When people ask how I got into art I always say that I was artistically inclined from as far back as I can remember. But I credit my grandparents for developing my interest in art. My grandfather was a pretty good self-taught artist. He was a brilliant engineer and an inventor but he always doodled on every piece of paper he could find. He was the one who bought me my first set of crayons and was always encouraging me to draw. He got sick with cancer at the relatively young age, and I didn’t get to see him often after that, but during his hospital stay he would make whimsical drawings for me. I always looked forward to getting them. My grandfather passed when I was 8, and my grandmother picked up where he left. She couldn’t draw or paint but she had great appreciation of art, and would take me to art museums and exhibitions as often as she could. Her gift for my 16th birthday was a trip to St.Petersburg (Leningrad back then) – the most amazing place on Earth if you love art. Hermitage museum alone is magnificent.
When it was time for me to choose a career I stayed on the practical side and got degree in computer science. Turned out it was a smart move on my part because I happened to move to USA in 1991 and was able to find a job in the field. My early years in USA were spent growing my roots here and starting family, so art went on the back burner. When my kids turned 2 (twins), a friend of mine introduced me to ebay, and I saw that there was a great demand for artistic clothes for kids. I am not a great seamstress but idea of appliques appealed to me, so I got a sewing machine, lots of swatches and colorful fabrics and plain denim overlalls for kids – and that’s how “Happypotamus” boutique was born. I was doing pretty good, but this side business took a lot of time, and my work area, which was in the basement looked like an explosion at the textile factory. So after almost 5 years of creating custom appliqued overalls and jeans I called it quits.
Fast forward to 2009. I was browsing Amazon website looking for books on art, and it suggested that I might like a book by Kelly Rae Roberts “Taking flight”. I guess I am the one that judges book by it’s cover (and wine by it’s label), because the artwork on the cover really appealed to me, so I bought this book. Turned out the author quit her boring office job and took a plunge as a full-time artist. Combination of her story and her artwork was very inspiring to me, so the very next day I went to the store to get paints, brushes and canvas and that’s how it all began.
I am drawn to bright colors and various textures, so you can see that I almost always incorporate elements of collage in my works – anything will do – paper, tissue, plastic netting, metal mesh, glass, etc. The inspiration comes from different sources. I am a quotes aficionado, so many times I come across words that really speak to me, and in my mind they transform into the painting. Sometimes I have an image that just pops in my head. And sometimes inspiration simply fails me, and I have to make myself doodle in hopes that something would come to me. And it usually does.
I use mostly acrylic paints in my work because they are extremely versatile, and because they dry fast. I am not a very patient person, so watching paint dry is the worst torture. In fact, one of very important tools I use is a hair dryer to make the paint dry even faster.
I am always looking to expand my skillset, so recently I took a class in mosaics, and I got hooked. It really appealed to the side of me that loves to assemble jigsaw puzzle. Making a mosaic is similar to putting a puzzle together, only you have control over each piece and can make it fit – it just doesn’t get better than that. I haven’t found my mosaic voice yet, I am trying different styles and techniques, but just as with my paintings – I am inevitably drawn to colors and various textures. I made few pieces that were actually a combination of painting and mosaic.
My works has been accepted in various local and national juried shows and reside and private and public collections all over USA and in some other countries.