I aim to portray a city’s energy on my canvases. The sound of rain hitting the cobble stones, a taxi’s tires splashing in puddles, street noise, people’s voices, car horns—all excite me to no end. Often, I not only use my brush to capture the essence of a city, but a palette knife to express my own energy, which ultimately becomes part of the canvas. When I paint, I re-live the experience of the city—it’s lighting, sounds, and vibrations.
I have experienced many different cities. In my youth, I was surrounded by the most beautiful architecture of the XVIII–XIX centuries, the ”Venice of the North”–St.Petersburg, Russia. That was my first love. Later came Vienna, Paris, Boston, New York, ... I walk around a city and sketch. Often I am drawn to an alluring alleyway verses a pompous street or palace. My visual memory is acute and I have the ability to imprint the mood of the city at the time of the sketch, along with the colors, the weather, the lighting, and the energy of the street. Even years later I can look at any of my sketches and remember the street, the city, and what kind of day it was. I must develop an intimate relationship with a city before I am able to paint it.
My work is very intuitive and emotional. I create my work in a single breath, so that I do not loose any drop of that sensation in the process. I am so caught up in the moment of creation that I forget where I am—nothing can distract me from this euphoria. Whatever I am painting, I must be in love with my subject. At times however, I am fascinated by beautiful faces that cross my daily life, then I go to my studio and create an impression of the beauty I encountered...
It is a gratifying feeling once the painting is done—I exhale, feel hungry, happy, but totally exhausted emotionally. The feeling of accomplishment fills me up: "all the hard work hasn’t been wasted - I can paint, I can do this well!" Now, the city’s essence is part of my studio and the energy of the city has been transformed onto my canvas!