A Moscow Epiphany  with Sergey Lesnikov

A Moscow Epiphany with Sergey Lesnikov

January 14, 2022

Sergey Lesnikov was born in Eastern Siberia, Nerchinsk – the exact place where Tsar Nicholas I sent rebellious officers to prison after the December Uprising in 1825. When he was growing up, he liked to draw like other children, but he dreamed about fantastic things - like space and stars.

When Sergey Lesnikov first came to Moscow it was to join the Physical-Technical College, and it was the first time that he encountered Great Art in Moscow, at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The effect was so strong that he was not able to leave. Inspired by this event he bought paints and material and started painting. He continued studying at the Physical Technical College in parallel with graduating from his first formal art school.

Today Sergey is a certified member of the Professional Union of Russian Artists.


What initially drew your towards becoming an artist?

As a child, I loved to draw, like all children .., but then, as a teenager, I first came to the Museum of Painting and was shocked by the beauty of the paintings .. various master pieces from the classics to Impressionism ... After that I immediately bought oil paints. 

What is the most important thing for you in creativity?

One of my directions - decorative vintage works on old boards. Once, looking at the massive hundred-year-old boards from the old house, I imagined all those works on the wood panels, from icons to paintings, which we never saw, that were left, disappeared, lost in time. What did they look like? Then I came to the idea to make such a thing, looking like a found artifact, with fragments of old painting on ancient pieces of wood. So I have created it, and continue working now .. I'm always in search- of new approaches, new materials, sometimes with elements of old metal, and others. Sometimes I copy works of old masters, to be closer to the subject, but when I miss bright and clear colours - I relax, working in traditional painting.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I don't think I have any particular style. Perhaps I would describe my approach as Romantic Realism.


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

The driving factor is always one - a sudden strong visual impression. Circumstances may be different, all of a sudden some kind of special colour or condition in nature, in random pictures in a movie, on the Internet, etc. Then suddenly you realize what you want to paint.


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

I like to experiment, so I often change materials, tools, depending on the work I want to do. Besides traditional painting, I try different surfaces for painting, textured pastes, etc. I also like to do work on old wood, when I come across something that inspires me, I use metal elements, applied a decorative coating - copper with an electro-chemical method, and even tried gold )) In general, there are a lot of things ..


Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

As a full-time artist, I work every day as a matter of course ...

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I try to work on one or three works at the same time, it helps not to get hung up on one and more objectively look at result. In general, productivity depends on how much your work is in demand .. Therefore, the ideal option is to have orders for a year in advance, then you know that you are not working in vain )) But these are just dreams.


If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

Yes, it would be interesting to get to a place and in one of the periods when there was a real explosion of painting, and everyone knew each other, for example, Florence in the Renaissance, or France at the very peak of Impressionism.


Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?

Perhaps I am a hermit artist, by myself .., and I do not communicate with other artists, maybe I just do not want to hear negative opinions. In general, the place where I live is not very rich in art. When I started exhibiting my work on the Internet, twenty years ago, I even used a pseudonym, Sergey Sergeev, because it’s rather strange for others to be an artist.


When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

I have just one permanent exhibition. It just accidentally started when the opportunity arose within a gallery I knew, they had available space, and I had a lot of artworks in stock, so why not I thought? I change artworks there, whenever artworks are sold. So it also gives me a chance to freshen things up. 

When it comes to other exhibitions - it seems to me like this: the point is not to hear kind words, reviews at the exhibition. The point is to do such a good job creatively that some particular person will like my work, so that it becomes unbearable for them not to acquire it. And if this does not happen, you need to continue experimenting further.

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