Lives of the Artists: ARINA


Wide Shut Eyes -1, 2008, oil on linen, 165/90 cm.

Art takes such a big part of my life that I would say it is my life.

Painting is like breathing for me, something that is vital, absolutely essential for me. Art has totally changed my life, when in October of 2005 I started to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, where I arrived from a little Russian town in the Ural’s Mountains area.

Trinity Series, Light Angel – Playful (Triptych), 2010, oil on linen, 165/90 cm.

My passion is for portrait painting, but I suggest that my work is a kind of performance rather than traditional portraiture. I perform an image that inspires me, manipulating with my own face as an actress does to express what I want to convey onto my paintings and documenting the process as an artist.

As a final outcome I paint this transformed reflection on canvas. I paint an image as a ‘litmus-paper’ of the inner, a symbol of emotions and feelings. When I paint somebody else’s portrait, I transform the image anyway, creating an alternative vision of the person. I am trying to reflect something that cannot be seen in a mirror.

My paintings might be associated with images from the art history, but I avoid any direct references. I only mark a trace, and outline a hint what the images could have been related to. I position an image I am working with in a middle of nowhere, without any recognizable signs of any given time or place, or any other particular characteristics.

Listen To The Silence Opus 3, 2008, oil on canvas, 170/150 cm.

I used to study at Music College as a chorus conductor and still everything in the world I perceive through a musical harmony, whether this is the harmony of singing voices, music, words or colours. I am trying to transfer the harmony into my paintings.

Sometimes it seems to me that my paintings are born by themselves and I just conduct them to the world. I feel myself like a conductor of creative energy that moves throughout my brushstrokes with paints to the images on canvas, appealing with passion for the life and admiration of this world to all the observers viewing my works.

I identify the monochrome palette in my paintings with anonymity of an image and intentionally restrict myself with colours in my works – I manipulate with the monochrome to avoid any distraction from the inner light of the image.

I am fascinated by the influence of light, dark and middle tones on the visual expression of painting. There is an amazing relationship between shape and light from transparency of the light to the dark and solid opaque space around it that always mesmerizes me.

Nibiru, 2010, oil on linen, 122/93 cm.

The Red, which I use in my works, has a deep meaning for me. In many cultures ‘red’ means passion and love, in Tibetan philosophy it means connection with the Universe – connection with everyone and everything at the all levels of the entire world. In Russian language, particularly in folk’s fairy tales, often the word ‘red’ equates to the word ‘beautiful’. One of the worldly known Russian writers Fyodor Dostoevsky has said ‘Beauty will save the World’.

I believe that images and objects which have been created with passion can take an immense power that is sometimes found in religious art, the powerful energy that has an ability to alter one’s mental state and even transform reality.

Behind The Smile, 2008, oil on linen, 122/93 cm.

We all create the world around us and all the artists are responsible in particular for what they bring to the world within their works. Art is a powerful tool to keep this world in harmony.

I hope that I transfer within my paintings creative positive energy to all of the viewing of my works. I believe it helps to bring the Beauty and Harmony to the world – to save it.


 ARINA’s Website