**click portrait to enlarge**
(oil painting on canvas, 18X22, 2006)
"The Sunflower Nymph"
I've decided to openly admit that there were times in my professional career I'd rather forget. I hate being so blatantly honest about my embarrassing artistic endeavors, but I feel I must speak out to warn budding artists about the futility of selling out... Although, it does seem to work for so many creative people I still believe that it's always better to know that you were able to keep your artistic integrity intact. But I digress...
One year in my early twenties I was asked to participate in a Christmas fair. The public expected to attend was mostly Ukrainian and I sensed the potential to sell a lot of works (due to fact that I knew my potential costumers so well). I already had quite a lot of paintings for sale. Most of them were watercolors done in my usual whimsical style. After a careful evaluation, I've decided that I need to come up with some artwork a Ukrainian person would deem appealing.
For those of you who are not Ukrainians I need to explain what constitutes a true Ukrainian person's aesthetic must-haves. Apart from a bandura, a lute-like instrument with an infinite number of strings that most Ukrainians in diaspora keep collecting dust in their closets or under their beds, a Ukrainian must have 3 very specific paintings. One painting has to depict sunflowers either in a bouquet or in their natural habitat. The second painting must be of bright red poppies. The third work of art could either portray a Ukrainian Cossack, (a warrior with long sad mustache and a head completely shaved apart for one long strand of hair on its top), or a Ukrainian young woman in a traditional poppy head wreath is also permissible.
Armed with the aforementioned knowledge and with very little time until the fair I decided to do a few paintings of poppies and sunflowers. Although I've never painted flowers before I figured they'd take less time than people's faces. To make a long story short, I painted a few horrible still lifes. Didn't sell a single one. Years later found one of the unfortunate paintings in the basement. Painted a chick over it and called the piece the sunflower nymph. The moral of this story is: "Don't sell your soul. If you're lucky and the universe is looking out for you it won't work out anyway."
"Every young sculptor seems to think that he must give the world some specimen of indecorous womanhood, and call it Eve, Venus, a Nymph, or any name that may apologize for a lack of decent clothing."
"Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows."