There is a beautiful Hebrew tradition called, “Hiddur Mitzvah”. This ancient practice, dating back to the Babylonian captivity, interprets a passage from the book of Exodus to mean that believers should glorify God, “in a beautiful way”. In other words, art can and should be, an intimate act of worship. This profound concept inspires me daily. My faith and my art intertwine for a single purpose, and an audience of one.
When did you first start painting?
I was born and grew up in Ukraine and at the age of 7 I was placed in an institution for disabled children due to a misdiagnosis. To escape the harsh realities I found comfort in painting and drawing and after 5 years of living in an extremely sterile environment, one of the teachers noticed my abilities and encouraged my parents to enrol me in to Art School.
When working from life, I’m painting the effect of light on my subject. Light moves fast and I must be quick to capture it. Most times I get it in one sitting; occasionally I’ll have to finish back in the studio. How do I prepare for this? After setting up my easel I always take a photo of the subject. This is a record of the light effect and a handy reference for later.
Before I was a professional artist, I was an elite athlete in the sport of long track speed skating. My greatest obstacle (other than finding pants to fit my legs and rear end) was overcoming the struggle mentally, technically and physically to get better over the long term. As an athlete, you spend countless hours training and preparing for one or two big competitions. Sometimes things don’t quite come together on the big day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should quit. The ability to see the big picture for what it is, is paramount.