When did you first realize you were an artist?
I am still not sure I’m aware myself, because I have always been drawing. I do not have a memory of when I started. To pursue art has always been something completely natural to me. I have always wanted to do this, and thus, in a way, perhaps I have always considered myself an artist. Back in high school, I only had to choose between art and sports. The decision was not hard at all to prefer painting.
Could you tell us about your work?
My work takes up almost all of my time and, apart from the paintings, my sister and I work together to write Orthodox icons that are quite labor intensive and require full concentration. But I started taking less and less icon orders, so that I have more time for my paintings. There are weeks that I have no free days. I am not saying that the work is hard, on the contrary, it makes me feel good and satisfied but sometimes I just need a “restart” and do nothing for a while. A lot of people I have talked to think that being an artist is easy work and that’s not exactly the way it is.
What artists have influenced your work?
There’s so many, the list is so long. There are artists that I like and that have influenced me indirectly in almost every movement. I really like impressionism, post-impressionism, Barbizon, and I have a soft spot for American tonalists. Almost every single time I take a look at a John Francis Murphy painting, I get an urge to paint. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jules Dupre’, Dennis Sheehan, Anders Zorn also. Like I said, the list is very long. I am not one of the people that are addicted to just one painting movement. Every style has a right look on reality and life in its own way, and that’s what’s important. And, when a painting looks evident and doesn’t make you question what the author has painted to me that’s enough and sometimes this just takes a single glance.
What is your creative inspiration?
Everything and anything can make an impression on me but there is simply no way for me to paint everything, even though I have the desire. I paint things that make me feel good and calm. About 10 years ago I was talking to a colleague and friend of mine. I told him that the only thing I would never paint is a landscape and now that is exactly what inspires me the most. So, the expression “never say never” is 100% true for me right now. I used to look for meaning, deep philosophy, or a state of mind in my works, while now, I just want to paint and this is enough.
What other interests do you have besides creating art?
Music is a very big passion of mine. My work allows me to constantly listen to music and I simply don’t like the quiet. When I have the time, I watch movies so I can purge my consciousness. Unfortunately, I rarely read. The rest of the time, unwillingly, I catch myself thinking about paintings, which can be quite frustrating from time to time because it seems like that’s the only thought that’s going through my head.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
Unfortunately, I can’t give any good advice. I am not a good business example, although I’m trying to make it by myself. Most of the time I have been dependent on art dealers and galleries. The good part is that over the years, I’ve established good relationships with them and I can always count on them, as they can always count on me.
Could you give some advice about the business side of being an artist?
Don’t be afraid to experiment because that’s learning. Have a broad view on painting because a person always has something new to learn. That makes me sound like a mentor a little bit, and I don’t consider myself a mentor, but this is really practical and working advice.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
I really wish I knew but I don’t. At least the good thing is that I’ll have another 10 years to surprise myself. 🙂
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