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I was born in the Urals and studied in Moscow; I have lived and worked in Amsterdam, Paris, and Greece but I have been based primarily in London with my family for the last eighteen years. Like most things Russian, my work is not easy to categorise: there are different and perhaps competing qualities at work, of classical reference and modernity, of the architect and the artisan, of a free spirit with perfectionist tendencies… My original training as an architect means that I like an image to be ‘solid on its feet’, to be structured. I begin by drawing many versions of an image and I always want to ensure the figure is sitting correctly in its frame. My background is also evident in a sense of linearity and balance within the composition. Despite this discipline, I have an emotional attitude to painting, and I love to discover an image as it develops, rather than to begin with my own concept or ‘story’. I believe the perception of a painting should come from the heart over the mind – it always does for me. Tell me the story behind any painting, and perhaps you will change my intellectual understanding of it, but it won’t move me like an elegant, well-placed brushstroke or the effect of light picking out a sumptuous fold of cloth or falling gently on bare skin. I love beautiful things and my work is decorative and meant to please the eye - but the work is real, not theatrical or ‘retro’; it comes very much from the time we live in and from the moment it was created. When I draw and paint, I respond to the pure loveliness of a gesture, a laugh, or perhaps a hint of sorrow or joy in a glance, or a poignancy in the placement of the hands or the set of the shoulders: I seek to capture an instant.