Thursday, March 8, 2018

How to be today's Van Gogh

This is my latest work in progress, a 40x60 inch canvas, which is just a few inches shorter than me. I am doing a one hour blitz on it. I know I don't have much time but I need to get it out - all my emotions piling up over the last few weeks. The energy is pouring out of me. It's a positive force fueled by my success and recognition, by confidence in where I'm heading, by all the support I've gotten.
In my numerous conversations with people who resonate with my work, I heard that it reminds them of Van Gogh. Whereas before I would shudder at the thought of resembling another artist, about being categorized as an Impressionist, about being labeled in general, now I'm ecstatic. Yes? If you think I'm Van Gogh, then why should I be afraid to experiment with the curvature of my line? Why can't I be bold with my color?
It will be a variation on Van Gogh, sure. But it'll be my variation. I'll be the contemporary version of him, be it kitsch, be it too sweet or too straight-forward. I'll just pick my four or five colors and I'll experiment the hell out of them! They'll dance in all kinds of combinations, playing off of each other, seeing their most favorite partner in crime peek at them from across the canvas, approaching them from an unexpected angle.
These canvases will have tumultuous personalities. They'll be happy one day, shining with the warmth of the sun. Another day it'll feel like a storm is approaching. They will be me, all the layers of me, all my complexities, naked in front of you. I won't hide behind the screen. I'll learn to love all these battling emotions, striving for a balance.
Just like in my daily life where I love my kids for their whole selves, I will attempt to be kind to myself on my good days and my bad days. They make up who I am, create my ying and yang. Are you kind to yourself on a bad day? It's so easy not to be, to beat yourself up, to be your worst critic...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Do we need to let it go in order to succeed?

I think this is a good ending point for the book. I'm done with about half of it by now and am thinking more and more about the main theme, and the sub-themes.
My drips are for emptiness. They’re an antidote to the busy world I try to populate in each new piece. They create the much needed reprieve from the craziness. They introduce abstraction, they move me from my regular status quo. 
They’re an answer to my traditional upbringing, to my fears of rejecting the mold, of letting go. If I completely give into them, they will be me letting go completely. 
But I can’t give up the line. Its piercing musicality is very important to me, its contrast is absolutely key. I don’t know if I figured out form yet, but the line is certainly there to stay. I still can’t tell which forms speak to me and which I’m able to forego. Is it a triangle shape or a semi-circle that is my favorite? A combo of various sized cubes? Do I absolutely need a horizon line? I’ve already gathered that less is more when it comes to color: maximum of two different juxtapositions plus an accent color. But I don’t want to stick to the same palette, do I? I know I need to break it down to get to complete abstraction, which would mean something to me. But how? And do I need to get to abstraction? Maybe this is a constant conversation - a chat between inner and outer reality, between abstract thoughts and practical sides of me?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The real secret behind my most popular series

 Want me to tell you a little secret? That first series of oils that everyone loves so much - there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. I've already told you that it was all created within one summer, after my return from studying abroad in Paris.
I was in an awful withdrawal state and Andrey Tamarchenko, my teacher, saved me by giving me this magic space, in which I could create. It was a tiny room on the last floor of an abandoned factory building, overlooking the Garden State parkway. A series of gated doors, freight elevators, and somewhat frightening corridors brought me to this little paradise where I could just play.
But that wasn't all. Over that summer I reacquainted myself with my very first crush. Apparently, he came over from Russia every summer and lived in South Jersey with his father's new family. A crazy romance sparked up between us and he would visit me in this little studio and watch me paint. We would slip onto the roof of this abandoned factory, which was just a hop over my window sill, and make love on the roof, with the highway sprawling underneath.
I think you can feel this euthoria in the paintings from this series. There's a hint of danger, secrecy, yet a dare to enter this innocent paradise. To this day, every time I paint, I think back on those days with a certain nostalgia that my whole body can feel. I'm taken back to my daring self, a soul completely open to the world and its possibilities.
My painting practice gives me hope there're a lot more opportunities in this world. It allows me to re-enter my childhood, my adolescence, my college years, and connect them to me today.
This groundbreaking series that was featured in Ithaca's Johnson Museum is housed right here: Archive
Take a look. Perhaps something in it will bring back nostalgic memories for you as well, and would be a nice treat for yourself for the New Year!
If you're in Massachusetts, I'm happy to come over and test out a few things on your walls, tying in my expertise as a long time art consultant. We can see what would work best with the rest of your decor and other art you have in your home. Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Why your inner voice matters most - article on

Long ago I was given the privilege of access to my inner voice through painting. I managed to survive high school and college by practicing this precious gift. Yet, when real life hit, I became afraid of losing myself in my dream world and let it go. I took a more practical route. I needed to make money and start a family, and be an overall reasonable person.
However, it hit me with time that a huge part of me was dying little by little. It felt like I was blindfolded while walking through the dilemmas of this world, and instead of developing my best self, I was selling my soul to the devil. That child within me had no way out. It was imprisoned, dying of thirst for a connection.
When things got really bad and I was crying nightly about a miscarriage, about lost opportunities in my career, about my life that was going nowhere, I took a three-day painting workshop and realized that I almost killed this little beautiful child inside me, my real me, my true self. I began devoting more and more time to painting and to re-connecting with this fragile voice.
I had noticed with time, as my practice got more and more constant, that this voice does not push. It guides gently. It assures me in my abilities. It builds out the inner strength that I never knew I had.
If I die today, I would be forever grateful to this voice of intuition that I was able to utilize. I so hope that more and more people find their true voice by doing something for their soul, be it meditation or yoga, dance or painting, making music or playing with yarn.
I inevitably come out of my painting sessions with an ‘aha’ moment, a solution to a real-life problem that has been nagging me for a long time. Somehow, whatever issues I resolve on canvas have their roots in the psychology of life. It’s quite remarkable that the little inner voice only comes out during painting but I’m so grateful that it does. I really wish for more of us to connect to their true selves, to find our humanity.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Murakami vs Rothko at the MFA in Boston - is art meant to make you smile or cry?

There're a few new shows at the MFA currently that are quite interesting to me in their contrast to each other. It's the very much talked about Takashi Murakami exhibit vs. the Mark Rothko exhibit, which virtually noone knows about.
I find Murakami to be so flat, impersonal and superficial. Yes, he found a symbol that is now our association with him, that of the flowers with a somewhat sickening grin. When you see it, or especially them in bunches you immediately recognize that they're his. But what does it do to you as a viewer except for this pleasure of recognition? It invokes nothing. It's just a pure Pop statement that just like Warhol before him, or Lichtenstein or Jess Koons - has no emotional connection to anything in anyone's psyche.
And then I step into the world of Mark Rothko and I begin to weep while on my second painting. I can't really explain what makes me weep. It could be the layers of his emotionally charged juxtapositions of color. It could be the simplicity or the perceived simplicity of his vast rectangles chosen for all his compositions. But I can feel his fingertips spreading the paint, touching it, making it visceral, psychological, incredibly emotional. I can feel him getting to the core of the message, to the core of my soul. I see this incredibly powerful effect of layers on my psyche as a viewer.
If one encloses simple relationships that are of utmost importance in a casing that does not distract from the message, that's when it starts to say what it's meant to say. Therefore, in a way these two exhibits are about the same elements. There's a symbol or idea that is key, and through its repetition, within the same casings you see it manifesting as a style.
This casing or composition should not distract from the main idea and that's where I think my problem lies. My landscapes are always seen as of utmost importance, and the play of colors as secondary. When in reality what I want is for the landscape to translate as a shadow of itself, and for the real quest of color harmonies to manifest as a primary goal.
But my main issue with the perception of these two exhibits still remains. Are we as people of today more attracted to the superficiality of Murakami than the depth of feeling of Rothko? Or do auction prices for the sales of Rothko pieces say otherwise? Or were there always two camps of viewers - those who want to look at art and smile, and those who are searching for something that would make them cry?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Could painting actually be better than sex?

Why melt? Because I want to enter the painting. I want the gates of ecstasy to open, to experience the merge of colors and textures, and to discover new possibilities.
First I build a city by looking at it, concentrating on its proper angles, turns, the scale of things. But then I want to dissolve into it, to feel like I'm one with it, existing on this particular day, while I'm staring at it, purposefully, with a mission to truly feel it. And just like Gaudi, I want to re-build it from the drips of paint, forming up like sand castles, directing my thoughts with these rays of hope, droplets of creation.
I've been waiting for this day for so long. It's because no matter how great sex is, with you giving into it completely, this is so much better. I peak time and again with each penetration of a new drip. It's an opening to absolute freedom.
But why not melt it all? It's about questioning boundaries, about giving you a glimpse of what could be vs. what is. It's about not being perfect but always striving for it. Perhaps I'm not strong enough to destroy it, as it pains me when my subjects get completely dismembered: houses losing their windows, foundations merging into roofs. Maybe these are windows into my soul and it's tragic to me when they clogged up. Perhaps it's this struggle between the practical side of me and the crazy destroyer side? They're always at war it seems and my work is an attempt to have them co-exist.
Do you have two warring sides? How do they and where do they play out their struggles?
I do write quite a bit about the artmaking process, and you could be among the first to see my newest blogs if you sign on to my mailing list !
And this 36x48 oil and wax on canvas of Parisian rooftops is now finished, beaming with light and raw energy. It's available at $1,900. 
Please feel free to email with your thoughts and comments!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Is Social Media Killing Our Self Worth?

My time in the studio is the time when I get away from the world, relax into my inner self and discover things within my psyche. Yet, here I am, working away and hoping the door will open any second and someone will come in to ask what I'm working on, and perhaps praise it, or even offer some critique or a word of advice. I know I'm here for me, to pacify my worries, to take a break from the hassles of my world. Yet, I crave acceptance. I crave recognition. I really want someone to finally see that I have talent, someone from the art world to pick me up and take me places. Maybe that's just a natural human state, the one Dale Carnegie talked so much about? Our need for acceptance...
It's stifling though. It also got a hundred times worse with the need for instant gratification via social media. I skipped a week of painting. Yet, instead of yearning for that time alone with myself, all I kept thinking throughout this week was: "When I finally get to the studio, I need something truly powerful to show my Instagram followers and Facebook fans". Then, when the long-awaited time in the studio had arrived, I spent most of my time shooting videos of my process instead of really dissolving into it. I couldn't stop myself either even though I knew this was utterly wrong. It was almost like I was afraid to truly listen to my inner voice. Instead, I was drowning it with the desire to be seen and praised.
And then, when the likes and comments didn't come as fast as I wanted, I started to really doubt myself and my abilities. I took down the stage I most enjoyed because this lack of attention shamed me into hating my process. I almost wanted to bring the painting back to the stage when it was most liked by the viewers, but then I caught myself and decided that this is enough.
I need to cut out this destruction of my self-worth by avoiding my phone during my working time. I need a vacation from social media. At the end of the day, I'm doing this for my journey and I won't go anywhere unless I'm fully on board. If I continue down this road of adjusting my actions because of social media, my inner voice willalways be unheard by me, or worse it'll be shamed into silence because I'll only be focused on the approval by others. The only way to get away from this is to have a clean break. This is how I truly start doing things for me, for my growth: I stop caring...
Do you find yourself drowned by social media? Do you schedule time-outs? Are they week-long vacations? Or do you have periods during each day when you stay away?