How did you spend your childhood and then as a teen what were your dreams?
My dream to become an artist eventually appeared when I was a child, who loved to look through various illustrations more than watching cartoons and playing with other kids. When I was 3.5 years old my grandma showed me an album of Flemish greatest master Ieronimus Bosch and I was literally hypnotized by the magical power of his canvases. The metaphorical meanings and religious symbols weren’t readable for me at that time as I was too young but, I was obsessed with the idea of copying the human figures and creating the same epic compositions. It was the time when my mother opened for me the poetically illustrated book called “Women in Islam”, and I discovered the completely different world that appeared as a real fairytale.
At the age of 12, I discovered Francisco Goya and Gustav Dore. Soon, I realized that their expressive manner influences me much as a novice artist. Eventually, I started to sort out that the colors attract me less than the shapes of the objects, composition and harmonic proportions of the things round. I started understanding that doing the portraits and daily architectural sketching was more useful for my artistic education.
From my teen years until today, I have invested a lot of time in studying the history of the fine arts. At present, I am more excited to watch the masterpieces by Edward Hopper and Rene Magritte.
Share your conditions for drawing? The studio, the light? How do you start….
I don’t consider the space to be the main condition – if creating is in your blood, you can produce art everywhere and anywhere! The only thing I really care for is to be fully devoted to what I do. Therefore, I prefer to draw alone. I don’t have any fear of an empty page, I do not struggle with ideas like mostly artists do. I always know from early beginning what I want to see as a result and I am able to create with a clear vision and a determined goal.
For the past couple of years you have been living in and out of Russia, but for drawing you prefer a studio situation. It seems comfortable but don’t you ever feel to take yourself into other situations or places to make your work?
I prefer to work in a comfortable studio, so true, sometimes I listen to the music or sometimes stay in the total silence like a monk. Being an artist can turn into real torture especially if when you do not limit your desires and do not create a certain routine, which really reminds the monk’s discipline. I do not about other creative people but for me discipline is important.
What is your creative process like?
I work every day, usually morning time as I am an early bird. When you are an artist, you cannot persuade yourself “today is my day-off”. You feel the vital need to work daily and stay distanced from those people and circumstances, which can stop you in your work process or artistic development.
My art is for people, not for my ego, and it helps me to sort out what kind of ideas are really valuable regardless of what can bring the cheap “today” recognition or the kind of fame which is superficial.
Who do you think was a big influence on your work?
I read the story of French sculptor Oghust Rodin and felt extremely inspired. I fully share his artistic insight on the Beauty of the human body which should be shown to the public and I admire his artistic path, full of the obstacles which as a result helped him to develop his talent.
What’s been your greatest artistic success? How do you feel about the achievements?
My greatest achievement is not still my artistic success, but the full change in my life to become an artist. Every bad day when the despair captures my mind, I remember how scary and hard it was to reject from the so called stability and overcome the obstacles and my family negative forecasts and make my dream come true.
Nowadays, working and exhibiting around Europe and residing in Dubai seems to me a miracle that happened to me only because I believed from early childhood that my mission is to be an artist and share my magical world of art with my audience.
Has your style changed over the years? The signature element seeped into your work and refined it and so on….normally some artists keep struggling with deciding what would be their focus in their work but in your case it did not go by…..
The question what is my manner and the way how to express my ideas technically never worried me. From the very start of my career, I always feel more attracted towards the shapes of the objects, composition and harmonic proportions, prospective rules than the colors and the game of lights and shadows. My primary media mostly include pencil and charcoal and now at this point of time I also do all in black and red ink, and colorful acrylic.
I love drawing more than painting, though I never enact any boundaries. I like to make the graphic black and white works setting the accent in the specific symbol with one or two colors only. Sometimes I feel that the colors distract the attention of the viewer from the concept of the artwork…the fine arts history reminded me that before the basic colors were only black, white, red and yellow, and based in the 4 types of the temperament, so the great masters like Leonardo Da Vinci and El Greco used mostly the reasonable color scheme.
What’s the key element in your opinion to create a good artwork composition? How do you see the degrees of simplicity or complexity in your art?
I never “compose” my artworks and never develop them during the drawing process. Before starting a drawing, I know how the composition will possibly appear and what impression it will make in the end. The ideas come to my mind clear enough to transfer them on the paper easily.
As far as the degree of complexity concerns, I consider my art to be rather “intellectual”, and I like to watch the art lovers guessing my artistic motifs and unexpectedly finding their own explanation.
Do you ever experience creative blocks? How do you encounter and deal with them?
Never or never yet. I am generous with my ideas and always ready to share them with my viewers if I had that inspirational crisis.
Talk about how did 2016 go, what were your expectation and from where you stand now how do you feel about it and foresee future directions/opportunities?
Well 2016 was a year that gave me the unique chance to explore the feedback to my artworks from Arabic culture. Being nominated for the category of Emerging Artists Award at World Art Dubai 2016, I realized that this area slowly turns to be the great art hub around the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and that I should be the part of this historical moment.
Personally, I have a great passion for Arabic and Islamic art traditions and will be glad to realize one day that I managed to combine them with my European background and admiration of the eastern harmonic geometry and certain rules. Honestly speaking, the more limits the cultural discipline places for me, the more challenging and inspiring my work becomes.
And, with this we concluded the interview with world’s one of the most amazing contemporary Russian artists – Liudmila Panenkova.