Author’s note. The way to the art

Since my early childhood, I was fond of drawing and Play-Doh modeling. I was fascinated by the process itself and by the possibility to make toys of Play-Doh and play with them, dreaming up and inventing the most incredible worlds, events and unusual characters. My parents and grandparents encouraged my fancies and as long as I remember myself, I have had no doubts concerning my future occupation. 

When I was a boy, there was no such extraordinary abundance of art publications as there is now, which is why each new issue of the “Young Artist” magazine was like a breath of fresh air. I was thrilled to collect reproductions of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt from the “Ogonyok” magazine, postcards, stamps, newspaper cutouts with caricatures — in a word, everything related to fine art and everything I liked. Deep in my heart, I always dreamed to achieve success, to create an unquestionable masterpiece — and nothing less. That is it! To be honest, I am pretty scared to confess it. 

I attended Art School for children and the Palace of Pioneers in Kharkov, and when my father and mother saw my honest ambition, they decided to give me a bigger chance, and as we lived in Kharkov at the time, they sent me to study at the Tomsky Moscow Secondary Art School (MSAS). This difficult decision was taken at the family council and after passing admission examinations, I was enrolled in the sculpture department as part of additional enrollment group, and was accommodated in a hostel for nonresident children located right in the school building in front of the State Tretyakov Gallery. One could only dream of it! I was 14 at the time. 

I recall the years of my studies at the MSAS with deep gratitude. Needless to say that this school has the strongest realistic traditions, it is a place where talents are forged, its alumna are top-ranked masters of Soviet and Russian graphic art of different generations. A special atmosphere reigned in that place — a spirit of fair competition among children, ambition to learn to draw excellently. Not only our teachers taught us but we learned from each other, the very walls and the environment helped us. These were golden years, the years of formation of consciousness, when the character was shaped together with the main principles of understanding life, art, responsibility, liabilities and everything that makes a human being and an artist. 

I can say with certainty and gratitude that I come from the MSAS — character sharpening, lessons and basics which I obtained during my studies at the MSAS are of great help to me now, they provide me with support and background. 

I took my studies at the MSAAI (The Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute) during the uneasy 1990s, and immediately after the freshman year they were interrupted by military service in the Soviet Army. I was lucky to be taught by such masters of Soviet sculpture as Lev Kerbel and Oleg Komov. Both of them can certainly be considered history and classics. I remember Kerbel used to say that “sculpture should dignify the person”. Being so simple, these words are so right, strong and correct — sculpture should and does serve to remind people that they are Human beings! Actually, when one comes in touch with the Masters of such level and of such creative history, many of their words and moves leave a sharp impression in one’s memory. It helps me in my work, I recall them with deep gratitude. The MSAAI named after Surikov is the strongest school of realistic art that gave me professional skills, understanding of art, creative passion, devotion to experiment along with some kind of challenge which I am committed to now in my work and life. 

In my point of view, art is about quality — either it is present or it is not. Art penetrates right into the heart, nourishes soul, it is spiritual sustenance essential for a human being. It does not matter what kind of nourishment to absorb — a movie or a sculpture, a song or a painting — the most important is for this nourishment to be authentic, not fake. 

“The song helps us build and live” — it is a very precise motto. Art should not mislead the person leaving them bewildered, and it should not suppress their mentality. It should and must give support and guideline, help to live, delight the soul, bring light and be a source of harmony and kindness. 

The balance between the two main factors — the form and the content — provides for this quality, i.e. art. I just wish to say that I worship and advocate traditional realistic art from Rafael and Velasquez to Serov, Plastov and Abakumov. 

Over several recent years, I have held personal exhibitions of sculptural works and drawings at State and Regional Art Museums of many cities of our country. I was lucky to visit the Volga and the Ural regions, travel through many cities of Western Siberia, take flights to Altai and Transbaikal. Many of the exhibitions took place thanks to the support of the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom”. I am very grateful to this company, which implements a great deal of cultural projects. At such mobile exhibitions, I usually endeavor to demonstrate diverse subject matters — animalistic sculptures and paintings, portraits, works dedicated to childhood, etc. I always visit every exhibition opening. I cherish such voyages because every city is very interesting for its history and peculiarities. Exhibitions are usually attended by interesting people, including many artists, which leads to exciting conversations. A lot of children and young people studying at art schools and colleges come to my exhibitions and I see their genuine interest in my works and activities. It touches me as a person and makes me feel relevant as an artist — this is what a real creative life means as I see it. 

Each exhibition always brings something new, gives new experience. Moreover, it is always useful to have an outside look at my own works. I understand that some of my works are not as good and expressive as I would like them to be, and I strive to improve the result every time, trying to work in a more delicate, interesting and intense way. This endless process is of great value to me — the process of looking for something better, a bigger expressivity and depth. Growth and evolution is impossible without the analysis of mistakes. 

Oleg Zakomorny