Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Boomerang Child, Decision Portrait

(Above: Boomerang Child, Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: Living with Dad....Again. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Unframed: 25" x 19"; framed 31" x 25". Hand embroidery and beading. Click on image to enlarge.)

Nikolai Oshkolkov is a talented young visual artist and musician whose life is a mixture of interests and cultures. He's Russian; he's American. His conversations glide effortlessly between the two languages, the two artistic forms of expression, and with people of all ages and backgrounds. He's had three shows at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. (This is where my studio is located!) Each exhibition was a near "sell out". Each included a jam session....banjo pickers and Nikolai on the balalaika, though he is equally competent on the piano. (Here's a link to one of the videos!)

Nikolai is also very young and trying to "make it" as a professional artist. His work is excellent; sales at his annual exhibit are excellent. Yet, like most young, struggling artists, the financial demands of the world are more overwhelming than the successes can fulfill. As a result, Nikolai is back at home....his father's home.

(Above: Boomerang Child, Decision Portrait Series. Detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

I learned this during Nikolai's last exhibition. We had a chance to talk while he was hanging his artwork. I asked him to consider participating in my series.....and he said "yes" even before I got a chance to explain my ideas for the piece. I don't think Nikolai had ever heard the term "boomerang child". He just laughed and signed the model's release and posed for the photos. Nikolai knows how hard it is to struggle for independence as an artist. He is always willing to help someone else pursuing this elusive dream. Thanks, Nikolai, for helping with my quest!

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