Inside the Studio

Victor Tkachenko Creates Expressionist Portraits

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I tend to focus on figures and portraits.

How did you first get interested in your medium, and what draws you to it?

I started with oil, but then switched to acrylic because it dries faster and is readily available now.

How has your style and practice changed over the years?

I used to work almost exclusively in decorative romanticism, and I have been slowly shifting towards expressionism and attempting to find my own blend of styles.

Can you walk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just jump in? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it is finished?

I agree with Van Gogh, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” So generally, I start with an idea that flashes in my mind, trying to sketch it, finding the right composition, leaving the colours to come by themselves. After the battle with the canvas it might change, everything might change, up to 7-10 times, until it satisfies me. A work is finished once I feel that I cannot do it any better at the moment. This process can take from one week to one month per piece.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?

I would be an architect, as I have a Master’s degree in this area.

What are some of your favorite experiences as an artist?

When my painting begins a life of its own, in someone’s home/collection, on the internet, in a gallery exhibition, etc. I have seen it unexpectedly in places and spaces I wouldn’t have imagined it to be (e.g., as the background painting in a well-known British culinary television show).

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.