I have been told by my favourite auntie that as a 2-year-old kid I sat on the pavement outside my parent’s house in Russia with my feet in the gutter digging with a broken stick. I liked scraping and scratching at the dirt, she said I found it soothing. Aged 5, I was dragged kicking and screaming into school. I didn’t like being there. The place was petty, cold and heartless. The only times I felt at all within myself was when we had morning play or did painting.

We made pictures with the powder paints; mixing the colours soothed me. This is what I’ve kept on doing (and have always protected within myself ) even when I was working shuffling asphalt in our small town before I left for America.

Art has always been what I go to. This uncompromising streak is how I have aligned myself with the universe: It is very simple and ordinary because it is nothing more than expressing my nature: I’m an artist and doing what I’m meant to be doing: I believe that art can be defined as line and form coming through the hand – the head, and even the heart, somehow have to get out of the way.

To the ego ridden individual to become an artist gives them a tin-pot identity and the elevated status they crave. Ironically just picture making is undervalued. But digging in the gutter with a stick can change the universe just as well.

Curators and Artists

  • oils
  • outsider