1. How did the art of painting enter your life, when did you decide to become a painter?
At the age of 16 I’ve caught a cold. I had nothing to do so I tried to paint in water-colours. I painted some pictures similar to posters. I liked it so I continued to paint oftener and oftener. For 4-5 years I was being an amateur. Then I decided that I need professional education, passed exams and was admitted to the University. Since that time my education and self-education haven’t been stopping. The more I paint the more I want to paint.
2. Who were your most important teachers?
My University Professor, Academician of Russian Academy of Arts Andrey Kurnakov (http://www.rah.ru/exhibitions/detail.php?ID=14030&sphrase_id=19509) has influenced my personality and my work in a great extent. Unfortunately he died 5 years ago. He was the amazing person who above all took care about his students.
3. How would you describe your style?
My style is realistic and impressionistic. I use bright and saturated colors for transfer impressions. I like to experiment with volume. I make a distant view with transparent layer and a foreground with pastose painting.
4. Do you paint a lot pleinair, in the open nature?
Yes, in the main I paint landscapes in the open nature. It’s my favorite type of painting. I like country landscapes and wild nature very much. I like to wake up very early, at 4 a.m. and to paint when it starts to dawn. In the evening my lovely time is 6-11 p.m. Colors change quickly in that time. Painting in the open nature never get bored. Also sometimes I paint still-life.
5. Which are the landscapes most influential upon your works? Tell us about these!
I like to transfer states of nature and weather. In my childhood I spent long time at the countryside. Now I continue to visit country in summer and to wander unexplored and unsettled places. There are many beautiful landscapes in Russia – forests, lakes, fields, rivers. They are so variety from season to season.
6. Your works have a high degree of three-dimensionality, sometimes you even put an object on a 2D painting (f.e. „Щука на блесну“).
I seek for new forms and 2D painting is my innovating approach. The frame is continuation of the painting. The picture and the frame are integrated art-object. It requires woodcarving skills. It’s labor- and time-consuming process. Therefore there are not a lot of works in this style (Cats and Mice; The pike; The sail). I have many new ideas about it but they are difficult in performing. It’s my experimental works and I hope I will return to 2D painting later.
7. Do you follow contemporary Western art? What is your general opinion on it, are there artists you appreciate?
Yes, I follow contemporary Western art. I suppose it tends to avant-garde and abstraction. The great emphasis is on emotion expression not on painting technique. Some of artists even don’t have painting skills or they have skills but paint simplistically, with clear colors without compound colors. Also I see another tendency. Artists try to paint super-realistically. Their pictures are like photos. It requires mastership undoubtedly but finally we get picture without specific painting features - volume, air, perspective.
These trends are interesting for me. I see them in Russia too but in a lesser degree.
Among Western artists I appreciate Mark Arian. His paintings are excellent.
8. Do you see big differences between the Russian and the Western art of these days?
Yes, there are many adherents of old art schools among Russian artists. These are Repin’s, Serov’s, Savrasov’s, Polenov’s, Ayvazovskiy’s schools. The academic drawing, composition, complex color combinations, realness of picture, aerial and linear perspectives are very important for such artists. This tendency is particularly strong in the province, in the small towns.
9. Is there something that Western art could or should learn from the Russians?
I suppose our societies are in different social contexts now so they need different kinds of art. Western artists can paint academically but it's not in demand now. The same way Russian masters are interested in modern art and try themselves in postmodern art but it's not a mainstream. These distinctions are not good or bad. They are the fact. I think Western and Russian art must communicate, try to understand each other, to comprehend meanings are expressed by art. Art is the best way to reach agreement when words lead to miscommunication.
10. Who are the contemporary Russian artists you'd especially recommend us?
Alexy Pleshkov (Алексей Плешков)
Stanislav Brusilov (Станислав Брусилов)
11. You give free online lessons for people, who want to learn painting themselves... tell us something about these „webinars“.
Some time ago I noticed that many of people want to create but don't know how. They search for books, guides, and videos about it. Businessmen, housewives, physicians, teachers and others are interested in developing their creative nature. Moscowites can visit my studio. They study oil painting bases and improve their academic drawing skills. However many of people can't do that because they live in another cities and countries or they don't have enough money. So I decided to give such free online lessons for all who want to learn painting. During 3 hours I show how to paint the picture. My assistants wrote down places where my online students live. It's very wide geography – from Australia to USA. But the most part of students is from Russia of course. I try to make taking part in these webinars more interesting and comfortable. So I will conduct them at a special web room on my website www.k-artina.ru after 1st January 2016.
It's wonderful, I suppose, that more and more people pursue art.
12. Any last words...?
It's not necessary to be a professional painter for creating beautiful things. Creativity can be expressed in any activity: science, relations, life. It's one of the main part in the chain of world cognition. So let people create in their spheres.
And I want to thank my wife for her help in interview translation.