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The Fragility of a Russian Artist

by Angelina Saule

Our interview with Sergei takes place in his classroom, where he teaches children art at a community centre in Sestoretsk. The classroom attests to the remnants of bustling, inspired activity: half-dried pallettes, pieces of magazines strewn about, paintbrushes washed and drying on a rack, the walls heavy with a typical portrait of an environment that breathes with creativity. Pouring tea, heaping out grapes and designating slices of cake, Sergei continues the warmth already emanating from his surroundings.

Flora: Sergei's pictogram of the Classical
mythological character.

Sergei’s art is somewhat Surreal, yet overlaced with notions of Classicism. Beings who lack real faces, and real identities, hover upon a world of fatalism and desolation. Angular and oblong faces stare at a world which is incomprehensible due to its Surrealistic landscape. Even flowers seem to possess a twinge of inevitable death, or irony, as their colours seem to protrude without reason from the classically inspired landscape. “Actually, I see myself to be a part of the Western tradition of painting, as my principle sources of inspiration would be mainly western painters: Dali, da Vinci, etc. I can’t really say that various schools of art in the Russian tradition holds that much sway for me....”

Leda: A commisioned portrait of a young lady
depicted as the Ancient Greek character.
In terms of methodolgy, he also regards this process as being more western inclined. At first, an idea is born, then the idea wallows within the girth of the soul, then a process of suffering is undergone regarding the creation, a rough draught with the intended dimensions is sketched, and only then may the painting process may begin. This process can take several months, and is still fraught with tension.

A winter's walk: People shaped as vessels,
representing the isolation and containment
of individuals.
Sergei, as artists the world over, supplements his passion by other means of toil. Luckily, his daytime job is still connected to his world of art, and passing on this knowledge and inspiration to his students.He has had several exhibitions in St. Petersburg, including in the highly prestigious Manage. Like artists from the Tsarist era, he has also been commissioned to do several portraits, and is receiving more and more interest in this field. Despite this, is the artist in modern day Russia becoming endangered? In Sergei’s opinion,an artist working now in the 21st century, as those who worked under the Soviets or the Tsars, still face difficulties: whether it is internal or external struggles, “an artist is always living on the margins and expressing this state, despite which era they find themselves in......”

Youth with a snake: A Quasi self-portrait
of the artist as a young man. Again, the subject
of the painting is depicted within the realms
of Classicism.

Water and wind

Sergei can be contacted via his website: Or via the journalist
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