Andrei, your work is impossible to find on the open market.
A: It’s true. I don’t work in order or for the general market. I’m an artist, but not a craftsman.
There is information that your work is mainly in the collections of big business and “oligarchy” Among them there are people who buy constantly and at prices of objects of investment quality. Why is this so? Is it related to the fact that you work with powerful energies and secret knowledge in the process of creating your works?
A: It’s information under the heading of “top secret” (laughs). My paintings are bought by different people, from different fields. There are also owners of large fortunes among them. Some of them buy art only through dealers and art consultants, considering the purchase as an investment, but many people get to know each other personally. The author is always pleased and interesting because the research curiosity seeks to capture the very spark burnt out by the impulse of the first live acquaintance: the subject (viewer) and object (painting). In the future, I will certainly work on this impression.
I think that people with commercial gifts are particularly sensitive to the choice of art objects and the formation of their own collection. It is very important for them to reflect in it both their artistic taste and their hobbies and status. But there is something that carries into reverse reproduction that belongs to transcendent categories: the reflection of the owner of the work. These people capture this connection very well because their “inner ear” is maximally tuned to search for their own, correct energy fluctuations, and is able to determine the level of Co-performance in a matter of moments.
As for the secret knowledge. This is a very controversial question. For young children, the multiplication table, the law of gravity, and the circulatory cycles of man remain secret knowledge for some time. But then they learn, learn, experience. Someone in their desire to know goes further, then even further, beyond the limits of everyday understanding and interpretation of life. I am one of those who seek to consolidate modernity with ancient philosophical teachings, translating it all into painting. I’m now working a lot with symbolism that carries the memory of millennia. Today, the role, power, and influence of symbols have not lost any of its power. But the knowledge about them, for many, was lost or forgotten. Those people who find themselves in my workshop, becoming owners of my work, have not lost it. Perhaps that’s what helped them to become who they are today. Definitely, knowledge is power, and the embodiment of power in a pictorial image is a real aesthetically framed power.
Personally, it is my opinion that by possessing your painting, a person feels similar, or as similar as possible to the impulse of inspiration that you received to create this work. What inspires you to create?
A: My work is the main thing in my life not to do, which I can’t do. But, creating the work itself in the material, so to speak, is one of the final, final stages. I don’t write in the style of abstract expressionism and my work is the result of a long reflection and elaboration on this or that issue of cultural and religious processes. But I am not occupied by the topical contextual aspects of human existence. The subjects of my interest are large, structural things that many philosophers, publicists, monks, theologians, occultists, and spiritualists have devoted their lives to studying. I am inspired by the very idea of considering the cultural diffusion of knowledge of such matters as good, evil, power, wealth, power, and divinity. The theoretical part, in which the processes of reflection, processing, and self-probation take a very long time, belongs to the preparatory stage. It also refers to the long process of preparing the material; I treat it very responsibly and scrupulously. And only after that do I start to create. The whole work process for an observer may seem monotonous and mechanical, but in this act of the play, there is the largest amount of that very sacral impulse that is transferred to me from the farthest corners of my subconsciousness. Such is the procedural mix of the combination of mind-born teachings and mystical games of irrational.
Tell us about the symbols in your work and the sources of your knowledge. Is your work a guide to this knowledge?
A: It is impossible to deny the fact that throughout its history, man has lived in a world of symbols. He himself produces them, keeps them, creates a reality that is filled with them, which, in my opinion, defines all the structures of being.
When an artist, composer, or poet collects and considers the symbolic systems, he moves on to reveal the secret content and meaning, opening the way to a world where the viewer meets his essence. If the world is deprived of symbols – it will remain empty naked mind, deprived of mystical intuition, and this will deprive humanity of the gift to create. For me, European existentialists, in particular Karl Jaspers, are very close to me in this respect, with his tendency to mark transcendence.
The use of the symbol is the main tool for modeling visual images and the contextual pillar of the idea and intent of the work. Symbols play a fundamental role in art.
Sources of knowledge? Hmm. Study literature, architecture, fine arts, music, dance. There are many answers. But, more questions. I travel a lot and go to places far enough away from the usual tourist route. I’m bound to read works on the cultural anthropology of these places. I spend a lot of time studying Taoist teachings and reading Buddhist texts. Of course, Far Eastern directions are not the only vector of my interests. Early Christian Gnostics and Neoplatonics are also a bottomless source of inspiration and knowledge. This is a period in which the concept of the duality is very vivid, in which symbols play an unimaginably important role.
I also visit a lot, the so-called “places of power”. But, I can’t and don’t want to talk about it. I write about it in my work, my discourse is there. Does my work become a medium for accumulated knowledge? Yes, definitely. It’s an immutable law of energy conservation.
Do you think your paintings are perceived as symbolized artifacts and talismans?
When I talk to my guests in my studio, I see that each of them consciously approaches the choice of objects around them. That’s why they came to me. The owners of my works prefer the “quiet world of things” to effective functionality. Like any cultural artifact, my works have a number of qualities that are sought after by people who appreciate their material and energy environment: aesthetics, conceptuality, energy. Each of these categories separately has its own symbolism. The totality of these elements is a powerful semantic series, which carries for many people the necessary configuration of intellectual and spiritual recharge. Will it become a talisman? If you understand everything I’m talking about, it will. An introspection is capable of many things…
When you look at your work, you are surprised by the plot and the highest quality materials. When you take one of them in your hands, you can feel the weight and quality … After all, the basis for most of your work – planks of trees of noble species?
A: Art for the strong in spirit and body (laughs) The material is really a very important part of my work. It equally plays a powerful symbolic element that plays a significant role in reading the whole idea. The wooden base of my works is an absolutely universal symbolic image of the Tree of Life. In addition to being cosmogonic, the tree embodies the life of a person seeking upward spiritual enlightenment. This material is sacral for the majority of cultures, so it carries functions of an energy talisman. For Christians, it is a cross on which Jesus was crucified, for the Hindu iconography the tree which has grown from a cosmic egg represents Brahma creating the material world. The inverted Cosmic Tree, whose roots feed on the spiritual energy of the sky and spread it to the outside world and downwards, is a favorite image in Kabbalah. The fruit of the Tree of Life can also symbolize immortality. In China, the peach tree is a symbol of longevity. Many other fruit-bearing trees are represented as the Tree of Life – sycamore in Egypt; almonds – in Iran; olive, palm or pomegranate – in other regions of Central Asia and in Semitic tradition. Such multilevel symbolism allows for a visual interpretation of multicultural relationships.
The technological process of creation is very interesting. You can see that you are using authentic techniques. Tell us about them.
A: Over the last few years, I’ve been maximally absorbed in creating works in classical icon-painting techniques. It is a really rare case when the modern secular artist creates non-religious pictures, observing all principles and rules of icon-painting technology.
The result of comprehension of all subtleties of this kind of painting became for me the second birth. It is true. This incredibly rich art language has given me long-awaited freedom and discipline, desire to put the necessary accents, to get rid of the necessity of vanity detail local and possibility at last to concentrate on global.
I underwent long training at icon painters and then honed my skills at artists-restorers. Since then, I can’t imagine my realization as an artist without a degree and concentrated process of preparation for work. It is a long way, but the quality is worth it. I knead levels myself, then make a graph (a slot for future images), open it with oil.
Gilding requires special attention and precision of the hand. This is a crucial stage, both in terms of technological perfection and in terms of saturation with the right energy. Gold is a soft metal, not only in terms of its physical characteristics. The noble aurum is capable of absorbing many thoughts and reasoning of a master while he is in the stage of active work, so it is important to keep the purity of thoughts for the energy purity of the picture. Mirror surfaces of gold leaf of the highest standard reflect the image of the beholder and there is the same ancient and unfathomable magic of the sacral symbol of the sun, power, and abundance.
Finally, we’d love it if you could share your creative plans for the near future with us.
A: Unfortunately, the global pandemic has dramatically changed my working and creative plans. Several major exhibitions in which I take part have been postponed indefinitely, as well as a number of negotiations about collaboration projects. But that was the reason why I started my long-planned research work and expanded the field of immersion of me as an artist in the technology of creating pictorial materials inherent to the works of old masters who created in the 15-19 centuries. It is a huge and time-consuming layer of work that fascinates me to the maximum and gives me the abyss of restrained and holy creative ecstasy.
Andrei, thank you for talking to me! We are waiting for your works to appear at the auctions and wish you successful deals in business and creativity!