Can you describe your background? Where were you born and what was your profession before deciding to become an artist?
I was born in Russia’s Siberia in the city of Novosibirsk. My father is a painter and my mother is an art historian and in 2001 they moved to Barcelona in Spain. I remained in Russia and graduated from university with a degree in International Relations, followed by a Postgraduate Degree in Banking and Finance. During my studies, I was also modelling for various high fashion brands and appeared on numerous magazine covers.
Following my studies, I worked in in the Global Partnerships departments for one of largest banks in Russia. In 2013, I decided to leave my job in Russia and pursue a career as an artist in New York. This drastic change was inspired by a period I spent in Italy which prompted a time of personal reflection and change. While spending time in cathedrals, observing the silence and reflections of coloured light from the stained glass windows, I felt an almost spiritual desire to start creating my own art.
What influence does your childhood and parents have in your development as an artist?
I grew up in a very creative and cultured household where we had an extensive library filled with art history and literature. My favourite childhood activity was sitting by the fireplace and reading these books, completely absorbed in illustrations of historical masterpieces.
My mother would also take me to the university where she lectured so I was constantly exposed to art historical scholarship. In the mid 1990’s my father opened the first art gallery in my home town. He was a well established art dealer and painter at the time and I would spend hours as a little girl watching him paint in his studio.
At what point did you decide to commit to making art? What impelled you to take such a radical change in your life?
My decision to commit to art making occurred at a time of changes in my life when I discovered a new understanding of myself and my identity. The language of art
cultural and temporal boundaries and I love the idea of creating a universal, emotional language in my paintings that communicates with the viewer.
In addition to drawing inspiration from the architecture and stained glass windows of cathedrals in Italy, I was also completely absorbed by the Renaissance masters. Seeing their famous works inspired me to create a sense of visual drama and depth in my own paintings.
Describe how you begin and then complete a painting?
Most of my paintings are made during transitional periods in my life. I draw on my imagination and emotions. I see or feel something internally, and then it is expressed through the process of art making.
I prefer to create works in a series, as I never feel one painting is enough to fully express the complexity of human experience. The works are very layered and develop gradually over time, and for me this is a beautiful metaphor for life, which is constantly in flux.
It is very difficult to I know when a work is finished. The completion of a composition is instinctual like everything in my work, including the bold choice of colours which correspond to feelings I’m having at the time. Often, I need some time away from my paintings and I’ll put them aside and come back a bit later to make adjustments with fresh eyes. It is a lively and intimate process.
What materials and techniques do you use in your art?
I mainly work with acrylics as they are fast drying and flexible. My works are very layered and acrylics allow me to work quickly, adding colour and texture that produce an ‘impasto’ on canvas, almost resembling a sculptural ‘relief’.
How would you describe your paintings? What are you trying to achieve and to communicate?
I see my paintings as portals through which the viewer can observe and explore my interior life. I work on a large scale because I want the canvases to envelop the viewer. I see them as abstract landscapes, imbued with swirls of vibrant colours that reflect various emotional states whilst inviting the viewer to wander through an imaginary world.
Do your paintings have a subject?
My paintings are abstract. The ‘subject’ is deliberately ambiguous, however my aim is to create a spatial experience for the viewer, in which they can observe fields of colour and consider the experience of life.
How has your art developed in the past two years?
Studying at Slade School of Fine Art in London has developed my technical approach to painting and drawing whilst also broadening my understanding of multidisciplinary practices such as sculpture, photography and performance. These genres are all incorporated in my paintings in terms of movement, texture, volume, colour and space, which I explore in each work.
My earlier work was more figurative and smaller in scale. However, I’ve always been interested in how movement and energy can be expressed in a two dimensional painting. So my compositions have become increasingly abstract and larger in scale.
Can you describe the body of work that you are currently making? Are you working on an exhibition?
I’m currently developing a series of large-scale abstract paintings. I’m working on a few canvases simultaneously, experimenting with new colours and shapes that convey my interest in energy and emotional states.
This is an extremely busy and productive period for me as I will participate in various international art fairs and exhibitions including the Biennale at Cannes, The Other Art Fair in London and the New York Art Expo. I also have a solo show at the Gallery 8 in Mayfair planned for December 2017.
What can you imagine doing in ten years?
I’m still a young artist and in 10 years I see myself in a spacious studio with lots of natural light, creating floor to ceiling works that capture what it feels like to be alive. I’m very inspired by artists like Marina Abramović, Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson and Anselm Kiefer. Although these artists work very differently, they all explore the human condition in their art. I hope to develop my own visual language that reflects my personal engagement with human experience. While institutional and commercial success in the next 10 years would be wonderful, I plan to devote my entire life to art making so it’s an ongoing journey.
What would you like to achieve as an artist?
I returned to making art when I turned thirty after moving from the middle of nowhere to the centre of the world. This experience affected my sense of self but also the way I view the world around me. It is important that I returned to making art at a more mature point in my life as I feel it has helped me bring experience and a heightened sense of consciousness to my work.
My paintings can be read as interior landscapes and psychological self-portraits while still achieving a visual language that speaks to individuals regardless of religion, culture or creed. In life, we are all searching for human connection and if my paintings can foster this and the viewer’s self-discovery, then I will have achieved my purpose as an artist