Inside the Studio

Nikolay Vasilyev Plays by His Own Set of Rules When Depicting Humanity

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I create my own small world with my language and rules. The main theme of my works is humanity and our inner and outer worlds, our perfections and failings. I am interested in emotions of artistic expression and emotions caused by contemplating the artistic work, the beauty of plain lines, the play of colour and light, composition, anecdotal allusions, the process of artistic creation and its realization.

I am engaged in tape-art, painting, sculpture and graphic arts. The style of my works is defined by different materials and techniques. That is why it is difficult for me to define the name for my style despite my art-critic background and experience working in galleries and museums.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

I have heard thousands of recommendations from the artists of different generations. Most of them were rather sensible. I forget them at once as a rule. I can also give a lot of pieces of advice but my opponents are usually deaf. I rely only on my personal experience! Though I remember advice by Salvador Dali: “Painter, draw!”

Prefer to work in silence or with music?

I always do it with music. Moreover my studio is a part of an art gallery where not only exhibitions take place, but also lectures and concerts as well. I often hear rock, electronic or ethno music behind the wall. When it is silent everywhere I switch on the radio or listen to the audiobooks.

If you could have only one piece of art in your life which one would it be?

It is terrible even to imagine such a choice. Perhaps I could live as long as possible when looking at the Sistine Chapel, or perhaps something by either Vermeer or Bruegel.

Who are your favorite writers?

Sarcastic prose like Francois Rabelais, Jaroslav Gashek, Charles Dickens, Nikolai Gogol and others. I also like plays for theatre, some authors of Ancient Greece and philosophy of the 18-20th centuries. 


About the Author

Katherine Henning is Senior Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service here.