Sofia Rodionova

Sofia Rodionova - Painter in watercolors and pastels, illustrator.

Interview with an artist

Sofia, tell us, how did you start your art journey?
We all begin to draw in childhood. And it’s no accident - creativity is inherent in us from birth! And I also painted, like all children. But my parents noticed in time that I have a craving for drawing. And then I think that I was lucky because some experimental Sunday school turned up for babies with an artistic bias, where I was sent. This was when we lived in Nizhny Novgorod. Yes, by the way, I was born in Tallinn, then my parents and I moved to Moscow, and then to Nizhny Novgorod. It was back in Soviet times.

So, during the training in this Sunday art school, my teacher paid attention to me, told my parents that I must continue to draw, because there was potential. Then, again, the circumstances developed that my friend’s parents opened their art studio, and I began to go there. I remember my childhood impressions: I went to this school with temperature, sick, without mood ... In general, in any state it was very important for me to get into this school twice a week!

When I was 12, we moved to Israel ... and that was all - I stopped drawing. In those days, and this was 1993, the Russian-speaking part of the population of Israel was only being created, so it was almost impossible to find Russian teachers of drawing and painting here. Even some books on art in Russian were not to be found. Several years passed, and my mother noticed that I was obviously yearning without creativity. And she found two artists, husband and wife, from St. Petersburg, who had just moved to Israel, and persuaded them to take me as a student.

They did not want to take any students, and they took me through gritted teeth just because my mother really asked them. And in fact, I can now say that I got all my technical skills in painting from these artists. Later I studied at an art university in Israel, but there is quite another art education - no technique and academic skills are taught. And with these artists, I just tried all the versions of materials and techniques! The wife was a wonderful sketcher, and the husband - a watercolorist. And I remember when we had lessons with watercolor, I said: «No, well, I certainly will never paint with watercolor! Nothing can be fixed! It’s definitely not for me! «(Laughs). It was much easier for me to paint with oil, of course. It all happened when I was in high school. Then there was a big break in drawing.

What was the reason for this break in creative activity?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. Since in Israel, all the girls, along with men, are required to undergo military training, I went to serve in the army. And, of course, there was no time for drawing (laughs)! Well, I had a notebook, a pencil - that was all the available art at that time. There was not much to it - just to have time for sleep (laughs).

And then I returned from the army and ... went to the institute to study chemistry! Yes Yes! My parents are chemists, and all my life I thought I would become a chemist too. And drawing will always be my hobby, all the more so since I was constantly told about it: «It will never bring you income. This is not even a «profession»!

How did you return to the art work?
My parents very strongly resisted me going to study chemistry, because they saw the whole «undercover» of this desire. They understood perfectly well that the chemist would not work for me. And they were right in the end. After two years of training, I, as is customary in Israel, went in parallel with training to work for a chemical company. I will repeat that in Israel it is accepted to earn additionally on a specialty in parallel with High School education, that the work experience already begins to accumulate.

So, working at this enterprise, at some point, not even me, but my mother realized that it was «all wrong», brought me booklets for those coming from some art university and said: «That’s enough, go!»

It turns out that my parents sent me to an art college. In Israel, you can study in parallel in several specialties. The first specialty was art, and the second - Chinese culture. That is, I studied Chinese language, culture, history and calligraphy.

After university, I worked in the specialty, but in applied directions: I drew the designs of wedding albums, painted children’s furniture, walls, then worked with glass for a long time: baking glass in the oven and its subsequent painting. Then I gave birth to my daughter and realized that I can not go on endless business trips, but I want to paint. And then I took out my old watercolors.

What work were your business trips connected with?
I worked in a company that was engaged in painting children’s play rooms in hotels. Therefore, I had to travel to different cities of the country. And although the country is small, it still turned out to be a business trip for several days. So I left this job and devoted myself to drawing.

Why did you move so much in childhood?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. Everything is very simple. My parents met when they studied together in Moscow, at the Moscow State University, at the Faculty of Chemistry. My mother was from Estonia, and my father was from Belarus. Therefore, to give birth to me my mother went to her mother in Tallinn. Then my mother returned to Moscow with me, our whole family lived there, while my parents finished postgraduate studies.

After the post-graduate course, my dad was sent to Nizhny Novgorod. Then in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, my dad was laid off, and we went to Israel.

Until 1991, since my dad worked as a radiochemist at a closed plant and dealt with radioactive substances, he was «not allowed to leave». And they laid him off according to the «fifth graph» as a Jew (the «Fifth graph» - an expression used in a figurative sense, indicating in documents a nationality as a fact of belonging to a certain ethnic community. In the USSR, the availability of information on nationality in documents allowed officials to discriminate National minorities in terms of admission to universities, employment, postgraduate study, career advancement, travel abroad, etc., up to deportations on a national basis).

However, under the Russian law, my father was Jewish, and under the Israeli law - not. All because in the USSR at that time the nationality «Jewish» was recorded based on the father, and in Israel on the mother. How then did my father manage to get an entry permit and move to Israel.

Under Israeli law, any person who is considered a Jew, under the laws of Nazi Germany, has the right to enter Israel and will be accepted in that country (the definition of «Jew» in Nazi Germany was formulated in 1935 in the «Nuremberg racial laws»). And, nevertheless, in Israeli passports our whole family has a dash in the column «nationality», that is, we are people «without nationality».

I have a dual citizenship: Russian-Israeli. I was told that I need to confirm my Russian citizenship at the place of residence from 1991. In general, this is some sort of bureaucracy, with which I have not yet dealt with in detail. While my Russian citizenship has not been renewed.

Do your parents live in Israel now?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. No, they live in the USA. Dad worked in a firm that had an office in the US and in Singapore, and at some point he was offered to move and work in an office in America. Plus, after the war in 2006, my mother packed up things and said: «We are moving from here!» Therefore, this proposal to move, one might say, fell on fertile ground.

So my parents are now there, and my younger sister is also there - she left with them. She was less than 21 years old, and she still fell under the category of «child», so officially my parents when moving to another country had the right to issue documents for her relocation. Which they did.

Tell us about your service in the army. How did it affect you?
Israel is a small country. Each pair of hands is in the account. And in the case of global mobilization, every citizen should have at least basic professional army skills and the opportunity to help the army in any way. It is not necessary to be able to hold a weapon. For example, during the military service, I got the profession «Technician by means of communication». I was a specialist in tank communications installations. Of course, there are military units of the women’s army. But to get there, you need to undergo very serious tests for physical training. Also, for medical reasons, girls can undergo alternative military service. This means that the girl does not leave for the military unit, but lives at home, but every day she goes to public work and thus gives her debt to the country.

I went directly to live in the military unit. I returned home once every two weeks for the weekend. Sometimes they might not even let me out - it’s the same army after all (laughs).

It’s just that in Israel the service in the army is so adopted at the national level that no one even thinks about it.

How did you start receiving orders? Tell us about your experience of monetizing your work.
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. It was when I gave birth to my daughter and realized that now I could work only at home, I began to paint my first paintings with watercolors. And immediately I wanted my work to be seen by as many people as possible. I do not believe that there are artists who work «into the table» - you always want to show your work, sometimes artists are shy. For me, the biggest indicator of my work is if my picture is bought. This means that for someone it is valuable, not just for you. It is very important.

I started exhibiting my works on Etsy, where I still sell most of all. And at first I had such a problem that I exhibited my works, people saw them, but for some reason there were no sales. It was very difficult to survive.

Then I began to understand that probably my work is not seen by those people who are interested in it. The question arose: «How can I find my buyer?». I had to spend a lot of time at the computer, studying the process on the Internet, various methods and techniques. How to be placed, where to place, at what time, in what quantity? It was a difficult time, because to me, of course, this topic was not at all interesting, but since I wanted to earn with my creativity, it had to be done.

In 2013, I almost roared, because I spent so much time at the computer and on the Internet that I did not even have the opportunity to pick up a brush. It was necessary to prepare photos, write descriptions of goods, study the subject of tags.

I also tried to exhibit on Ebay, but quickly realized that it was not suitable for selling art goods - there is a completely different category of buyers.

At the moment I’m happy with Etsy - it delivers me new customers, many of them come back. Also, a few years ago I started my Instagram, and from it a large number of orders also come.

I also work with several US copyright firms. They have a large database with ready-made pictures and illustrations that they sell. In fact, they are intermediaries between the artist and the final buyer. These are not physical pictures, namely transferred to the electronic format of the image. Such pictures are sold mainly to designers, architects, companies, shops.

It is easier for a large company to contact a similar company, describe its need, and a representative of the firm can offer some ready-made options from the available ones in the database, or contact the artist to fulfill a specific order. The latter is very rare, because companies often do not want to wait and choose pictures from the existing database. For example, now with one of these companies we make a selection of «Autumn 2017» - it will be a series of illustrations on the autumn theme.

I’m such a bad seller of myself, and I do not know how to handle myself in such offices, that such organizations find me. This again, to the question that you and your creativity should be shown everywhere - just in order for potential customers to find you.

Can you give some advice to the newcomers on how to sell their creativity?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. My main advice - to be exhibited wherever possible! This is not only Etsy, but all social accounts that can only be. All that will allow as many people as possible to see you and your work. You and your creativity should be everywhere. Then you can find your audience that will buy from you.

The store on Etsy should be opened only if you already have quite a large number of works or goods that you can put there. Now, as far as I remember, this number should be at least 40 pieces.

It is necessary to open a store on Etsy, only if you are ready to deal with it every day. The search algorithm on Etsy works in such a way that if the seller has created a store, but does not go there, update and publish new products, does not improve old ones, does not perform any daily activities - then his goods will be less visible in the search, and at some point can be generally ousted from there. To avoid this, every day you need to do some actions in your store. It’s also worthwhile to give links to your products on Etsy in your social networks - it strongly helps Etsy’s search algorithm to get your products above the rest.

All this unrealistically big work at the computer takes a lot of time, that’s why I just hired an assistant for myself at some time - a girl who remotely is engaged in the management of social networks, my store on Etsy - because otherwise I just did not have time to draw myself .

There are various paid programs on the Internet that can make it easier for you to maintain social networks, for example, there is a program that independently, without your participation, uploads your illustrations into the Pinterest social network. And it’s very convenient, and saves a lot of time! And it also creates the illusion of your constant activity. The same programs exist for Facebook. I repeat that these programs are paid, but they cost their money (laughs)!

The only social network that I conduct on my own is Instagram. Here all the posts I do myself manually. For me, this was originally more like a personal creative diary, so it remained so. Although now it has already become one of the sales tools. Instagram management gives me pleasure, while keeping the rest of the social networks is torture for me (laughs).

How do you answer the question «What do you do?»
I proudly raise my nose and say that I am an artist (laughs)!

Tell us about your creative place where you work.
This is very funny! It’s hard to call a workshop the space where I create (laughs). I work at home. We have a three-room apartment, which we got after my parents moved to the US. One room is my daughter’s. The second is the former room of my younger sister, in which was the storage of my sister’s and parents’ belongings. When my sister or father came from Israel, they would stop in this room. In general, for a long time I could not use this room at my discretion. The third room is a large living room, where we live with my husband, and there is a place where I paint.

When, at last, the parents gave the go-ahead for the alteration of this room, I was very glad that at last I would make myself a separate studio! But it was not there (laughs)! When I transferred all my materials, paper and equipment there and told my husband that I was moving to another room and that I needed to make a table and lighting ... He told me: «No, I do not allow you to do this, otherwise I will not see you! «Therefore, I had to compromise and make a warehouse of materials, a printing and packing shop in that room, and leave my creative place in the big room.

Because my work implies employment almost 24 hours a day. That is, I take my daughter from the kindergarten, we spend the evening together, with the family, then she goes to sleep, and I go to work. Here’s my husband and said: «Well, at least sit somewhere near and draw, so I can at least look at you!» (laughs).

Is it right that you print out your illustrations on special equipment at home?
Yes, I have a special large high-quality printer, on which I print all. And in the room from which I made the warehouse and the printing and packaging department, I print everything, pack it and arrange it before sending it to the customer.

How do you pack and send out your prints and pictures?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. The prints and pictures I interlay with rice paper, then I fix it on three layers of a thick double cardboard on both sides, then all this is wrapped many times with an adhesive tape so that nothing slips away during transportation.

I send large prints in cardboard tubes. I also send great original works in tubes, but of larger diameter, so that the dense watercolor paper is not wrinkled. If the work is very large, that even the standard cardboard tubes are not enough, then I came up with the use of sewer pipes (laughs). They fit perfectly in size and they still have special caps, thanks to which, this tube becomes airtight - a great option (laughs).

Then the documents are being prepared. After all, the export of works from the country and their import into another country needs special documents proving that you are trading with your own creativity. Therefore, I have opened a firm for myself, where it is indicated that I am an artist and my main occupation is the creation of art objects, specifically - paintings. And so I have the right to sell my work and send it out. In fact, there are never export issues, there are problems for import to another country.

Although, in fact, these documents do not represent anything complicated. When you sell a thing you did yourself, you need to issue an «certificate of authenticity», in which I confirm that it was I who created this work, then there is a list of materials used for this work, a photo of the work is attached, my signature and my contact details if questions occur.

Have you ever faced with problems when sending your pictures?
In general, I have never had problems with sending works, except for one shipment to Russia, when they detained my picture for a long time and investigated its belonging. Italy is also a problem country for the import of paintings. Still there are problems with sending of pastel works, because sensors of dangerous substances work. I do not know what dangerous substances they see in pastels (laughs). And if this happens, then the picture is unpacked to make sure that it is not dangerous. And for pastel paintings, such manipulations are highly undesirable, because they can deteriorate! There are usually no problems with prints.

Tell us about the system of art education in Israel. You mentioned that it is different from the Russian one.
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. It seems to me that the system of art education in Russia is very unusual, because in all other countries I know, they teach differently. I’ll explain. There are pluses and minuses. At some time I dreamed of studying at a Russian art university, because I did not see such teaching of technology and academic base, as it is done in Russia, anywhere else. In most countries, including Israel, there is mainly an emphasis on revealing your creativity. You are taught to tell about what you painted. Even if you drew a speck on canvas, you should be able to beautifully explain - what exactly you wanted to say. And if you succeeded, and the viewer understood you, then you’re done. That’s why, sometimes specks stand in the eyes of teachers much more than a masterly painted portrait of oil, if you could not explain it.

They are very different. Here, in Europe and USA, a lot of attention is paid to the conceptual art, where the technique of execution goes to the background. I took a lot from this education. The most important thing is that I do not want to go back there for anything (laughs)! Wow, how exhausted was I with explaining my pictures and telling what I wanted to say with this or that work! I’m one of those people who do not really like talking much, and then I had to invent deep philosophical explanations for why I had drawn a flower. Yes, because I just wanted to draw a beautiful flower (laughs)!

Was such education difficult for you?
Well, sometimes I felt desperate, because I was not interested in all sorts of galleries and high art, where exactly these explanations are needed. I wanted my pictures to be popular with people, and so they would hang them at home. But I was lucky - there were several teachers who understood me and my goals. And according to our education system, at the senior courses the student can choose which teacher to go to study, so I graduated from the university under the supervision of the teachers who were interesting to me.

What art materials do you use?
In this aspect, I’m a shopaholic (laughs). I buy everything, I try, then I isolate what I like most. Only recently, I somehow more or less decided on the materials that I most comfortable to draw. As for the paper it is Saunders Waterford, rough texture Torchon. Its charm is that on the one hand it has a pronounced texture of Torchon, and on the reverse side it has an average texture Fin. It is very convenient and functional. I like the rough texture of Torchon most of all - I like that it allows leaving characteristic rough and careless brush marks that can not be left on smooth paper, and it can be very well wetted. And I love the very wet surface of the paper. To create water effects I like to use various sprays with water.

What watercolor paints do you use?
I like paints of completely different companies. And I’m happy with everyone (laughs). Starting from Nevskaya Palitra (White Nights watercolors) - I really love these colors, because they are my first colors. Lately there has been a lot of talk about the fact that the colors of Nevskaya Palitra allegedly fade. Maybe now the quality of the paint has dropped, but the work painted by the old paints of Nevskaya Palitra 20 years ago, I hang, and they have not changed at all - nothing has faded! I respect this firm and, like everyone else, I very much wait for them to release watercolors in tubes. For example, I could not find an analog of the color «Ocher red» in any other brand - I use only Nevskaya Palitra.

What about other brands of art supplies?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. I use the materials of other brands also very well: from the watercolors by Holbein, to Schmincke, Sennelier, Rembrandt, Daniel Smith and others. In general, Japanese watercolor manufacturers are very good - all the colors from Japan, which I tried, are of a very high quality. They always use very concentrated pigments and need less paint to get a saturated color. But this has also a minus - sometimes you need to get a pale color, and this is not so simple (laughs).

Daniel Smith I love for its special effects and interesting behavior of colors: they have paints consisting of several pigments that decompose on paper and separate from each other. It’s hard to explain, but you can watch video reviews on YouTube - it’s very impressive! And the granularity of the paint, which is only in them - the paint breaks up into granules and on paper such small grains of pigment remain. Some people think that this is a flaw, but I like it (laughs).

About brushes. I use all kinds of brushes, and preferences change from time to time. Each artist has his own preferences, brush - it is like a magic wand, should ideally approach and «lie down» in the hand, become its continuation. And although some minimum is enough to work, I like a lot of brushes and I care about the quality, type of bristles, and how the brush looks and feels. At this point in my favorites: a series of fake squirrel from «Princeton Neptune», Raven Jackson’s Art series, Escoda Ultimo, flat brushes of different sizes, I use them from goat bristle basically, but sometimes I need a synthetic one.

For details: synthetics from Escoda (Perla) and Leonard. Also I have in the arsenal squirrel brushes of Russian origin and Rosemary Brushes and Co. of various sizes, and I can not imagine my work without calligraphic brushes, which are made from mixed bristle, such brushes are often not of high quality, for myself I found an ideal option from Rosemary. And necessarily liners: a brush with an elongated thin bristle.

You also paint with pastels. Tell about it
Pastel for me is more in a rank of a «hobby». I do much less pastel works on the by-order basis than watercolors, and basically I paint with pastel for myself and for my own pleasure.

Earlier I painted a lot with oil - it is established that all artists should paint with oil. Now I do not use them at all. Pastel completely replaced oil for me.

In pastel, I quickly decided on the set of materials. I use a texture paper - this is a special abrasive pastel paper by Canson Mi-Teintes Touch, and I also love the paper of the Australian manufacturer Ampersand. I use pastel by Rembrandt, Schmincke, Unison and Jackson’s (pastel, produced under the brand name of Jackson’s Art).

For me, Jackson’s Art does its pastel in the same place where the Unison pastel is made, because according to my senses they are almost identical. Similarly, Jackson’s Art has a series of brushes that are produced under their brand, and they are one to one like Escoda. And I’m 99% sure that they are doing it in the same factory (laughs)!

How much time do you spend on one painting?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. I have a schedule for my work. It’s true that it exists so that I could constantly violate it (laughs). I get up early, at 6 am, because my husband leaves early for work, and my daughter needs to be taken to the kindergarten.

And since I’m an owl, for me it’s a test every day! Most of the morning I spend on sorting mail and email-letters and packing and forming orders. Then I rest and from about 14:00, when I already survived the morning (laughs), I begin to draw.

Then my daughter comes from the kindergarten, and the next time I sit down after she goes to bed. I paint every day. Exceptions are only those moments when I’m sick and can not get out of bed at all.

Do you always make all your orders with pleasure?
Usually, yes, but there was one order with which I was exhausted. My friend asked me to take this order, and I could not refuse, although I do not draw such stories myself. It was about a portrait. I had to depict a person but in the form of a pharaoh with all the attributes and atmosphere. And this plot, of course, I did not like, but I did the order. Basically, customers come to me who see my drawings, my style and order something like that. Then no problems arise.

Does it happen that you do not want to paint?
It seems to me that everyone has such moments. When you finish some complicated project, some complicated series of works, over which you have been thinking for a long time, comes «satiety» or something. This is normal. Here you just need to rest. It helps me to just go for a walk, to look at new places and things that I will definitely want to paint.

My life, my travels and schedule are quite dependent on the schedule of my husband and daughter, so I can not just go somewhere, go far, not to mention abroad. Such trips are planned very carefully and in advance. Therefore, I learned to find something new even near my home. I notice some unusual shadows, sunshine, etc. - different states of nature. We live in a beautiful area where there is a lot of greenery and trees, so inspiration overwhelms! Especially now, when it is spring, and everything is blooming!

True, soon all the beauty will end, because the infernal heat will come and the sun will burn so brightly and mercilessly that it will not be easy to work! So that you understand what I’m talking about ... Vereshchagin in the paintings is very well reflected this sun - absolutely white blinding light. Because of such a bright sun, we do not see the blue sky in the summer - it’s white for us. The light day is very long. And this blinding light can drive me crazy - I go in sunglasses from morning till evening.

Do you think the artist should develop in one direction or should he/she be a Jack-of-all-trades?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. At the moment, I believe that you need to focus on one direction. But my opinion is changing quite often! (Laughs). It depends on the artist. If the soul requires, then you need to try. If you want to focus on one thing, let it be. But I have not yet met artists who throughout their creative career have followed a single strategy. Now I have so diverse orders that I constantly jump from one subject to another, but, I shall repeat, now it seems to me that it is better to try to concentrate on the limited quantity of techniques and plots. I feel that scattering sometimes gets in the way.

What are the obligatory features in an artist?
I never thought about it ... All the artists I know are so different. The only thing I can say, if you want to become a successful artist, whose paintings are sold, then you need to be a very organized person. That is, the illusion that you can work, when you want, should not cloud your mind. You need to have a good sense of time, responsibility, and organize your time correctly.

How do you organize your time?
In general, I am a very organized and responsible person. Only the last six months, I constantly have some problems with health, so I periodically drop out of the work process.

At some point, in order to organize myself, I began to write down how long it took me to do this or that. Up to washing dishes. So you need to write down your entire day - on what and how much time you spend. And you will understand that very often small things and things that, it would seem, should not take a long time, they just eat all your time. I thus managed to isolate such small cases, minimize the time costs for them and spend more time on the creative process, which is more important to me.

For example, I stopped cooking. Because it takes a long time, plus I do not like it terribly. Instead, I hired a woman who is engaged in all the purchase of food and cooking at home. She has already studied our tastes and preferences in food and perfectly prepares. And saves me a lot of time, nerves and strength (smiles)!

My calm attitude towards cooking has come from childhood. The fact is, that my father always cooked for us in the family. And he never let my sister and me into the kitchen: «It’s not a woman’s business to cook!» - that’s what he said. And if my sister still breaks into the kitchen sometimes, because she loves cooking, I do not even strive to (laughs).

Is the family happy with this innovation?
Yes, everyone is absolutely happy! Because when I cooked, and I did it through «I do not want to,» it did not turn out so deliciously and without a soul, as it happens with our incoming assistant, who is just a master in this business. So, everyone is happy!

Do you have any art ritual or secret?
I think yes. Before I start working, I spend some time on the fact that I begin to lay out art materials around myself. And do not just lay out, and shift from one place to another, change their places several times round-the-clock - at this time I’m thinking about the future work and collecting my thoughts.

What are the pros and cons of the artist’s profession?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. Well, I see some advantages for myself, because I myself am an artist, and I like what I do (laughs). But there is a minus, which I hear from other artists, but I myself have not encountered: it is the lack of support and understanding from close people.

The most difficult thing is to stay «one on one» with your own business and prove not only to yourself and the whole world, but also to your close ones (and often the opinion of the loved ones is very important for us) that you will be able to achieve something. This is psychologically and emotionally very difficult. I was lucky, I have a wonderful family that has always believed and believes in me, supports. I am thankful to them for that!

The husband does not help me in my affairs. He is a great boss at work and at home too, plus - and the head of the family. He will not help me pack orders, but he can free me time when I, for example, have an urgent order. He will do household chores, go for a walk with our daughter.

He is my most important and first critic. He is from an art family: his father is a sculptor, and his mother is a designer of clothes. Therefore, the feeling of beauty from his childhood. He himself, I believe, is also a creative profession in which you need very good spatial thinking: he programs in 3D and creates very complex details. Criticizing my work, he pays much attention to the technique of performance: he likes more technical work than emotional.

What is the best rest for you?
My mother taught me in my childhood that the best rest is a change in the type of activity. Tired of domestic chores - go, paint. Tired of drawing - go, do household chores (laughs).

Seriously speaking, for me the best rest is merging with nature, watching how the tree-trunks move in the wind, as clouds swim across the sky. Even five minutes of such contemplation is enough for me to rest a little.

Do you visit your parents during the holidays?
Of course. Since my parents moved to the United States, I spend all my vacations there. They live in a crazy beautiful place in the northern state of Minnesota. There are many lakes and beautiful nature, similar to the nature of the middle of Russia, in which I grew up and which I miss so much. Therefore, there I rest fully! It turns out that I create, and communicate with my parents, and nature around! Marvelous!

Describe your ideal day. What should it be?
My ideal day is when I get up in the morning and around there is silence. Well, maybe only the birds outside the window are singing. I’m generally very self-contained and self-sufficient person, I like silence, and when no one touches me (laughs). I quickly get tired of companies, even if they are close people. Therefore, my family and friends already know that I need to spend some time alone to «reboot».

Do you play sports?
No, I’m absolutely unsportsmanlike. After the birth of my daughter, I somehow tried to organize myself - went to dance classes «zumba». But then again, it requires communication with other «mothers». Such dances are mostly attended by young mothers who need communication, and with them one must maintain some kind of conversation, which I really do not like. Plus, I began to regret the time spent. I did not enjoy it, and I kept thinking that while I was doing dancing, I could draw. As a result, I stopped going there.

Imagine that you are 60 years old, grandchildren are asking for advice. What will you advise them?
I’m an adventurer by nature, although for me this is not noticeable at all. I’m such a secret adventurer (laughs).

So, I advise them to always act as they are prompted by their instinct and intuition, even if this is contrary to the generally accepted rules and norms.

I have had such moments in my life many times, and I do not regret any such action. Everything made me - without that I would be a completely different person.

What kind of movies do you watch, and what books do you read?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. I do not watch movies - I listen to them. I used to constantly do something in parallel. A TV is a friend of my husband. They are on a first-name basis and constantly communicate (laughs). Therefore, I listen to what’s on TV.

My sister and I have a tradition - as soon as a new film comes out, we go to the cinema together. Also I sometimes like to go to the auteur cinema, more often we bring Russian auteur movies. But cinema does not take much of my life.

I prefer to read. Recently it is either literature of entertaining genres: thrillers, detective stories, or professional - on art themes. Also I can reread some of the books that I read in my youth - I really love authors of the early 20th century: E.M. Remark, E. Hemingway. I can re-read them forever.

What three wishes would you make to a goldfish?
1. I would like to live closer to my parents. I really miss them.

2. I would wish my paintings to be hung in some famous museum

3. I want to say: «For communism to win in the whole world!» - but it’s wrong (laughs)! Just by surviving the war here, I want more peace in the whole world.

What would you advise a friend whose inspiration left?
Well, if he does not refuse help (because, in my experience, creative people often refuse help in such matters), I would advise «extreme therapy», which is my final resort. You need to take a can of paint, a large-large canvas, and splash it as you want, feel like D. Pollock (Paul Jackson Pollock is an American artist, ideologist and leader of abstract expressionism, which had a significant influence on the art of the second half of the 20th century). Because often the fear of starting, spoiling, fear of a white sheet, prevents us from being liberated. And from this there are creative blocks. Sometimes you just need to be a child and give freedom to yourself and your creative inner «I».

Do you have goals on your creative path?
Illustration from Sofia Rodionova. Previously, I had a goal to draw such works that people would like, and they would like to hang them at home. Now this goal has been achieved, and I understand that it’s time to move on. Perhaps I should start thinking about exhibitions, which I so diligently always refused.

I do not know how in Russia, and in Israel and the United States people make money on the artists. That is, if you were invited to an exhibition, this does not mean that your work is interesting to someone, it means that you have to pay a fee and incur a lot of expenses in order to send your pictures, and that they are eventually hung in some gallery. Plus a huge number of documents, plus the services of a professional appraiser, who must evaluate the work and determine its recommended cost. And his services are also not cheap. And I always thought: «Why do I need this ?!». Because even if the work is bought at the exhibition, it will not even pay for itself. Such events are only a PR and a way for an artist to tell somehow about himself and to have a beautiful line about participating in the exhibition in his portfolio.

Now I understand that this PR may also be necessary for me, if I want to grow up and be part of a professional artistic community. But I do not plan to start from private galleries, but from some artistic communities that organize exhibitions and do not require such large contributions.

How would you spend 3 million rubles?
I will not be original. I’ll spend everything on travelling - I like to go somewhere! And if I have three million, then no one will say «no» (laughs)! We will travel with the whole family.

First of all, we will go to Hungary. It is a very beautiful country with incredible nature.

Name 5 facts about yourself that first come to mind:
1. I do not like to talk. I do not like to communicate for a long time. And we’ve been talking for so long (laughs)!

2. I do not like to swim, I do not like water. Despite the fact that we live in Israel, and here are three seas, my child has never seen his mother floating (laughs). I do not like the feeling of a wet body, and when the sand starts to stick on it - it’s just terrible (laughs)!

3. I really love solitude and silence.

4. I do not like cooking. Already talked about this, but I can repeat.

5. I really like cleaning. It calms me down. Especially if I’m frustrated, I immediately start vacuuming, wiping dust and so on. My husband knows this, so when he finds me after a sudden cleaning, he immediately asks: «What happened?» (laughs).

What superpowers would you like to have?
I would like to be able to read minds. Then I would know for sure what other people think, and how I need to behave with them.

I have such a feature that I often adjust to other people, which is why it is probably difficult for me to communicate with them. Because I understand that I’m adapting, I do not like it, but I can not do anything about it (laughs).

Imagine that in the next life you will be reborn into a picture. What picture would you like to be?
This would be a picture of A. Kuindzhi «After the Rain,» which hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery. There is such a green-green grass, utterly unimaginably green, night and bright light. This picture struck me in the soul the moment I saw it. I’m attracted to this picture by bright and, importantly, ringing silence, which according to my feelings is due to this incredible green grass. The color of the picture is very good! And since I, in itself, am a bad colorist, that is, I do not see colors and shades as well as, for example, a composition, that’s why this picture fascinates me so much!

If someone decided to write a book about you and your work, what would it be called?
«Instant». Thinking about my place in art and creativity, I define those things that I create, like the moments that I try to grasp and convey in my work.

Published: 7 мая 2017