FORM AND INSPIRATION
How would you describe your work?
I work in a variety of mediums, including magazines, books, music, film, and portrait commissions. I would in general define my work as mixed media, but I do use charcoal and graphite pencils a lot every day, which has become quite a pleasant habit for me.
When did you decide to become an artist?
When I was a child, I remember my older sister had some caricature and portrait sketches in her high school notebooks that I was drawn to... but of course being her personal notebooks she'd never let me borrow them, so instead I decided to grab my colored pencils and began to draw whatever popped into my head.
By the time I turned 17 I was taking online courses in both traditional and digital art. I then enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, where I took an interest in charcoals, and have been working with them ever since.
What sources have influenced or inspired you?
I started off making drawings based on movies and books, as well as copying the masterworks of influential artists like John Singer Sargent, Ilya Repin, and Nikolai Fetchin; Sargent and Repin are still my favorites to this day.
Finding new sources of inspiration has in fact become a habit for me. Apart from visual art, my core inspiration comes from Russian literature, and the book community in general—I love to read and listen to audiobooks. As for music, I listen to classical (and folk-inspired classical music), traditional, and heavy metal, depending on what my subject is. If I were drawing something from say the 18th or 19th century for example, classical or traditional music is preferable because it keeps my current theme in focus.
I think it’s very important to draw inspiration from imagery that you are really intrigued by. For me, I love looking at the Victorian and Edwardian eras and their art, and also have a fascination with symmetry, shape and form composition, texture, and color. All of this fuels my work, and the ongoing development of my style.
Can you say more about your style and creative process?
My own style and technique has evolved and continues to evolve in a subconscious way. Firstly, I come up with ideas through a process of brainstorming in my sketchbook, linking together words (sources, styles, moods, music, etc). This helps me to develop a specific focus, and I continue to refine these themes as the work progresses.
Next I start drawing small thumbnail sketches that serve as reminders as to what the most important element(s) are in the drawing, e.g. focusing on the detail of the eyes, and letting everything else remain loose. Then finally I start working from life or with a reference photo, in a way where I'm able to express myself and stay true to my overall vision of the piece.
What projects are you presently working on, and what goals do you have for the future?
I’m currently filling my sketchbooks with bookish subjects, and intend to showcase them on a large scale in a gallery soon. My next goal is then to find, or perhaps I should say create, my own customized art studio. I also hope someday I’ll be appointed as an instructor for Muggle art classes at Hogwarts, ha!
As of right now I honestly believe I've accomplished something personal in my work, including things I never thought I'd achieve through making art... but who knows, perhaps in some 10 or 20 years I’ll be a little older and wiser, and will hopefully still be creating and traveling as much as I can. The only thing that's certain is I’ll have evolved as a person, and as an artist.