Oleksii Gnievyshev is an emerging Ukrainian painter and graduate of the Art Academy in Kiev, whose work has already received international exposure. Today, Gnievyshevi lives and works outside of Cologne. His oil on canvas paintings combine classical realism with modernity using a bright, engaging color pallet. His subjects vary from figurative nudes to hyper-realistic still lives.
SINGULART spoke with Oleksii about his creative influences and current projects.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Since my childhood I have grown up in a creative environment. My elder sister inspired me with art by showing me gorgeous books about famous artists. She was always my source of inspiration because she started attending art courses earlier than me. When I was a small boy, I’ve found in my parents’ shelf pencils and paints that they had kept since their student days. I mostly prefer oil paints because I like the way they look, but in the beginning I was not allowed to use them. I was very happy when, at 9 years old, my parents allowed me to create with oil paints! This was something beautiful and charming. My first artworks were landscapes inspired by the English Romanticism. The sea with steep banks and churches at the top of the hill.
In that period I decided that I wanted to become an artist. I’ve now completed my Art school education and my time at Kyiv Art Academy successfully. During this time I was also studying with a private teacher, the well-known artist Volodymir Bagalika. In 2014, I moved to Germany, where my wife lived, and since then I have been working as professional artist.
Would you tell us about your artistic influences, which artists have inspired you?
At the heart of my technique is the old baroque school of painting. The prominent representatives of which were Rembrandt and Velázquez. Also, I have always been in love with the sensuality of Klimt’s paintings! It is the paintings of these artists that I am inspired by to this day.
Basically, sincerity and craftsmanship are the most important things for me in art. I aspire and demand mastery on myself with the great attention to my work. I am inspired by power, by the energy which is hidden inside humans, animals and plants. Power that has an impact on everything around us. I am trying to display this power with lines, dots and spots on canvas. As motivation, I frequently use classical Greek mythology or people and animal portraits, as this is the best way to show an inner completeness.
Do you prefer to work alone or in a collaboration?
I prefer to work alone. I love to work with my subconscious in my paintings. This is a very subtle process, and in solitude I can realize myself better.
Would you tell us about your current project – what are you working on?
Right now I am participating in a large project entitled “Kunstbewegt“ which is taking place within the walls of the Oncology Clinic at the Uniklinik in Cologne. This project seeks to restore joy and desire for life with the patients who have to fight against such a terrible disease as cancer. The project takes place in the format of a large exhibition. The second project “Koga” is a Hollywood project from two aspiring directors. As the main artist, I am creating a new cartoon universe about medieval Japan and the history of a ninja clan. Also, I am now actively creating my own private art school in the city of Brühl.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become an artist?
I’m sure I would’ve become a writer or a musician. From my childhood on, I was sure that my destiny was to become a cultural figure. I have always been sure that there is nothing more important than art, as it inspires people to new achievements.
Have you discovered other artists on SINGULART whose art you appreciate or even admire?
I met and discovered the wonderful artist Lena Krashevka. I love the sensuality in her paintings. It is always interesting to follow the work of such artists.
What advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out and trying to find their feet?
Never give up! The path of an artist is difficult, and it will take a while for you to succeed. But the goal is worth the effort. The main thing is to believe in yourself and your success.
Thank you for the interview, Oleksii! Discover all the other works on Oleksii Gnievyshev‘s SINGULART profile.