People call Vlad “modern Aivazovsky”. While he’s almost 24 years old he is the founder of the art Studio “Dislav” and has the opportunity to choose projects with which he wants to work. I met with him during my stay in the Crimea and talked about Yalta, the art community of Crimea and his own art works.
Anastasia: As I understand it, your career started with charity projects. What was the first?
Vlad: “Gagarin and Tolstoy” painting in the underpass. I took about a dozen artists to help, each identified his site and found some volunteers. The artists had their task and certain colors. The style is slightly different from spot to spot, but the we still can see the commonality of the work. Children also took part in the project — I mixed for them the color, gave a brush and showed where to paint. All this had to be managed, and I also had to draw — I worked on the portraits of Gagarin and Tolstoy.
Anastasia: Now do you work more as an artist or a curator of projects?
Vlad: I draw either for free or I take cool and expensive projects. Mostly, I work as a curator.
Anastasia: In St. Petersburg there is a curator and producer Albina Motor, one of the founders of the Institute of street art research. We discussed the difference between street art and public art. Your project goes into full public art category. In my city [Arkhangelsk], unfortunately, what claims to be the title of public art, often comes down to street art. You stand up to the requirements of public art so far, it’s cool.
Vlad: I don’t pretend to create a public art or street art — the term “monumental painting” is closer to me. If we draw something like works by Kandinsky or Malevich, it will be alien to the average Crimean. As a pioneer of this topic in Crimea, I wanted to do something understandable so that people would like it and would like to develop the movement.
Anastasia: As soon as we touched the projects of Albina Motor, I’ll ask one question. She work with many projects related to the painting of facades of new buildings near St. Petersburg. Did the Studio “Dislav” have similar projects in the Crimea?
Vlad: These are our plans for the upcoming year. From our side the initiative is shown, development of the project depends not only on us: negotiations with developers and city administration are conducted. But even five years ago, when we first started, the Crimeans did not even know the word “street art”, and graffiti was perceived as vandalism. For comparison, in Moscow, people passing by say: “Look, they are starting to draw something. It will be beautiful!”. Here, even now people perceive us as painters and offer to paint their garages.
Anastasia: How did you gather a whole Studio of artists around you?
Vlad: When we were still doing charity projects, I initiated and gathered my friends together. Then everything gradually began to turn into Commerce, where there is a zone of responsibility, division of labor, some hierarchy, which did not quite suit many members of the team. Now I have a completely different line-up in the team. There are both artists and managers, non-creative people.
Anastasia: How do you find young Crimean artists for your team?
Vlad: I really dig them up like a truffle from the ground. They exist! We just need to get them interested. There are “people-products” and there are “people-sales”, which can be seen everywhere and from afar. People-products have no time to engage in introspection, self-positioning and self-sale, they are always in the laboratory. The European-American system has built the following order: if you are an artist, you do not need to deal with the sale — there are more galleries and agents than the artists themselves. I don’t know any good agents in the Crimea. No one who sells paintings well. I know galleries’ owners, but I can not say that they work well. Therefore, the “people-product” is not visible and not heard.
Anastasia: What kind of education do you have?
Vlad: I studied Graphic design at the Crimean Federal University. So, I received art education, but I am not an artist by education. And thank God!
Anastasia: Do you think you would be changed by the stereotypes of the classics?
Vlad: I thought that I’ll learn some digital stuff (Coral, Photoshop, etc.), it won’t be superfluous. I studied the same art disciplines in graphic design, but teachers do not pursue with them. Golden line. Many strong artists go to St. Petersburg where they finish university, get married and have children. They are pumped, inflated too much, and then they do not move, they do nothing. I consider the skill of self-reflection, synthesis in my head is much more important. This skill is actually more important than a strong hand and talent. Therefore, maybe I feel like a dropout somewhere with these powerful guys, but then I’m freer.
Anastasia: How did you organize your first work on Aivazovsky?
Vlad: at that time I was interested in making copies of the paintings. I have never seen anyone carry out such projects – they made copies of European paintings similar to the Mona Lisa. I arrived at the Tavrida festival, where I applied for a grant and won the first place and received 300,000 rubles for the project. I was receiving money for six months, everything went wrong in terms of time, then bad weather happened, and the project was finally completed two years ago.
Anastasia: In addition to the grant from Tavrida festival, did you apply for any other grants?
Vlad: Why do I need this? It is much easier to work with my own business, to be responsible only to myself.
Anastasia: Did you go to the art residence?
Vlad: No, I don’t even know what it is.
Anastasia: With the accession of the Crimea to Russia, has the atmosphere of the local art community changed?
Vlad: The elders do not help the younger ones; the galleries do not unite. I do not think that the transition can affect this. But the Tavrida festival… This is the best thing that has happened to me.
Anastasia: Are there any other events, art forums, for example?
Vlad: Only the Tavrida festival. The locals tried to organize something, but I can’t say that it was good.