"My art has no articulated aim, it’s just another language to say what you can’t with regular speech or poetry or mathematics formula. Possibly it’s just a try to convey feelings."
Valeriy Yukhymov was born in 1960 in Odessa city (former USSR). From an ordinary family of an industrial engineer and a school teacher's parents. They lived in the courtside of an old three-story building in the city center, five members shared a one-room flat. His learning at school was quite easy and his childhood interests and hobbies said nothing to predict further interest in art.
In 1981, Valeriy Yukhymov graduated from Odessa Polytechnic Institute, and for the next twelve years, he worked as a scientific researcher in the field of machine tools, industrial robots, and automated production reliability testing. In 1991, he graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Moscow. In the following years, he left the science career, followed by the harsh days when the former USSR fell apart – inflation, lack of money, and the crisis of scientific researches and industry, etc. It should be mentioned that during that period of time, Valeriy Yukhymov was engaged in poetry for more than fifteen years and he possessed literary skills. Due to the general outlook of science and IT, he moved to printed media, at the beginning in Odessa and then in Kiev, the capital of newly independent Ukraine. There, Valeriy Yukhymov managed different business editions as an Editor in Chief for about 18-20 years. That career plus life experience and technical and scientific background allowed him to practice as a business and logistics consultant occupying the position of Director of a consulting company. Six years ago, he returned to Odessa for several reasons and at the moment, Valeriy Yukhymov earns a living with the same logistics business for a private company.
Known for his poetries when living in Kiev, Valeriy Yukhymov was close to the art community and kept friendships with several artists and writers. Thereby, surrounded by art, it pushed him towards his own art practice in early 2000.
Valeriy Yukhymov has presented his work in different places around Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Rivne, Kherson…) and abroad – galleries, store shopping areas, museums. Including the “Wave & Coast” exhibition which took place in 2017 in Odessa Museum of West and East Art, with more than 120 paintings of different series and periods. Such a big exhibition needs thinking over and time to prepare, but as a result it provides an opportunity for the artist to take a step to the side and look distantly in his own way.
Valeriy Yukhymov’s artwork offers us a frame of thoughts within thoughts. Sometimes you
never know who you’re holding a light for, and that is exactly what his art conveys. His art is not only art,
but it’s a voice. That voice that often times you find within that you can’t seem to express. Then
here is Valeriy Yukhymov, willingly, although unknowingly, saying what you yearn to say.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. It needs to separate what role does he have or has to have. Another issue – it depends on society and varies from society to society. As the overwhelming majority of the human population is unfamiliar with art and receives any art information through the artist’s provocations, actions and other ways to attract media attention. Thus, we could talk only about a thin layer of the people who are interested in art and could understand art in its evolution. In my mind, real artists do not have any special functions or roles to play, he doesn’t talk to crowds and is not waiting for applauses. Moreover, real (not realistic) art has to appeal to the cultural background so it means – beyond the crowd. Need to point out, when I’m using modality of an obligation it just means “I believe,” nothing more.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. The best means to choose one of many, it’s difficult. Scoring a goal when playing football with
classmates, the first girl, first trips to another city, sea cruise on the Black Sea with my cousin when
we were 8-9 y.o. etc.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. I’m not sure I had definite ideas till 12-13 y.o. Then just feeling I’m predisposed to more precise
fields of human activity like physics or mathematics. Growing up we understand lots of life
realities which contradicts with childhood romantic intentions.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. As stated above, I started my art exercises when I was over 40. They were works on carton or
fiberboard with gouache and acrylic, some abstract landscapes.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. I’d say it’s a kind of expressionism, not strongly abstract but with a large share of conventionality.
At the same time, I propose to the observer with some cultural associations so that
conventionality of the object leaves a place for personal interpretation. Style as a technique may vary from acrylic to oil, from monochrome painting to colorful, from painting to graphics
and so on. It’s hard to say if I’m following somebody in my style because I came to it with intuition and it’s not one forever, it’s changing with me.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. My art has no articulated aim, it’s just another language to say what you can’t with regular speech or poetry or mathematics formula. Possibly it’s just a try to convey feelings.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. Maybe the lack of pragmatism.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. The only irretrievable human resource is the time we spent on something. So, spending it for art I
have to limit other interests such as music, movies, but is it a sacrifice? Just a choice in the standard
situation with limited resources.
Q. Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else
A. I can’t name somebody definitely, somehow or another but art has been influenced – by its
technique or general idea. Any name as an example will need comments because there are
more and less successful works from the same author, or different periods, series etc.
So, I’m not a follower of someone specifically, I believe.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Solitude, loneliness is a destiny of the artist if he’s not targeting the crowd. It’s a great
luck if there is an intelligent interlocutor or just bystander. A poet, an artist is lonely in
the universe a-priory, and they are talking to only one person. So, any special counteraction,
it’s just a way of living.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. Many things bring me pleasure – cigars or pipe, good wine or whisky, flirt, fishing, reading,
photography, just walking along the sea or cooking grill outdoors.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. The process of art creation has its own intrinsic value for the author. So, the result has to satisfy me,
first of all, nevertheless public opinion.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Usually, I’m not talking in such terms on the outer side of art. As a rule, it is not the relationship to
the subject of art but it reflects popularity, publicity, fame, etc. Rather it’s about the internal sense
and self-appraisal. Yes, the outer side is important, but not by that much to lose content when
running for worldly glory.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Life is short.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. If I received and followed the advices, it may be that I would have another life and it would be
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Old doctors don’t lie.
Q. What do you feel for art or what does art evoke in you?
A. Concerning the nature of art I hold, rather than a prosaic point of view, it’s just a peacock tail, a
way to attract a female, demonstration of own differences to invite attention. In other words,
Art is a way to convince yourself of your own personality when you are living in a mass market.