Various artists throughout the country were asked questions about their artistic influences. It was fun to be a part of this creative project and I decided to share the interview with my followers.
1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist ?
As a child I can't recall a day without a pencil, a brush, or a book in my hand. My family was encouraging my sister and I to be creative. Due to the Soviet era, and non existence of electronic devices we used our imagination by painting, drawing, making up our own stories in handmade books, cutting out and dressing up the paper-dolls, writing a family newspaper, constructing mini-theaters out of shoe boxes, supplying them with cardboard furniture, and our own mini-artworks.
Living in the historical center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Saint Petersburg; we, literally, lived right behind the corner of several National museums:
My Dad often took my sister and I to the museums where I could see first hand the works of the famous artists.
My first introduction to the Old Dutch Masters inspired me to paint my own still life paintings. I was stunned when I saw great marine scenes of Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, or portraits of the society and Italian country scenes by the artist Karl Brullov.
But the most and the first inspirational group of people in my life were my relatives. Grandma Maria was an exceptional craft artist. Her needlepoint and lace hand crafted artworks were amazing. My Dad, Nikolai, painted, made sculptures and created beautiful ceramics. Both, Dad and Grandma, shared their knowledge with me. My mom, Larisa, worked as an engineer and taught me drafting and perspective. Another Grandma Vera, a famous engineer in metallurgy, in her retirement years got obsessed with gardening, which definitely influenced my love to Nature.
2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?
My artist’s goal is to achieve a balance and harmony between the beauty provided by Nature and the ability of the artist to convey this beauty on two dimensional surfaces. When this harmony is accomplished it evokes a visual experience and generates the emotions between the viewer and the painting. I believe that watercolor is the medium that can do it all.
My passion is painting with watercolors, my main style is contemporary realism, yet I am also interested in abstract paintings and illustrations.
I do want to try all styles and explore all possibilities in art.
Only one rule will be followed religiously: it will be beautiful. I know I can do it. I have only one challenge along the way; the shortness of the linear time of this one life on Earth :0)
3. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I love to see the eyes of my art collectors when they receive the artwork. One look worth thousand words.
A lot of time I communicate to my customers electronically, and send artworks by mail, so I receive heart warming e-mails.
All of them are important for me. They melt my artist's soul, they give me wings.
Here, I want to mention one, that was quite memorable.
Last year, I completed a commission piece for my customer. The artwork was a reflection of the poem that was given me before the process. The story was written, my job was to paint it:
When the painting was finished and the customer looked at it, she said: Irina, if in your life you painted only ONE painting,THIS one; your life purpose as an artist would be accomplished right there!
4. What is your dream project?
Strangely enough, I have no dream project.
Maybe because I try to make my dreams come true.
I trust my intuition,
I go with the flow.
The Artist's life do bring me projects by serendipity. A good example was a Jam Label project when a customer from Ireland was contacting me offering a long-term illustration assignment, which reminded me how much I love realistic paintings and botanical art:
I am so grateful to ALL my art collectors and customers! They make me tick.
5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)
I admire artists that can see the beauty of the world and have the courage to share this beauty with us.
I kneel before the artists that polish their skill and make their craft better and better year after the year. And if the hand starts shaking and brush might not "listen to" the mind, these artists find the way to continue their shine and pass the knowledge.
I respect the artists that sell their art without selling their soul.
I appreciate when the artists help their clients to feel that they are the part of the creative process (in case of commission paintings). And if the customer is purchasing already made artwork or print, I admire the ability of the artist to invite the viewer to "live" the artwork, to be a part of the story, to feel united with the beauty of the art-piece.
If I name a few artists here, the post will not be enough.
Ok, I'll try:
Fiodor Tolstoy, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilia Repin, Karl Briulov, Pieter Claesz, Rafael, Michelangelo, Nikolai Dudorov, Maria Batkova, Steve Hanks, Artemisia Gentilleschi, Henry Matisse, James Tissot, Patience Brewster, Jacqueline Gnott, Judith Leyster, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Beatrix Potter, Vera Lysenko, August Renoir. Berthe Morisot, John Stuart Ingle, Elena Bazanova, Jan Kunz, Birgit O'Connor, Alfredina Nocera, Claude Monet, Tan Chun Chiu, Henrietta Johnston, and many many many more!