Inside the Studio

Ilya Volykhine

Favorite materials to work with?
Oil paint, oil sticks, charcoal, india inks, liquid graphite, and paper collage.

How many years as an artist?
I have been working as a professional artist since 1995.

Where is your studio?
I have a free standing studio and gallery adjacent to my home on Waiheke Island.

What themes do you pursue?
My work is generally based around exploring domestic interior and exterior spaces and how the figure moves, sits and
interacts within these places. I love the feelings of awkwardness that my paintings project through the mixture of both
naive brush and line work, stylization and strange situations, both actual and imaginary.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I usually have music on, sometimes I want to hear it in my studio and other times I’m working in headphones or with
no music and listening to the birds.

Where can we find you outside the studio?  
Sitting on one of the three swings that are just outside my studio, staring at my paintings or the sky.

What’s around the corner from your place?
I am very lucky to live on 12 acres of land on one of the most gorgeous islands off the coast of New Zealand, and I am 5 minutes from the beach.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  
To never compromise and try to meet the art market.  Always paint for yourself and directly from your own soul.

Art school or self-taught?
Self-taught, but also mentored by other artists.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
Be a professional tennis player. 😉

Day job?
I am an artist all of the time. I am in my studio over 40 hours a week, day and night.

What do you collect?
Books, catalogues, color samples from nature, magazines, found human-made forms, diverse imagery, digital photographs, old frames, friends, networks, etc.

Favorite contemporary artist?  
Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, and Francesco Clemente.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
My beautiful wife and two gorgeous sons.

Favorite brush?
Escoda Natural Chungking Bristle Sash Brushes, Olive Series.

Scrapers, palette knives, anything around me.  Panel, canvas, linen, Hahnemuhle paper.