Ukrainian artist Roman Nogin is a versatile, passionate creative whose stimulus is as wide-ranging as his artistic output. Centred on Romanticism and the feeling of an irresistible connection between time, place, epoch, society, art and nature, he dances across many styles to capture different ideas, essences and perspectives. Read on to discover how he achieves this clever mix.
Good morning, Roman! What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
In the morning, before breakfast, I go to my workshop to look at what I did yesterday and get a first impression – is it good or bad? Sometimes I come up with ideas in the morning while I’m dreaming or half-asleep; later I can forget them, so I try to draw a small sketch.
Since I’ve been teaching at the Academy of Arts for 19 years, I have to spend a lot of time with my students. Sometimes it takes up 4 days a week, starting every morning. Many of my friends say that I don’t continue to develop as much as I could, because I give a lot of time to my students. But I feel that it’s my duty and great responsibility to work with young talented people who are waiting for me to help them. It’s also a great opportunity to communicate with like-minded people everyday.
What inspires you to create every day?
Painting is part of my life. I have a need to bring my thoughts and emotions into the world. The artistic process fills my life with meaning and brings me satisfaction, but also torment if I’m not satisfied with the result.
What does your work space look like?
I mostly work in my small studio. It’s not a big space, but it is rather light. Sometimes I paint or draw in the open air or in a studio at the Academy of Arts.
Describe the core of your technique or style.
I usually produce paintings in series, which I can continue periodically, or leave for a while. This is my habit, I guess. My series always differ in subject and emotional content, and I’m always looking for a special technique and style for each one. In general, I like to use complex textures – embossed or smooth for greater expression. I try to make every picture as expressive as possible, but I also relax, switching from heavy topics to lighter ones.
For example, a heavy series is ‘Memory of cities.’These paintings are united by a common theme – a concept that can be called ‘The imprint of time in space.’ The compositions are built on symbols of art, architecture, nature and the spirit of society from different eras, focused on the history of civilization. Then there’s a light series: ‘BEVY,’ decorative and fun to play with.Here, I use liquid paint and varnish at the beginning of the painting, adding thick textured strokes only afterwards. This gives unpredictability and emotionality to the picture, and ensures I can never repeat the same thing.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
I love inner peace of mind in the process of painting. For this, I will paint only in natural daylight. I also often listen to music in the process, usually classical: Beethoven, Chopin, operatic female vocals. This music is infinitely complex and deep, and fills me with thoughts that help me to paint. But I also love Jazz (which inspired a whole series!), along with modern music: Portishead, Goldfrapp and others.
How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?
I don’t always definitively feel it. I can take a really long time to complete my paintings, literally doing one or two brush strokes per day and that’s it. But sometimes I know right away that I’ve finished it. It’s a difficult process…
What do you like to do to unwind after a day’s work?
I also very much, deeply and truly love the ancient civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. The best and most fruitful vacation for me is thus to travel to the ancient ruins and antiquity museums. I can sit for days and draw sketches on the ancient acropolis in Greece, or wander the hills of Rome. I’m especially happy when I can be there in silence, feeling like I can mentally talk with people who lived there and created these great images 2,000 years ago.
What is your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?
Probably the beginning of work, when I don’t know what will happen at the end. It’s an experiment and an intrigue, the beginning of a journey into the world of a painting that does not yet exist …