Sergey Poyarkov

Most Relevant

Most relevant in art for me is that the art does not have borders. Today art is not limited to anything: to either form, subject or contents. From my point of view, the greatest achievement of art of the century is that its borders have extended up to the horizon. The width of the horizon depends only on the individual. You may be standing on a mountain of Everest and see the horizon of hundreds of kilometres, and passionately longing for more and more space. Or, you may be sitting in a hole and see the horizon of 3 meters, being pleased that you possess at least that much, because it could be even worse. There is no saying, whose position is better, more expedient, more reasonable. Simply it happened so.
I do not assert, that my position is better then the other ones. No, it simply is my position, my philosophy. Once I heard a story about a rabbi, named Dzussi. He said: " When I die, the God will not ask me, why I was not Aristotle; he will ask, why I was not Dzussi". I want to be myself and consider, that such a desire is the most important for any artist.
There is a certain sparkle, which does not die away in an artist, does not allow him to change his trade. A true artist cannot help being an artist. He cannot be denied creativity by either poverty, or wealth. A true artist is ready to do anything for the sake of art. It is for the sake of art that he can keep living in a cellar, in poverty; for the sake art he may earn money, learn languages, turn down mountains in order to be engaged and attain the highest artistic level. That is, you may not be engaged in art to earn money, but vice versa, you may earn money to be able to create your own art.
The professionalism, which comes with years, educational background and maturity are laid on an artist, like layers of pavement. And he may make the way through this pavement, academic training and everyday routine, if he has this fire burning, this thrill, like a child before a white sheet of paper. This white sheet magic, it may mean anything you like, - space, or a cave. The image may be cheerful, it may be sad. It pulls to itself, like a drug.
I once heard Einstein saying that everything he attained became possible because he was "slow": all people had grown up, and he hadn't. Having become an adult person, he kept on asking the same childish questions. Due to this he achieved something. It is so very important for an artist, as well as any other creative person, to have this childish feeling. When people become grown up, they are deprived of this capability to beat out some flash of fire from this feeling. The largest tragedy for an artist is to grow up and lose this hiding place, this shelter from reality.

Shelter from reality

Since in the former USSR it was often literature that was such a shelter from reality, I, as an offspring of society, was very "literary minded". Those, who took a fancy to books in their childhood, go on living like this. This "literary-mindedness" remains with you up till the end of your life, and consequently this desire to introduce some literary element directly into my artistic creative process is one of my personal features.
Generally speaking, it is gratifying mission of an artist, to be engaged in the analysis of his own philosophy,and thus express himself. Self-expression may be everything, anything - construction of air balloons, execution of sentences, or earning money. There are certain things, which can't be deeply reflected upon, because one is held up by other things. There exist artists to ponder upon these problems. Or at least it's by this that they often justify their existence. They give one a chance to see during a break for rest or often instead of these minutes of rest (you see, a break for rest is often simply a change of activities), to see some anxiously or, on the contrary, cheerfully constructed, philosophical concept, which, with all its inconsistency, is intended to verify life, widen its borders. An artist and art are necessary, first of all, for people, who are not engaged in arts. These people are the most sincere and grateful spectators. Ideally the creativity of an artist is a length of distance, on which the scale of life of everybody, who sees his works, is widened.
We may observe interesting things with art. As soon as some vanguard music punches the road, it is new, classy, it is similar to a fresh gasp of air. Eventually it's put on the rails of recognition, and, what used to be a fresh gasp of air, becomes beaten track or business. It is normal, because there will come another new group from the underground. Such is life.
It is just the same with fine arts. Once a well defined system of saloon art was broken through by modernists. But time will come, when modernists, similar to conventional saloon art, will be pierced through by the spray of a new concept, which, in due course will grow old, become obsolete, restricted. And then something new "will fly up", take off, pushing back out-dated philosophies, asserting its right for coexisting with them.
In childhood I used to be terribly in love with books. And if you look at my works in general, you will see, that initially I was an illustrator. But it was always interesting for me to invent my own stories, and I always felt a lack of space in my illustrational domain. I drew my own stories, which were wider than the book stuff itself. I felt that I wasn't expressing myself fully, and it irritated and stimulated me. Once, having done some story illustrating, I scored a bulk of miscellaneous prizes and competitions and understood, that it was not exactly mine. I felt a lack of space, I was throttled down by this narrowness; I wanted something more. Until at last out of these creative excruciatings there appeared a certain manner.

The manner

Anything can be stuff for art: pigeons, rocks, clay, "coca - cola" tins, politics or sex. The way we look at it can also be artistic. The art has been, is and will be wider than what is exhibited in galleries and what may occur to us. Art is there, where it is made.
Each artist has his technology, which responds to his inner "tuning in". For me it is illustrative graphic drawing. It is much more convenient to work on paper, because the range of texture on paper carries me away more, than the things made by oil on canvas. I combine water colour technique, with its lightness, transparency, calmness of colour, and bright soft pencils. These two materials shade and underline one another. Such technique is at one and the same time simple for perception, though quite complicated in the process of manufacturing. The massif coated with a water colour is one texture, and I only get a legibly pencilled contour to underline a certain element.
I combine water colour texture, pencil, gouache and indian ink. I do not want to limit myself to one technique, one method.
If you look at my pictures, you'll notice, that in each of them some exotic or completely absurd action is taking place. And at the same time, characters remain completely quiet. They imperturbably execute monotonic daily actions, live their life, without realising the absurdity of the things around them.
For example, a little man on a soaring piano is hitting the keys. He is not surprised with the situation. A yard keeper, who is sweeping away some "beads" from behind some strange creatures... All these people are held by some daily routine activity, despite its exotic character. This dissonance is only apparent. In real life everything is the same. We live in a completely absurd world, but accept it as normal, whereas things, which we consider normal, may be completely absurd.
A house is flying away to the skies on an air balloon. Apparently, one system is leaving another system, and there should be some pressure. But the feature of a man is to remain human. He cannot get anywhere from everyday
household activities. A woman is cleaning the house, she is shaking out a blanket. A fisherman is fishing, and children are starting up miniature planes.
I always accepted the art of my native land in the Soviet Union, as narrative art beginning with the ancient Russian icon and finishing with peredvizniki and socialist realism. It almost always was an art of concrete, narrative, almost literary form. And the art of the protest, when samizdat and semisamizdat were in honour even among those living in comparative consent with the system, was completely based on association, on nuance. At least it remained like this in my perception.
Having come to the West with this background, I simply tried to arrange two things - illistrativeness and polygenre philosophy. In my comprehension the world has been united; the borders have vanished. If earlier it was split into two distinct parts, now the borders disappear altogether. And not only ideological, geographic ones - they disappear at the level of philosophy and attitude to art. The reasonings about what may be a subject for art remained in the past. Today everything may be a subject for art, everything may be stuff. I was lucky to have been living in incompatible systems, and it seemed, that the world as a whole remained harmonic independent of systems and their contradictions. The existing harmony of the universe transforms contradictions into harmony. And only a human creature remains identical in any system and according to his capabilities tries to illustrate a monotonous text of everyday routine life by philosophy.

To illustrate by philosophy

My creative concept consists in doing easel drawing of high illustrative quality. On the one hand it is based on my personal and deep associations and impressions from my childhood. On the other - on the basis of educational background: experience and amount of books and stories heard.
So about me one may write only counter-art articles. My creative method is a sort of anti-illustration, a picture, which should be illustrated in its turn by another story. In each of my works, I express my point of view on the subject, my complicated or simple philosophy. Objects in my pictures are by no means accidental. They are necessarily linked with other things or with other pictures.
In some works there is practically nothing personal. In others the personal prevails. Such pictures I'd rather not explain at all.
This book is constructed in such a manner that the pictures, in which my personal attitude to some events is expressive enough, are commented on rather widely. My philosophy is spoken out completely there. In other pictures there is minimum of explanations. In some of them none at all. There are pictures the personal situation of which I wouldn't like to bring out to general discussion at all. Try to treat them, as children treat books with colouring pictures for your imagination.

"Colouring pictures" for the imagination

Basically, as any artist, I am a provocateur. I provoke the viewer in a specific, intrinsic way. I am provocateur Poyarkov, and I provoke you in my specific, Poyarkov's manner. Do you like my instigating? Then you are my spectator. If my instigating is not pleasant to you - then you are the spectator of another artist. Artists and their creative concepts can not be better or worse; they are simply different. I do not think, that art can unconditionally be sectioned into high, low, average, half-average, semisweet, strong or refined. It may be "his" or "not" for each person; he likes it or he doesn't; it touches or it does not touch. One may even sell vacuum at the price of depth. But, all the same even if it looks better or may smell more deliciously or shine brighter, it possibly won't touch you with pseudo-scientific terminology. It won't touch you the way "your" art, the one that comforts you, would touch.
I was always interested in the reaction of spectators to my pictures: who are they, why do they like my works, what do they see in them, how do they explain them for themselves? There was a case, when a person who purchased my picture "Good luck"! (it was in America, at an exhibition), saw in it an absolutely different meaning from mine. He came with no intention to buy anything, but this picture attracted him, so that he said: "my God, it is Ode to emigration! " He told me his story and coloured my images by his imagination in his own way, as though he had built up a brand new city from the same bricks. Or, for example, my work "Birthday "... Once in America one of the versions of this picture was bought by a woman, many of whose parents, grand parents and great grand parents were musicians. When she sow this work, she said: "My god, But it is MY life, it is MY house within the period of 50 years". She had been standing in front of the picture for 1.5 hours shaken: so many of the things depicted were similar to some of her associations. Her words: "It is a picture, I had been dreaming to buy all my life, it has got on me... " It seemed, that her associations in some ways were more interesting than mine, her explanations - in a way were deeper.
I am convinced, that human dreams are sure to come true; it is a normal course of the world development. It is natural for a man to be happy and feel self realised. What I had been dreaming of in my childhood came true over a certain period of time. If one applies some efforts, everything will necessarily come true. It in a universal happy destiny of workaholics - their dreams almost always come true.
I always considered, that too serious an attitude of an artist to himself and to life in general is pointless. It is silly. All of us will die sooner or later, and the majority of us will die more or less painfully, but we simply (and it is absolutely natural) do not think of it. We know it, but we do not live with this. It is a surprising capacity of a person to know and not notice, or to know and notice. We choose to ourselves our necessary balance. When a person takes over some effort and boldness to establish his own balance of contradictions, he'll be able to live in harmony. He may be happy only on this condition.
Each artist has a moment, when he gains some professional skills and launches into an orbit, like a spacecraft. Here he sees the end of the earth gravity, and before him is huge space. This is a marvellous, intoxicating feeling, which, probably, can't be compared to narcotics, alcohol, or anything else. If the conductor needs the whole orchestra, the artist only needs his hands, material, a rectangle, a circle or triangle of clean (not necessarily) paper (possibly not paper). Today an artist may make art of anything, he may create his own system of symbols

System of symbols

Those who are familiar with the history of medieval arts know that in those times fine arts were full of nonrandomness. There was a certain understandable system of symbols. People saw behind it something bigger than a subject itself. For example, a pelican was well-known for his self-sacrificing. People believed, that he fed the nestlings with his own intestines.
Since my childhood I have always been interested in the language of Aesop. I was always attracted by allegory and all that is hidden between the lines.
I have created a system of symbols. For example, for me a fish, a well-known symbol of life, also means a woman. Sinuous branches of arbours - entangled circumstances. Chess symbolises both medieval formula of an alchemist and a schedule of a stock broker. We constantly live in a system, we are influenced by a huge member of factors, and we are obliged to balance them. Basically, a game of chess is the essence of our life. Pawns represent daily, absolutely simple actions (for example, fuelling your car). Chess men represent more complicated operations. There are more complicated chessmen and less complicated ones, as in real life, there are very complicated problems and less complicated ones. Our everyday problems are very similar to a rook which goes only on a straight line, and a bishop which moves diagonally. But except our actions, there are also inevitable factors - say, it rains, or the seasons change. In life everything is divided into things that may be changed, and things we cannot change. It is depicted in my pictures, where supper with candle lights is superior to a game of chess. However complicated are the calculations one may be doing there still is an element of chance. The charm of life is that there is always something happening all of a sudden. And this suddenness can altogether destroy what you have planned before. The word, which explains the sense of life at its fullest is - "suddenly".
I often return to the subjects of my previous pictures. It is simply because with time I see them from a completely new angle of view. It is interesting for me to prolong this subject, to toss dice-symbols in a different way.

If one has a desire to exercise in awakening in oneself some associations (and a person, whatever he is engaged in, is always attracted by creativity), he may invent his explanations of my works. A spectator may invent his own finished story. I produce the basis, on which one may construct his own "building". And then it is possible, if one wants, to have a look at my text, to compare, whether our points of view converge and are similar or the systems of symbols are different, and we co-feel a certain balance of contradictions.