Natalia Zaboltina

I got acquainted with Alexei Lantsev and his works at a friend’s gallery a couple of years ago. In no time a warm feeling of recognition of an old friend, someone with the same aesthetic views came over me. Without any doubt Alexei’s poetic, emotional style speaks to my heart. The artist’s improvisational yet laconic manner contains so much sun and light! You can’t help but be enchanted by the author’s fresh palette with splashes of vivid and happy colours. Once seen, his unique artistic style is never forgotten.

In his art Alexei uses various techniques and materials – canvas, paper, tempera and acrylic, always with constant success.The author is equally successful in different styles and genres. But my absolute love is his landscapes, some sort of intimate travel notes from various corners of the world. He travels a lot with his works on display in many places. The last ones are St-Petersburg and Novosibirsk.

For some time, I have been cherishing the idea of interviewing Alexei to try to dig deeper into his art, but only recently he found some time to answer my questions. His answers are truly honest and deeply personal.

 Alexei, please tell us a little bit about yourself – your background, family and childhood. 

I was born and raised in the city of Krasnodar, in the south of Russia. No one in the family was involved with art, but art was always an important part of our life.  

What inspired you to become an artist? Was it a spontaneous decision or a long journey to yourself? 

It was a slow and gradual process. I started studying painting at an Art School rather late, when I was 12, and continued my education in an Art College. Being a child, I used to copy the reproductions in the fine art albums we had at home, from Leonardo to Paul Gauguin.

What is your creativity trigger?

There is no simple answer to this question.  Any little thing can be inspirational – a vivid impression, a journey, an exhibition or a piece of music, anything at all. It started when I was a child and it never ends.

How would you describe your own painting style?

Being an artist, I think I uphold high professional standards and understand the subtleties of profession. I am confident that an artist’s style can change and adapt, as he grows as both an artist and as a person. Every new work dictates new manner and new approach.  If the same manner becomes too repetitive, it leads to mannerism and artist degradation.  However, let the art critics analyze my style, it’s their business! 

What is the best mood for your creativity?

I am at my best when in a positive, balanced state of mind.

 Does your art routine and creation include some rituals or simply happen spontaneously? 

For me painting is a very energy consuming process which requires maximum concentration. Yes, I take my time to be ready to make art ­- I have to be upbeat and calm, be in a balanced state and positive mindset. The active lifestyle I’m leading is of great help. Creating art is a measured and thoughtful process to me.

In your opinion, how important is intuition and freedom of choice in art?

Freedom of expression is crucial for an artist and it’s worth fighting for at all times. Sometimes gallerists and art dealers try to influence the creative process and manipulate the author. Luckily, it is not happening very often. Of course, intuition (or subconscious, as I call it) is massively important to the artist. This subtle knowing propels us to do something without telling us why or how, and you know it’s right. 

What role, do you think, art plays in modern life? Hasn’t it lost its importance in our tough times?

I believe, the role of art in the modern world continues to grow. Especially in times of crisis, it becomes our only path to salvation and hope.Strange as it may seem, the interest in art is reaching a wider audience partly due to the technology development. The more time a man has, the more open he is for beauty.

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