjects, and a couple of my shorts were officially selected for film festivals as a result. However, I could not make it to the public viewing events for networking, even in Santa Monica. My screenplays - one fiction based on a real story, and one documentary script - did not find any readers other than my friends and professors, not that I tried.
Producing a film and bringing it to viewers requires significant investment of time and money, the outcomes are uncertain till the very end, so I intent to plan such projects very well in the future.
Switching from Oils to Acrylics
In this century, I attempted to switch from oil painting to acrylic twice. Oils dry slowly, it can take up to a year for a painting to get ready for a varnish, and therefore one needs large studio space to organize the workflow. I also breathed too much solvents over the years, and started doubting other qualities of oil materials.
The first attempt to switch in early 2000s was disastrous: I managed to create multiple acrylic paintings, but could not fall in love with the medium. Finally, years later, after an extensive research and experimentation, I finally found my way with acrylics. Then, still wishing to use some oil techniques, I expanded into aquarelle, after looking down to it my whole life. My successes with watercolor were mostly due to my appreciation of zen ink and watercolor tradition - I was longing to submerge into meditational zenga since 1990s. I also picked up my style in charcoal, pastel, and other water and dry media.
I have noticed that I tend to use these media differently than other artists, probably because of my rooted fascination with oils. During group work and sketching sessions, I also realized that I work significantly faster, and tend to be bothered with artificially imposed limits and guidance. I started a college course to participate in life figure drawing, and maybe get a Master of Arts down the road, but academia felt not only shockingly unsuitable for art, but also time-wasting. On the day my lovely professor nervously laughed about cubism and made us vote for our works with stickers, I understood I was in the wrong place.
My favorite genre for big projects is abstract portrait, but mostly I paint my ideas and feelings. I have summarized my style in this general artist's statement.
Present and Plans
In the next 10 years, I plan to extend my body of work in fine art, and to make at least one feature documentary film, and several ultra-shorts. In 2015 - 2017 I spent almost all my available time on building my collection, creating over hundred finished pieces. Now I need to sign, fix, and exhibit them. I am working on art series for gallery exhibitions, and on a few independent and promotional film projects.
In video interview and in portrait photography, I love showing people their own depth and beauty, and letting others discover fascinating personalities through my digital work.
Thank you for reading!