My love, my inspiration and my wealth

Alexsandr Grigoriev is a Belarusian artist. Alexsandr was born in the village of Mazurkee, Belarus in 1955. He has exhibited internationally for more than 30 years. His creaitve works include paintings, book plates, drawings, printmaking, book illustration, sculpture as well as scenery and costume design. Grigoriev is also an art curator, exhibition jurist, exhibition organizer and author. Grigoriev’s works are held in Brest region museum of local lore, in gallery and library collections in Belgrade, Serbia; Ankara, Turkey; Lamaze, Milan, Asuka and Terme, Italy; Arad, Romania; Ostrow Wielikopolski, Gliwice, Sanok, Nice and Malbork, Poland; Lefkada, Greece; Havirov, The Czech Republic; Sofia, Bulgaria; Cadaques and Herron, Spain; Winkfield, England; Bages, Spain; Guadalupe, Mexico; Sichuan, China; New York City, USA; and Ufa and Vologda, Russia.

JCAM: Please tell us about yourself.

AG: My family is my wife, Tatiana, and son Andrew Buchik (Sharpay). They are my love, my inspiration and my wealth – my life. I must thank everyone in my family for the opportunity to work in the arts. Having an artist in the family is a serious test for all concerned.

JCAM:  When and how did you start making art?

How have I managed to live a creative life and make art? It’s simple! I was born that way! As I can remember, at about four or five years of age, I was very different from my peers. I did not have or share their children’s ideas. I found it hard growing up because even then I thought I was an adult. It is only now my wife calls me a child.

Creative activities that are out of the ordinary for me has never been difficult. Perhaps this was helped by having friends were much older than myself. Even so, it is hard to say when my passion for art began. I just did not pay much attention to how my artistic ideas developed over time. It always seemed to me that this is as it should be and that there was nothing special about being an artist. All I know how to do is to write, to count, to read and to draw.  All these ambitions smoothly and mysteriously fill my life now as they did when I was younger.

JCAM:  Can you speak about your creative process and practice?

Ah, the creative process!  This is absolutely not an understandable thing.  Each creative  event occurs differently and is never repeated. Can a few hours of thinking about this process quickly and easily solve the problem an artist sets?  Sometimes it a decision takes years and years. Even so, sometimes I work in another way. Then I love and cherish everything I do. I have no favorite and favorite works. I say to myself, “These are my beloved children.” Interestingly, sometimes I remember and think about them for a long time while after they have left my studio. But, in the end, I have to tell each art work, “Go away and live your own life.”

JCAM:  Can you speak about your creative process and practice?

These “creative patterns” you mention; I do not use these. Such things are excluded from my working process. Routines and creativity are two different concepts; these are not the same ideas at all. For example, with any new work I come up with new ways of working and new solutions exclusively just for this work. Each master has his/her own secrets relating to their craft. As an artist I have no secrets. I am open to everyone who sees my work. It does not matter if it is painting, drawing, sculpture or any other form of art. I try to come to my work without standards and patterns. I never cease to recognize the need for this. I know the internal content of my work more than external. This, I think the result of many years of working on yourself first, and your art later on.

JCAM: What’s the first artwork you ever sold? Do you make a living from your art?

To create a picture is art; to sell a picture is a craft. For me, it is easier and more pleasant, to give my work away than to sell it. Sometimes we must with work with the dealers, but these people are not artists. I would much rather have serious guests in my studio who say they enjoy my creative work. If this conversations is possible the viewer will be able to obtain the artwork. This method of creative commerce is known to all artists.

Yes, I have always made my living as an artist, And in the of doing so process I learned much about how to live as an artist. For example, for years I worked as a designer (interiors, advertising and shopping facilities). This work provided the life of me and the family. However, creativity and artistic freedom won, that took precedence over the guaranteed income. But, that was only possible after my son graduated from university.

JCAM: Can you share your views about contemporary art and the art market?

Here it is necessary to define what is meant by the word art.  Art should contain at least two vital components: ethics and aesthetics. The pedestal on which stands the history of Christian art is ethics. Today, in my view, much of humanity is losing forever those ethical values.  Art, in turn, also has changed its external and internal content. It is strongly, and perhaps wrongly, deformed. Yet this product of the creative efforts of individuals is still referred to as an art. In fact, the “art” of such efforts is irrelevant. Still, art has two basic principles: ethics and aesthetics. Some people continue to push creative experiments by deleting these main arguments.  This is a road to nowhere. There are sculptures, paintings, graphic arts that are being produced … but the essential ethics and aesthetics of the works are (most unfortunately) gone from them. The intelligent viewing public sees this. I am suggesting nothing new here.

In the 21st century we now have huge mass of “art” being made without being imbued with the essentials of art. The eternal, incorruptible, honest, sparkling-like-a-diamond ideas are most often lost among the cheap glass of popular, gallery art-making nonsense and selling to the art collector/investor. Even so, in spite of these banal and misgiuded practices, the ethical and aesthetic diamond that is truly art will always be brilliant, even if it is covered up by the popular shit of the moment. A supposed work of art that is truly shit would not become art, even if it is mixed in with diamonds!

JCAM: What or who inspires you as an artist?

What inspires me?  Simply being an artist is in itself inspirational. Here is why. There are three professions which should not be practiced by random people: the doctor, teacher and artist. From my own experience I can only speak about the artist. (Some less informed people say that “artist” is not a profession. This is, of course not true.) Artists have perhaps the most important role for all people. What is this role?  Artists bring us closer to ourselves, and even more importantly, closer to God. A true knowledge of God is essential for the future of all people. What is happening in our world today, in the arts we see around us, these are the fruits of people accidentally fell into the artistic profession.

On a personal level, true art stirs my mind and makes me work harder than ever to express my ideas.  Through my art I want, at the very least, (perhaps just a little) to stop the ethical decline of people. I fill my works with irony. I will not argue over the importance of this approach. I work at my art to provide a glimpse, a hint, a reflection about who we are, about where we are going and about what will happen to us in the future. It is my firm believe that real (ethical and aesthetic) art can help us to understand these things. I am happy that God has given me such a burden as to be an artist. Through my art and artistic practice, I will try to justify his confidence.