1 ::: Why are you an artist Andrei?
It fascinates me that from basically nothing
- an empty canvas and a bunch of colors
on the palette I can create something
that awakes emotions, something that becomes
+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about
My current artist's statement is the result
of many tries. It's probably the best
I can do in terms of explaining what I
am trying to do:
My paintings dont express concrete
situations. They are an attempt to connect
with the unreachable, subtle side of being,
something that is beyond a verbal vocabulary.
When the connection happens I express
it through colors, lines and images. This
expression may be described as a careful
preservation of a spiritual state. Explaining
such painting is an unnecessary challenge.
My titles are the answer to this challenge,
more like a paying respect to tradition
with a twist of irony, humor or sarcasm.
Thats why they sound absurd. But
they serve the purpose to throw
the viewer away from the concrete perception
of the painting, to create an empty space
where the subtle will have a chance to
be born. My viewers have to be relaxed
in terms of not seeking for an immediate
answer. The subtle cant be born
and cant survive in the reality
of concrete questions and immediate answers.
We have enough rush and concreteness in
our everyday life. So dont rush
and ask me what this or that painting
means. I probably will diligently try
to explain, but my verbal explanation
will not give the whole spectrum of feelings
already expressed on the canvas, perhaps
it will do the opposite - to steer you
away from the truth. To ask for the immediate
answer from the piece of art is a steal.
+3 ::: The titles
of your paintings are sometimes quite
long. Could you explain how and why you
title them like you do?
My paintings are attempts to reflect my
complex views of reality. Titles in general
tend to narrow the focus of viewers. When
I create a title, my goal is to send viewers'
attention on a "detour", sort
of asking them to look at it from another
side, without directing them straight
to one point. This way I hope viewers
will approach my paintings in a more creative
+4 ::: What artists have influenced you,
formally studied art for nine years. Through
that time I had many favorites (one at
a time): Hieronymus Bosch, Van
Gogh, Paul Klee, Mark
Chagall, Pavel Filonov, Petrov-Vodkin,
Persian miniatures, native African, Latin
American, Chinese and Japanese traditional
art, to name a few. I heard that some
medical students experience symptoms of
studied diseases as if they really have
those diseases. So in the same way I was
consumed many times by a particular artist
+5 ::: What other interests do have (besides
years ago) I started sculpting. I started
with wood, and now I work more with welded
steel. After a long break, I also started
doing etchings again. Besides that I play
guitar, and write poetry. I think all
of these enrich each other, help me to
look at myself and the reality around
me from different perspectives.
::: What inspires you to paint and how
do you keep motivated when things get
tough in the studio?
The answer begins in the previous response.
When I feel exhausted from painting or
sculpting I switch activities. This helps
me to generate new ideas, so the next
time I will start on the next level of
::: How have you handled the business
side of being an artist?
I try to be organized. I know some artists
who are more able in terms of promoting
themselves. But in my case my wife and
her family help me a lot. Every artist
has to deal with it sooner or later. I
always remember the words of one well-known
Russian artist Vasily Vereshagin: "when
I paint - I am an artist, when I am finished
- I am a seller."
::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That is very hard to say. Right now I
hear many good responses from people at
my shows, and that means a lot to me.
I go to art museums and then come back
to my studio and I see the difference
energy-wise. I believe that people really
respond to the energy radiating from art.
That's my goal: to create art that is
charged with much more energy, so people
will really feel it.
::: Could you talk about your latest series
of paintings and what you are trying to
achieve with them?
Right now I am working on a
new series of paintings. It's a sharp
turn from my previous work which you can
see here or on my web site. I think many
people who know my work will be very surprised
when they see these new canvases. I want
to be more respectful of traditions developed
through the centuries before the impressionists
and other later movements. At the same
time I don't want to lose what I already
found in terms of my own visual language.
::: What advice would you give to an artist
just starting out?
I would advise any artist, no matter their
media or style: learn to draw. Nude figure,
portrait, hands are the most difficult.
The drawing process requires a tremendous
synthesis -- all you have is a sharp pencil,
but you must show a subject full of life.
It is very hard work for your hand and
brain. Look at the drawings of the old
masters and you will see how selective
and how exact their lines are. Try to
do the same and you will realize that
it's very hard. You will start understanding
with what dedication the artists of previous
generations achieved their mastery, and
it will help you see your own work differently.
Another piece of advice: don't make challenging
your audience a main priority. Start by
challenging yourself; it will generate
lots more energy. Then your viewers will
feel that energy and they will be involved
and challenged by it.