Artist Interview :: Alexander Chistov
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting one of my favorite artists, Alexander Chistov, at Arcadia Contemporary‘s Group Exhibition, This Land Is. I had no idea that the artist was going to attend the opening, so you can imagine my surprise when he approached me inquiring what I liked about one of his paintings! He and his wife are such sweet, genuine people. It was an honor and inspiration to meet such a talented artist. A couple weeks later, I emailed asking if he would like to be our featured artist in our Artist Interview Blog Series. He graciously accepted the invitation. Hope you enjoy the read and perusing his beautiful paintings!
Q1. What is your style of painting referred to? For our art students, would you please
describe what this style means or represents?
I don’t particularly like to box my style under one category, but I would say my style can be described as Post Contemporary Realism. I try to produce realistic paintings.
Q2. Much of your recent work features people observing artwork in museums. What is
the story or inspiration behind your choice of subject matter?
The Museum collection came about from my visits to museums. I’m lucky to live in a city like Los Angeles where there are plenty of art museums. I found myself visiting most of them for inspiration and decided to put that on canvas.
Q3. My students are interested in the latest tools of the trade. May I please inquire your
preference for paint and brushes? Is your work on canvas board? What brands are best for
you? Do you ever make your own paint or have custom pigments made to order for any
of your projects? Do you finish with a varnish or leave as is?
I premix my own paint for my grayscale. It helps me judge the colors better. I finish with retouch varnish from Conservator’s Products Company. I mix 25/25/of matteand gloss varnish and 50% of gum turpentine. It makes for a perfect retouch varnish. I use it a lot in indirect painting. I really enjoy painting on ACM panels. They can be purchased from Natural Pigments website.
Q4. At what age did you realize you were an art spirit?
I have been interested in art since a young age. It was as a young adult when I decided
to make it my career.
Q5. Did anyone try to talk you out of fulfilling your dream as an artist? If so, how did you
Many people doubted my potential at the beginning of my career, but I stayed focused and
placed all my energy into mastering my artwork.
Q6. How did Arcadia Contemporary and you become acquainted? Did you seek them
out or did they find you?
Steve, owner of Arcadia Contemporary, found my account on social media and contacted me to inquire about my artwork. The rest is History.
Q7. What tasks does a gallery like Arcadia handle on your behalf?
When working with a gallery your main job as an artist is to create the art and meet the
deadlines. The gallery promotes the artwork and works with the buyers.
Q8. Art can touch people’s lives, bringing happiness and hope. For example, my boss’
art school partners with CoachArt to provide free art classes for families impacted by
childhood chronic illness. Is there a charity you are fond of or support, that you might
like my readers to learn more about?
I like supporting any charities or establishments that give back. I particularly like giving
back to my community and the way I do that is through my art. I produced multiple
murals for schools in the Los Angeles School District. I did this by donating my time and
offering schools discounted prices for my services. Also, I have been able to lend my
artwork to elementary school classes to inspire children and teach them about art. I
think it is important to keep art programs in schools but as soon as budgets get cut
that’s mainly what they cut from school curriculums so I try and do my part as a
community member. I have been able to do this as a team with my wife who has worked
for LAUSD before.
In closing, do you have a favorite quote, mantra or process that you find inspiring or
helpful when faced with a creative block, that you would like to share with our readers?
Stay focused on your goals. Never give up.
To learn more about Alexander, please visit his website.
Art has always been a part of my life.
I decided early on that I wanted to turn my passion into a career.
I moved to Los Angeles, California as a teenager and the city has influenced my artwork
since. While attending Fairfax High School aerosol art captured my interest and I pursued
it. Several local businesses commissioned my murals throughout the area. Soon my murals
gained attention and recognition and I was commissioned to paint several murals for
schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Creating huge works of art that adorned
the city made me proud. Murals brought me joy, I wanted to expand my artistic ability and
merged myself into fine art.
I studied oil painting every second that I had. I studied old masters such as Diego
Velazquez, Joaquin Sorolla, Ivan Shishkin, Anders Zorn and Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema
among many others. My research included visiting the museums to study paintings up
close. I would study their brushstrokes, color schemes and the subject painted. My visits to
the museums not only provided valuable knowledge but they also inspired my artwork.
During my quest to learn more about oil painting I discovered Plein-Air painting, a French
term that refers to outdoor painting. The concept really interested me and as soon as I tried
it I fell in love with it. Outdoor painting has greatly helped my studio work.
The first oil paintings I did were mostly still life and portraits. As I gained more practice
and with practice confidence I pursued landscape, seascapes and genre work. My artwork
has been published in art magazines such as Southwest Art and American Art Collector.
I continue to learn daily about traditional art and I attempt to polish my technique with
each painting. My objective is to create paintings that beautifully capture my subject and
prompt the viewer’s senses.
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