The art and art of Sergey Konstantinov

What is essential? Coronavirus lockdowns have forced everyone to reconsider their priorities and look within. In the midst of uncertainty, the main role of culture has proven to be the maintenance of social cohesion and individual well-being. While some critics lamented the loss of access to cultural institutions and public events, others focused on a renewed appreciation of the arts online. What would midlife be without television, literature, music, or other art forms? The options are too dire to consider! Creative communities in Germany demanded emergency relief funding and the artists in Spain went on digital strike. Yet an investigation in Singapore found that 71% of respondents considered “artist” as the least essential profession during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Getty Museum Challenge went viral with people recreating famous works of art in fun ways. This highlighted new opportunities for engagement with cultural heritage. Recently another Baroque masterpiece was destroyed during a botched restoration effort and people called for the renewal of our collective vows to protect art for future generations. Now is the time to reflect on the back-and-forth between technology-driven art consumption and interest in art preservation. How do we balance our evolving desire for novelty with the pet’s need for security? i sat down with Sergei Konstantinov, a Ukrainian-American artist based in San Francisco. He is an expert in the restoration and conservation of paintings, murals and decorative arts; and a painter and sculptor with many original works on display. A unique perspective for unprecedented times in the arts.

How do you see the art world evolving during and after the pandemic?

It’s a pretty philosophical question. Why?! Do you think this would change the To be human? I consider it an interesting time to be alive. The difference between now and then is actually having more time to look deeper. A wall or a canvas are just surfaces. What is important is your message and your energy, the purpose of an upcoming play. For artists, I think you are ahead as long as you hone your skills. Once you have decided not to go any further, only then do you lose.

What do you think of the recent online art appreciation tidal wave?

These viral campaigns are an effective way to elevate arts education. It is not an easy task to connect with the work of art, to grasp its essence, to express it in your own way. the Dutch museums have made their “challenge”, the Russians too much. All countries have a unique cultural heritage which deserves to be preserved. The process of creative research itself is significant. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on canvas or on TikTok.

How did your creative journey prepare you for this turbulent time?

I experienced the end of the Soviet Union. This was rowdy too. I’m from Ukraine, a small town with warm memories called Jmerinka. It made my cultural DNA: friends, school, sport, the very beginning of my interest in art. Exploring Ukrainian folk art has helped me understand the true wealth of a nation. After studying I moved to Baku but in the 1990s there was an armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I had to apply for refugee status in America. Now, for almost 30 years, my family, my studio and my life’s work have been here. My life is a creative process in itself. This is where I draw my inspiration, my awareness of good or bad, too much or too little, alive or dead. When you go through such moments in history, you learn to never take anything for granted.

What is your first artistic memory and how did it mark you?

Well there was no a thing. Maybe the beautiful icons from my grandmother’s house. They were illegal at the time. The art class in my hometown where I tried to copy famous artists. The first time I heard Swan Lake by Peter Tchaikovsky. I also cannot deny the impact of nature around us. It has inimitable nuances, color contrasts, mysteries of the universe. We breathe all of this deeply as we try to find answers. I have always trusted my own path.

What is the difference between conservation and restoration?

“First, do no harm” is a great principle of medicine and the restoration of cultural heritage. I have been restoring art for a long time. I studied art history and art technologies at different times. When it comes to catering, you must fully understand the creators, their state of mind and their intentions. Collectors like to say that art is eternal, we are only the temporary guardians of art. Conservation is also a technical challenge with its own long and difficult history. Some chemical solutions that were used in the past are now banned.

What inspired you to pursue original works?

You can’t force yourself to make art, it starts within you. I leave a piece of myself on the canvas which is the only way to work. In life, we seek explanations, find nuances, change our outlook. It is the source of creation. There are no failures in the artistic journey. Even an unsatisfactory result is your experience. I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming desire in such moments. It was a painting that gave me the reason to create and not the other way around.

Any advice for emerging artists trying to succeed within or outside the gallery system?

During my last year at the Lviv Academy of Arts a teacher said to me, “Move towards your own goal, the money is coming anyway.” »If you want to be someone, start now. Otherwise, you won’t have time to get it right.

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