“All children in the world are our teachers.
Just trust me.” 

 

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Between physical distance, language barriers and artistic eccentricity, interviewing Maxim certainly had it’s challenges. However these also are what makes the interview with the young Russian artist all he more interesting and unique. We present the artists’ views on his life, work and what it means to be an artist in contemporary Russia, preserving Maxim’s spontaneous and frank attitude.

by Bianca Pick

MAXIM SANTALOV ON

…his life
I was born in Moscow but my grandmother was Ukrainian. So every summer of my childhood, I went to this village in the Ukraine, to visit my great grandmother. There I grazed cows, walked on vast pea and sunflower fields, and ran around the garden with other children. It was the happiest time in my life.

…being a self-taught artist
I have been painting for about six years, which is the approximate period of study in the typical art school. So it is possible to say that I just now got the diploma of “higher self-education.”
It is something I have achieved by following only my intuition. How it works, I do not know.

…the art academy
The only circumstance which might lead me to go to an art academy is if I’m invited to teach there.

…his style
I have not found my own style.

…his work
We have a harsh climate in Moscow. My works are like windows- with them I want to lighten up as the apartment as much as possible.

…the childlike quality of his art
Nice to know that least with a pencil I can express my childish spontaneity. In general, all children in the world are our teachers. Just trust me.
And thanks for the compliment!

…Russian culture
This is a very serious question….
For me, Russian culture is dancing to balalaika in a hut and nothing more. But if my drawings inspire anyone interested in Russian folklore art such as Khokhloma or Gzhel, I’ll be happy.

Russian culture does not tolerate the “mixed media”. If Kandinsky and Chagall used Russian folk tunes, they played it on western electric guitar. I understand why they emigrated to Europe, Chagall and Kandinsky. The situation in Russia today is not much different.

…Sanity
I do not believe that mentally healthy people exist in the modern world. Especially in art these people are absent.
Art is like an outlet. The goal for us is to learn to lift the lid of the pot of boiling water – to let off steam.

Check out more available works by Maxim Santalov here