“For me, art is more than a separate field of activity. It does not exist separately from everything that I do. It acts like some unique energy through which I live.”
Alexey Adonin was born in 1973 in the small town of Slutsk, Belarus. He is the only child to his mother, a building engineer and to his father, a painter and a musician. He has been drawing since his childhood, as his artistic path began when he was eight years old. It was natural for him to become an artist because he took after his father. Alexey believes it was when he made a portrait of his grandfather that his parents noticed how accurately he drew people’s faces. He soon started to use only his imagination and began making sketches of futuristic landscapes filled with technology, of which he was so passionate. Adonin was a big fan of sci-fi, he got his inspiration from books of famous Russian and international writers, such as the Strugatsky brothers, Alexander Belyaev, Ivan Yefremov, Stanisław Lem, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and many others. He also subscribed to the mailing lists of popular Soviet scientific magazines such as "Technology for the Youth" and "Science and Life." Since his father was teaching at the children’s art school, Alexey began attending drawing classes. In 1989, he began his studies at the state art college named after A. Glebov, he then moved to Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. The USSR was falling apart. Therefore, soon after this graduation Alexey and his family decided to leave for Israel. Integration into another country is a complex and lengthy process. This and other factors caused him to stop the continuation of his creativity for nine years. However, when he thinks about this now, he concludes that such a hiatus was actually useful to him. After graduating from his studies in Minsk, Adonin had some practical base but he was too young and lacked life experience. Now, he’s grown up and filled with ideas. He began drawing again in 2002 and in 2004 he painted his first oil painting, symbolically called "Per Aspera Ad Astra," which is a Latin saying that means "Through Hardships to The Stars."
Since the artist naturally follows his unique path, Alexey Adonin's style also began developing through the prism of personal preferences. When he was a little boy, he became interested in science and science fiction, this inspired him to implement these themes into his art. It all started with opuses about humanity's future, the possible development of technology, human exploration of other worlds, and contact with other more advanced civilizations. He had always been obsessed with the concept of a perfect society by implementing smart innovations, humanity does not pollute nature. Alexey also spent plenty of time outdoors, watching the stunning wilderness, cultivating his respect for it, and absorbing an intuitive knowledge. All these factors influenced the development of critical thinking in him, which allowed him to start searching outside the visible world. Being interested in philosophy and inner human space, he was unsatisfied with the banal copying of reality. Alexey has always striven to create something that could have more in-deep meanings. By combining and calibrating the balance between abstract and surrealism, he found that he could get as close to this state as possible. Alexey calls this style - visual philosophy. This kind of art allows you to plunge into non-verbal contemplation by connecting your imagination and critical thinking.
Alexey Adonin skilfully and passionately brings the mysteries of our individual minds to life in each of his creations. The thoughts that linger just out of reach or the feelings we do not always quite understand, both of these are inconspicuous elements of his art. His color palette is one of freshness and modernistic tones and undeniably a thing of futuristic beauty. Alexey can transport us anywhere in time and in space through the universes he creates on canvas, while somehow concurrently bringing us back to our true selves.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Art and philosophy are inseparable. It is like He and She – they are meant to be together! The result of this unity is the ability to dive into the most profound areas of consciousness - the preverbal spheres. The silent presence of light always accompanies the mysterious path and warms the artist's soul with boundless love. As in the clean sheets of the hearth, as in the mother's bed, a child peacefully opens his innocent eyes, so I find my peace in art, awakening with the joy from a long sleep. Each time I free myself from constraints, each new creation is a unique cognitive experience. Art heals from the most terrible disease of humanity - fossilization, callousness. I will say it with a quote from "Stalker": "When a person is born, he is gentle and flexible, and when he dies, he is strong and callous. When a tree grows, it is tender and flexible, and when it is dry and tough, it dies. Callousness and strength are companions of death. Gentleness and flexibility - express the freshness of being."
Q. Tell us about some of the highlights of your artistic career, such us memorable shows or publications?
A. One of the highlights of my career was 2020, when my work "Existential Spheres" had been selected by New York "Artios Gallery" as winner of the "United Through Art" curated art exhibition. Shortly after, I signed a contract with them on being presented by the gallery for one year. "Artios Gallery" also organized a solo exhibition "Beyond the Consequence of Time (2005-2020) - A Retrospective of Works."
In general, 2020 turned out to be one of the most productive years of my career. My work was printed in magazines and often adorned with beautiful poetry pages. I was regularly being interviewed and I also participated in exhibitions and competitions, often winning prizes.
Q. What role does the Artist/ Painter have in society?
A. People are social creatures, but they are very disunited today by the modern ways of living. Even when science and technology have brought us seeming comfort, it dissociates us simultaneously.
Humanity is also affected by many other equally dangerous phenomena, such as greed, lust, envy, and anger. These factors promise nothing but an apocalypse. By the way, it is well depicted in Hollywood movies.
The true artist is passionately devoted to their mission; his art is honest and open to himself and society, even to naivety. Often, an artist is apolitical. However, it is a mistake to believe that an artist is no more than an entertainer. I think he gives something on a level beyond conventional.
Now, when many people are awakening from imposed dogmas, they have a significant demand for more profound art. The artist's creative impulses and passion reflect that need. Art acts as a bridge through our shared humanity that connects us. The questions the artist asks in their creations may seem impractical and illogical. However, it's an indicator that we are spiritual creatures, and we need something bigger than just basic things. To live a full life, we also need spiritual fulfillment! This is what enriches us!
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. I think one of my best childhood memories is when my dad and I went fishing. So, here is a note-remembrance I wrote not so long ago: "We get up early in the morning. It is still dark since about an hour remains until dawn. A calm summer morning always greets us with silence. There is not a single soul on the street - just us. I can barely keep up with my father's fast pace. We go to the bus station to catch the first bus going to the countryside. Fortunately, there are many lakes and rivers nearby. I fall asleep on the bus, and soon my father wakes me closer to the destination point. We leave the bus and go towards the river. The sun had already risen, illuminating the rural landscape. Finally, we came there. Each of us has chosen a place by the river, at some distance from each other. I cast my fishing rod. While there is nothing happening with the bobber, I start watching the surroundings. Early in the morning it’s almost silent. I can only hear some insects chirping in the grass, and the water is gurgling from playful fish. Nature is beautiful. I can spend hours looking at the diversity of life. I also look at the sky, watching clouds forming into whether animal's silhouettes or something like that. But then the bobber distracts me. The fish are biting..."
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. Even though searching for life destinations often becomes something that causes torments, in my case, I did not even raise such a question. It was unnecessary because, unlike most of my peers, I knew that I was an artist since childhood, I have always felt that way. I didn't dream of it; I didn't strive and didn't make any effort - I have always been one. It's like something that I have been forever and ever, even before I was born. It's just an inseparable part of me that I brought along with me from somewhere. It's my core. If you look at my style, you can note that it hasn't changed dramatically since childhood. As I gained experience, it became more emphasized and overgrown with details, but the base is the same. I think anyone would agree - it's not something that can be chosen or artificially created. I like to think of it as an enigma and want to keep it that way.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. It was my grandpa's portrait. I was eight years old. My grandpa and my parents were surprised and did not stop admiring it for a long time. I kept that drawing and still have it today. This was the first time my parents paid attention to my talent and how accurately I drew people's faces. They inspired me to keep it up.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. In the past, I have possessed by pessimism, self-pity, laziness, aggression, fervor, ignorance, and cynicism that have influenced my life most directly. When I understood I could not put up with it anymore, I began to study and practice various self-improvement methods. It is always profitable to create the right attitude to everything before the mind tells you otherwise and drags you into troubles. That is why I perceive self-improvement as an absolute necessity. I began to explore several directions and soon made my own system, adapting for myself extracts from various teachings. My social circle began to change; with new interests, new people came into my life, and old habits, along with old friends, left. It influenced my art, as well, by transforming the perception and overall theme. However, I have always avoided fanaticism and chose the middle path for myself, realizing that any hobby could hurt if overdone. I believe that work on yourself never ends, even upon achieving a seemingly good result. Therefore, I work to this day to create the best and most effective me.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. I've had to make some decisions about my future in the past, but I doubt it can be called a sacrifice. Merely, I always strive to stay true to my ideology and not betray myself for the benefit of dubious advantages. It reminds of passing obstacles in your path akin to underwater rocks in the river where you sail. By doing my favorite thing, I have not lost anything but only won. I am happy with who I have become and enjoy what I do. I believe that a person's purpose is oeuvre, self-improvement, and spiritual growth, but not just consumption, money-grubbing, and having dubious pleasures.
However, being a supporter of the so-called "Middle Way," I understand that it is essential to be in agreement with all aspects of being. Therefore, in parallel with my spiritual, metaphysical growth, I am also engaged in a banal improvement in the physical world. It is impossible to cognize the higher if you fail in fundamental things. (I don't want to degrade to the level where I need someone's pity or care). I merely do not put this need at the forefront. Thus, I remain free from the system's obsessive fetters.
As in art and life, I'm not satisfied with mediocrity. I try to avoid patterns of behavior imposed by society. I devote myself to those aspects of life which somehow reflect my inner world.
Q. Who are your biggest influences, are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Perhaps, in terms of the development of artistic taste, critical thinking, and extraordinary perception, my father had the most significant influence. Since this influence began in childhood, it left the most remarkable imprint on me. Later, tracing and analyzing my work, it was pleasant for me to realize that the seeds of valuable experience, once planted by my father, matured into the form of a powerful potential that opened the way for me to process my realization. I'm convinced that the very fact of such a unique acquisition, combined with my irrepressible desire for creativity, was sufficient to create my original style. The knowledge I accumulated in various fields, and other general motivating factors, also played an essential role in my development. However, the main thing for me was the acquired ability to perceive the world through art's prism and see everyday events as a unique form of creative activity. This ability to live art every time inspires me to proceed with the creative process.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. I do not feel lonely, and I do not see anything intimidating in being alone. I accept it as a state of calm that promotes my creative activity. When I am alone, I do not have to pretend, playing numerous roles imposed by society. I can be who I am. Moving away from the hustle and bustle in this state, I can work calmly, immersed in my thoughts.
Each of us is born as someone unique, with his world, lives by it, and leaves this world with it. Another question is, is this separate world self-sufficient? For me, the answer is obvious! I do not really the presence of someone. It often tires me. I think loneliness is my unique, conscious, and self-sufficient state of mind.
Q. Apart from your art, what do you love doing?
A. I love hiking and jogging in nature (forest or seaside) while listening to pleasant music. I practice various physical and spiritual practices. It is a complex of multiple exercises such as qigong and yoga.
I am continually accumulating knowledge on self-development, self-improvement, self-knowledge of a person, a healthy lifestyle, and everything that can help achieve success and happiness in life. I am also interested in knowledge about faith, religion, strange phenomena, esotericism, meaning and purpose of life. I try to understand myself, solve my problems, and develop essential personality traits to live a fuller life, achieve my goals, and not give up in the face of difficulties.
Q. What does "success" mean to you?
A. My creative search is carried out by the principle of a "journey - discovery", and I never know what awaits me at the end of this voyage. However, I know how and when the tipping point occurs along
the way, and when work requires a lot of inspirational power. Therefore, success is also in finding the necessary compositional and color solutions that cannot be foreseen or planned. As a bonus to this, there is recognition by the majority, which manifests itself in the form of various publications on public platforms, participation, and awards in competitions, etc. In the sales, of course, too, because the material component is a form of energy exchange, it is impossible to live without in the modern world. I also give an essential role to personal growth, including self-education in various areas, physical and spiritual development. So, there are some different types of success. The most relevant for me are achievements in artistic creation, publicity and recognition, and personal growth.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. I found that everything in our life is relatively neutral until we give it our interpretation. So, I always try to create the right attitude to everything before my mind tells me otherwise. This approach allows me to enjoy every moment of life outside of my studio, whether it’s a day-by-day job or all sorts of worldly affairs not related to my oeuvre. I am sure the way we think shapes our world. Like a mirror, the world reflects our attitude towards it - that is, it begins to correspond to our ideas about it.
In the modern world, our mind often succumbs to many temptations and rushes towards third-party goals. We forget about the true desires and needs of the soul. We do not hear its quiet voice, so we drive ourselves into frames, and invent obstacles for ourselves. Therefore, it is much more important to listen to yourself and not rely on someone else's "competence". I try to move towards my goals, and think about the end result, as if my intention has already been realized, and not let doubts take over.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. My grandpa, who went through World War II and got awarded many times, told me the following story. In the first months of the war, there was great chaos. In one of the heavy shellings, my grandpa was in his trench, the others in theirs too. As the bombardment lasted for quite a long time, accompanied by earth-shaking and terrible noise, many soldiers panicked. They often ran from trench to trench, thinking that it might save them, but in fact, it cost them their lives because numerous debris from explosions overtook them. My grandpa lived because of his ability to stay calm. He didn't panic and stayed where he was. It's a situation that bared all the hidden fears and showed who knew how to resist them and who didn’t. It shows that everyone’s survival depends on his personal qualities, the useful ones we must cultivate. Otherwise, we will have to pay a price that is too high.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. All doors are in front of you. Open the ones that are yours and hit the road, boldly. Avoid fuss, go forward without looking back, and step by step, you will turn from a student into a teacher, and from a teacher into a creator. Find your world and light it as a candle. It will burn at zenith like a star. This world will become your heavenly home, intimate and dear, and like a mirror, will reflect your light. It will carefully carry you in his soft fluffy mittens, loving you and delighting your mortal path.