Every Line, Every Stroke with Alexander Boytsov

Every Line, Every Stroke with Alexander Boytsov

July 30, 2021

I really like two things in life-building wooden boats and drawing. We are surrounded by beauty, if you look closely, it is in everything ! Everything created by the creator is created with love and simply cannot be ugly.


When I draw, with every stroke, with every line, I let it pass through me. The finished sheet already carries a part of me. I have no special art education. But that doesn't stop me, the desire to draw is stronger ! I will be happy if my works touch your souls.


What initially attracted you to becoming an artist?

I think you don’t become an Artist. You’re born one. It's akin to music. You can learn to play the guitar or go to an art school where you’ll be taught how to draw correctly, but it will make you neither a composer nor an artist. It’s a given. You either have it or you don’t. We all come to this wonderful world the same way. Why does one pick up a paintbrush, while the other just admires the world? I think there is no answer. It’s not in our power to explain.

How would you describe your personal style?

Completeness of the image. Deep in my heart, I'm probably a perfectionist. Any endeavor I dedicate myself to, even the most insignificant one, encourages me to focus. To think it over, go through everything in my head and find the right steps. I guess this became the determining factor in the technique of my drawings. I have no "blind spots" where the viewer needs to think out the idea on their own. I don’t push them onto the path of contemplation. I present them with the fact - see the beauty the way that I understand it. As it is. Nice or not, clean or dirty - for me it is finite. The choice is up to the viewer - to accept it or not to accept.


What pushed you in this direction and how do you see the development of your work in the future?

Development in colour. Someday I will finally turn to it. This thought "itches" and won’t leave me alone. So far, I’ve been ok with shades of gray, but there is a colour palette that attracts me.

What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

Being part of something. Unity with the image. This can be clearly seen in the example of working on portraits of people whom you know personally. I always start off by working on the eyes of a person, then the nose, then the line of the mouth, then lips. And that’s exactly where the same thing always happens - something inexplicable. At some point, you add one or two elusive strokes and ... suddenly you clearly realize - There it is! There is the image! You’ve known it for a long time and here it is, next to you, only on paper. It's amazing, but it happens every time, with every new work. Everything else - the light, the shadow, the oval of the face, the forehead, the hair and everything else - that’s already the technical side of it. My portraits are born with the lips.

Something similar happens with other works too.

I was lucky. In my life, there was a time period longer than 10 years. All this time I was completely absorbed in my project (http://peters1boat.ru), I was building a copy of an antique ship (1640s, English construction). In Russia it’s called "The Grandfather of the Russian Fleet", its original is the number-one exhibit in the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg.


I built it alone - from the project drafted on paper to its launch, so I had to do a lot of blueprints and sketches in the beginning. When it came to practical work, that was where the thrill began! I practically physically felt the unity with the ship's carpenters, traveling more than 300 years back in time! It is an indescribable feeling and a wealth of experience of feeling like you belong to something.

The same happens to me when I draw old sailboats. At some point, you just start to feel like you’re there, on the deck, laying the ropes, inspecting the spars and rigging, passing sheets through the blocks ... When I draw, I often pause, drink a coffee or smoke a cigarette ... and catch myself thinking that I'm just delaying the pleasure! So I can stay there just a bit more! In that time, in that place.

Are there any specific people who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

It’s definitely my family - my wife, son and daughter.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools that you like to use?

Now it's a pencil. Less often, coal.


When it comes to the subject of your work, what attracts you to these topics?

Antiquity. In any of its forms. It’s beautiful just because it’s survived to this day. It’s literature, music, painting, just antiques. I regularly dedicate some time to restoring old furniture - each piece is a work of art. That’s a big difference between us and our ancestors.

Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you go from concept to execution?

It’s an inner feeling. There is a clear line between "getting into the image" and beginning the implementation of the plan. After that, any sort of thinking becomes a waste of time.


Could you describe your typical day as an artist? Have you established a daily routine and rituals, or is it more of an case when you work at the right time?

No rules. I can work without a break, or completely leave it for a few days.

When you work, do you focus on one part at a time until completion, or do you work on several parts at the same time?

I try to bring the fragment I started to completion. Otherwise, something inside you can "vanish" and it can be difficult to return to your previous state.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

I think it’s only a matter of my technique. The inner sense hasn’t changed. Maybe I'm wrong. We all grow up.

Which of your works are you most proud of?



Is there another artist in the world today whom you admire? If so, why?

I can look at the paintings of Aivazovsky for a very long time.

If you could travel back in time, is there a specific artistic period / era in which you would like to take part?

I go there with every new work - that’s the 18th, 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

What problems, in your opinion, does an artist of the 21st century have to overcome?

A total shift in values. You have to be stoic not to succumb to the temptation.


What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Listen to yourself. It's as difficult, as it is exciting, and most importantly, effective.

Even though you have developed your own distinct style, is there another art style that you are immediately drawn to and admire? Why?

Sometimes, I acutely feel my lack of academic background. In general, it’s not that big of a problem, but I admire some of the techniques in "classic" drawing. There are visible goals that should be pursued.

We've all heard about unfinished masterpieces, even Da Vinci worked on "Mona Lisa" for many years, do you have any works that are in a constant process of evolution? When you're working on a piece of art, is it hard for you to let it go? To know when enough is enough?

I can say with confidence - I’ve definitely regretted several times that there was no way to return to some works. To some, I did return. I don’t think it was in vain.

I don’t do any archival work, but it definitely doesn’t mean that it won’t change one day.


Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates of a cause, do you think it is an artist's responsibility to shed light on a particular theme, or do you create solely to express your creative nature?

I try to turn to the past. That’s definitely where I come from. I am drawn to it, I see very reasonable and hardworking people there. I think I am not alone in this.

What are you working on at the moment?

It’s a scene of the construction of an old ship on the slipway. Another work from the planned series "Coastal Towns".

Have you ever been part of an art group / movement? How did your work benefit this experience?

No. Maybe “unfortunately”, maybe not.

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