Lots of kids dream of being an extraordinary person. Since childhood I’ve always thought of being someone very, very outstanding, like an animation movie maker. Later I gave up this idea at once, as I learned how hard this job was. Then there was a long series of brilliant ideas: to become a famous painter, a famous novelist, a great philosopher, a guru of advertising and graphic design…

…At last I became a teacher. I’ve been teaching since 2004, for the last six years mostly focused on teaching art to students of different ages – from preschoolers to adults. I found out that teaching can be one of the most complicated and most effective ways to make friends and to learn new things. The way is hard, but the feedback is huge.

In 2008 I started playing with mixed media sculpting techniques. Now my portfolio of 3D creations consists of a variety of one-of-a-kind dolls and small sculptures. Almost from the very beginning I started experimenting with different household objects such as glass and plastic bottles, cups, cereal boxes, light bulbs, etc. I enjoy the fusion of different techniques, materials and themes. As far as themes go, my dolls characters are mostly inspired by literature, art history and Christian religion. I grew up in Russia, so Russian history, literature, and common beliefs have a strong influence on my conscience, and, certainly, on my sub-conscience, whatever makes the imagination work.

Being half-Russian and half-Ukrainian, I love Ukrainian art and  folk tales, and the Slavic art in general. In fine arts my special love is Croatian naive painting, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Polish graphics. And of course, Eastern Orthodox icons and some sorts of handicrafts based on iconic painting, such as Palekh miniatures. That being said, I’m in deep love with American realism – from Ashcan School (especially Edward Hopper) to Wyeths dynasty.

I have tried many media, including oil and acrylic painting, knitting, felting, sculpting, and drawing. Oil painting is my deepest love forever, and the same I can say about book illustrating. Visualizing, on a plain piece of paper, the thoughts and feelings the book has woken in you, is the best reading experience, in my opinion.

Recently I became very much interested in botanical drawing. After making a series of attempts to do botanical illustration, I realized that I need to get more scientific approach, so took a series of courses in Botany, Botanical Illustration and Natural History Illustration, which unveiled a whole world before me.

However interesting the word of plants might be,  I still tend to prefer illustrations and pictures with human beings. I’ve always loved creating objects that have a human look, and even as a child I saw anthropomorphic features in every pattern, object, or landscape. My favorite childhood pastime, which could take entire days, was sculpting human and animal figurines using color modeling clay. It’s a portrait of an “ideal kid”, isn’t it? Creating dolls means creating a kind of an alternative reality. These small people inhabit their world, which is in a certain sense better and more beautiful than ours. Everyone who played with dolls of any kind knows that. Or, knew it in their childhood.

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