What constitutes contemporary art for you personally? 

For me, it is the only possible way of existence that justifies contemplating life. Art allows us to marvel at life itself and have thoughts associated with it when you can take pleasure indulging yourself in this process with impunity and self-contentment.

What is your role in today’s art scene? 

I am just an artist, and I create paintings. I believe that it is a contemplative process and not a search for development paths which the entire humanity could follow, it is more about capturing the moment.

What connects new and old art? 

Just the flow of time. Art is the same as time, in my opinion. The life style of people changes with time, events are always taking place, but the basics remain. It seems to me that in art it is essential to understand when the piece of art was created. Contemporary art is made here and now. You will be able to identify the exact moment, and you will not confuse it with any other. Art defines the concept of the present time. It is different for every single century.

What was the turning point in your career? 

There were no specific turning points, except that, from time to time I thought that I had no right to be exclusively an artist and that I had to do something else: be a photographer in a magazine, a film or theater production designer… At a certain point in time, I understood that art should be viewed as an integral entity, you are only changing instruments and fields of application. I do not make a distinction between working for money or out of a passion for art. It is a single area for me now.

Who influenced your art at different points in your life? 

Many people, or maybe not that many. First of all, my father who was a nuclear physicist. When I was born in 1977, he suddenly quit science and decided to become an artist. He started to paint, to make copies of Modigliani, Rockwell Kent paintings – everything that was considered significant at the time. When I turned seven, dad passed away. He had subscriptions to USA, Great Britain, and some other magazines with many beautiful images depicting architecture and art, and they became an influence for me. When I come across objects from those pictures, I understand that I remember them from the magazines of my childhood. Later the world around us started to have an impact on me.

What subject matter in the outer world inspires you, fascinates you and unleashes your creativity? 

I am fascinated by the surface that we traverse – the city. I am fascinated by landscapes, that I regularly capture via my phone, some fusions of images, combinations created by nature and people together, the reality of today. Some things that are happening around you are uncomfortable and not pretty; they can hurt you if you are not an artist. For example, the disappearance of the old Moscow, the creation of of some new hideous buildings. It seems to me, that when you start scrutinizing these events, explore the interaction of the background and foreground, its combinations, you somehow psychologically reconcile with them. You find a certain logic in it, and it gives you a reason to continue your life humbly.

How would you describe the contemporary art of Russia within the wider context of international art? 

I believe that to a certain extent it is self-contained, probably, since I do not know much about what is going on outside Russia at the moment. It is interesting to me, but the things that are happening inside you are far more important. On the other hand, connections between people, specific personalities are just as essential. It seems to me that there are many gifted people with excellent communicative skills. They can lay paths, open doors, jump into trains and get to places where they can share their particular charismatic ideas as Russian artists. That type of link with the world is the most interesting, in my opinion, and you shouldn't overlook it.

We cannot ban information regarding the changes that are in other countries. Each person has ears, eyes, as well as the freedom to travel and make friends. It is the reason why this incorporation into world processes has more to do with personal connections and less to do with institutions and politics.

Tell us a few words about the piece on the cover of Boscomagazine. 

The image on the cover of the magazine is my dacha in evening. It is that moment when you are sitting on the terrace and watching the daylight fading, and lights are being switched on inside the house. You are experiencing this very subtle, lovely, and indiscernible moment when the light from one side is quite bright and orange, the electric light becomes visible, and everything outside gets immersed in shades of blue. These are quite elusive, but very happy moments that have to do with dacha, summer, family evenings. These are those memorable moments that you remember when you say: “I’d love to go to the dacha.”

What does the word “family” mean to you? 

The same as for everybody else. In the context of our discussion, it is the most exciting feeling of togetherness that links me with a particular professional environment, the sense of calm and confidence. When you know people from the world of art, you understand that you do not have to explain certain things, since they go without saying. Such communications are painless. When you interact with people from different fields, you start realizing that they understand some of the same things from a very different perspective. I the field of art we had talked about most such things before and have already reached an understanding. This gives you the contentment that is born usually from a family connected with the world of artists.

How did your family impact your life? 

My family has been influencing me from the very beginning and is still an influence as new generations come into the picture. The impact of children on you is the most exciting thing of all. My daughter, who is 12 years old now, while she was growing created so many amazing things in the field of arts – paintings, verbal communications! She made these fantastic things out of nowhere. They were created by a different person who has nothing to do with you and is at the same time a continuation of yourself. You cannot expect this person to think one way or another since it is an independent system with her ideas. It is a significant influence since you understand that everything can be different. It is the acceptance of the fact that people are initially unlike, and this should always be kept in mind.

Why do people create communities? 

It is an uplifting feeling of freedom. On the one hand, you are detached from the whole world, on the other hand, you are surrounded by those people who understand you, so you can make things up. It is not that easy for me. I do want to work in groups, but such work more likely takes place in movies, at the theater or in architecture, where people consolidate into industrial associations, act as a group. As for artists, I did have some spectacular collaborations, but it is not always possible to collaborate. It is more comfortable and more exciting for artists to work on their own.

How should a neophyte approach contemporary art? 

Contemporary art is full of encrypted symbols, and you should master a precise vocabulary to understand certain works, but this shouldn’t scare you away, it should be a fascinating experience. More precisely – not should, but can. It is more of a question addressed to the audience: if people are curious, interested in something, then they can start to learn about it and get immersed in it. It would be difficult without this kind of interaction. If you have no interest in something whatsoever, then it’s better to ignore it, and not to get involved. In my opinion, it is worth learning to address the creative products made by other people with empathy. For example, higher math or chemistry are not your cup of tea, but this does not necessarily mean that you should condescendingly talk about some works published in scientific magazines. Art allows people to have such an attitude since each person believes that he or she knows what they are talking about, and that gives them a right to arrogantly or disrespectfully discuss the creative work of other people. I do not like that kind of attitude. You should respect the life of other people. You can attempt to understand or go by, but do not pass judgment.

Why and how should one buy contemporary artworks? 

It is a very exciting process that broadens your sense of life since through this you get to know a whole new layer of knowledge and real people. Contemporary artists are people living in the moment, and you can talk to them, get to know them, read their interviews, understand their philosophy. It does not necessarily lead to making money, but it does enrich your mundane life. Many people think now and then about the purpose of their life. Sometimes it makes them sad. Immersion into the world of other people gives you an insight, you learn that everything is not always only about you. As soon as you become an art enthusiast, planets, societies, and universes of other people open to you, and you understand that you are not the center of everything.