"The inspiration comes with the work."
Vladimir Kryloff was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1976. He grew up in a family with a Jewish background and spend most of his adolescent time in Vilnius. He remembers his childhood years as happy, a carefree time going to school, spending most of his time with friends and playing kids games in the yard. He used to go a lot to the Baltic seaside and countryside with his parents during school holidays. In essence, Vladimir had a very happy childhood. At the age of 20, he left Lithuania for the UK to start his new life there.
Vladimir Kryloff had his first group show in Vienna, Austria in 2006. After that, he had some more shows in Austria where he resided for quite some time after finishing his studies in the United Kingdom. He has yet to have his solo show, but is planning to do so in the near future.
A clear facial expression is not necessary in order to comprehend the story that Vladimir Kryloff is conveying with his art. While the expression and features may not always be direct, the emotion is still transmitted to an extent that is almost tangible. Vladimir Kryloff’s art provides a sort of hidden moment that somehow, we all have managed to keep quiet about. And now, now you stand before his art that depicts more than words can express. What is left, is the simple realization that somehow, somewhere, someone defines your truth and helps you understand it.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. I seriously became interested in art in my twenties after I attended the Wassily Kandinsky art exhibition. I was so impressed by the abstract compositions of this Russian painter that I started to take interest in painting myself. At that time, I had finished Birmingham University and Reading University with a Bachelors and Masters degree in economics and had started my career in finance. So, my beginnings were quite atypical for what is considered usual and standard for the artist's life. But at the same time, my own initial inspiration came from the painter Kandinsky who enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics and began painting studies at the age of 30. And so, it started in my late twenties when I began privately studying art and painting, doing lots of paintings, life-drawings and additionally, going to numerous art exhibitions and art museums studying works of famous and not so famous artists, painters. In the daytime, I was still working in finance, trying to earn money for a living and in the evenings, all my free time, I was trying hard to get strong grips on my own paintings, sketches, life-drawings.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. I do not feel like I have sacrificed anything for my artist career. In fact, I am so passionate about painting that at this time of my life I cannot even imagine my life without it (art, painting). I love what I do, sometimes happy with the result, sometimes not too much but I am pretty sure that my best works are still coming and so I continue to work by constantly painting. So no, the thought of the sacrifice of something in my life by painting never occurred to me. But I do realize lately that sometimes I need to stop painting and go outside the studio for fresh air, spend more time with family and meet my friends. At the same time, I am in a hurry to produce the works which I have really planned, and these plans are only being extended over time.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. Not really sure if I have some particular style. Maybe I will leave it to art critics to judge what style if any I have.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. My biggest influences came from the various painters -their works, their biographies - Botticelli god beautiful portraits, Caravaggio and Rembrandt dramatic works, portraits of light and shadows, Odilon Redon symbolistic works, Claude Monet and his impressionist works, Gaugen with his incredibly inspiring works, Malevich with his abstract figures and objects. Many other more- James Ensor, Pier Bonnard, Felix Vallotton. I love very much post-war artists, they do inspire a lot- Yves Klein and his blues, Kazou Shiraga with his avant-garde works, Piet Mondrian and his beautiful primary color compositions, Lucien Freud with his fantastic figurative works, Francis Bacon with his raw imagery, Alberto Burri’s incredible almost sculpture feel paintings, the abstract color works of Rothko and William De Kooning I should also mention several of my peers who inspire me a lot – Adrien Ghenie, Nicola Samori and Cecily Brown.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. I love to explore the theme of man and its relationship to nature. I love to spend my time in nature, alone or with friends. This topic of nature pops out in the numerous forms in my works—some flowers with the girl portraits I did, some birds or butterflies appearing next to human faces I paint. Eventually, colors of nature parts popping out everywhere – blue skies, green, earth color landscapes, yellow sands, pink flamingos, black colors of dark nights. The art theme slowly moves from lyrical to drama interaction between man and nature as I think nature can be very much destroying despite our action or inaction towards it. Fires, colds, hurricanes, floods come and kill humans irrespectively and non- discriminatively. So is my art tries to focus on this love and hate relationship between man and nature. There is another important aspect of my art—the constant urge for clear expression of some primary colors. The domination of these colors varies overtime in my artworks- from yellow to reds, from blues to greens, from blacks to orange. There are a whole series of paintings I executed which cover each of these color periods. There was no intention in this rather unconscious willingness to lose myself entirely in one or the other primary colors. After all, colors are the aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of light being reflected or emitted by them. In this case, I am being completely absorbed by the different lights which bounce from my subjects. This urge to be absorbed by the color is very addictive and drives me to put out my artwork in a constant fashion.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. The artistic life, in general, is not so lonely however the work-life, i.e. mine as the painter's work-life can be lonely but it depends on the scope and the subject of work. I prefer to work on my own when it comes to art studio work. However, I am a very social person and do not mind to have a conversation with my friends during the pauses between different phases of painting work.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I love very much to travel, going to the countryside and sports! Jogging, bicycle, swimming.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Well, I am a painter after all and for me it’s easier to express philosophy in the matter of art simply by sitting down and painting. If I would be a good writer then I would probably write here an extensive paragraph or two on matters of art. Art was, is and will be always part of our life. These days we have the privilege to enjoy art, good art on a daily basis. The world became with few boundaries in recent years. You can travel and enjoy the greatest pieces of art in real life in person which was absolutely impossible for many people let’s say 40-50 years ago. The arrival of the internet provided even more opportunities to discover and see art. I have seen so many good artists and their works the first time on the internet. The artists from whom I draw influenced in creating my own art. This is quite an important moment for many young emerging artists, whether they realize this or not. Thus this combination of new technologies, cheap travel and political changes giving freedom of movement to millions of people across the globe resulted in the arrival of many new talented artists and the appearance of new forms of art. Coming to the terms of matters of art when it comes to art creation, my philosophy is that you need to learn to observe the world around you, need to learn to listen and to feel it. This process of careful observation does not come naturally. Only after you become a good observer, you learn to observe and to feel the objects of your art, then the process of art creation produces what you expect from it – satisfying to yourself with good results. It is as if some sort of enlightenment suddenly comes upon you and you know what you need to do with your painting to get things done.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success means to me very tangible things. One can say—he or she is a successful artist. And by that it is usually meant that this artist sells good, has extensive exhibitions across the globe at most important art fairs, the collectors and galleries are after his or her art. If that is the case, then one can clearly say that this artist has success.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. Nobody really gave me any advice, it all came through a trial and error learning process to me, be it my own life or the lives of the numerous people whom I met.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Take care of nature guys, we need to leave it nice to other generations otherwise we risk that in another 100 years there will be nobody left to enjoy your art however good it might be.