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IF YOU PAINT IT, THEY WILL COME

REBECCA PAHLE (Art Business News magazine)

 

Attention, aspiring fine artists: You want to see a real-life success story? Then take a look at painter Daria Bagrintseva, who in the years since taking on the role of professional artist has found success not only on a creative level but on a commercial one as well.

Born in Russia, Bagrintseva attended the prestigious Moscow State Art-Design Academy and graduated with a master’s in Art. Though her formal education taught her the techniques she needed to become a professional artist, in the years since graduating she has become less concerned with the “rules” of her trade.

Bagrintseva experiments with a variety of different media and styles, going wherever her creativity leads and trusting that staying true to herself will yield work that others will find compelling.

As it happens, that trust was not unfounded. The last few years have seen the cost of Bagrintseva’s paintings double — sometimes even triple—in value annually. Her larger pieces typically sell for between $15,000 and $40,000, though the most expensive painting she has ever sold had a much higher price tag: $120,000. Bagrintseva’s art has been featured in shows and exhibitions around the world, including the artistic hubs of Paris, Miami, Moscow, Las Vegas and New York City. And that’s just in 2012!

While the commercial success is wonderful, for Bagrintseva it’s just a happy result of opening herself up to her emotions. Her personal style is an eclectic one—a mix of various influences, including expressionism, impressionism, postmodernism and even pop art.

Bagrintseva doesn’t limit herself to just one subject, either. She opts to follow her creative impulses, whether that means painting wildlife, cityscapes, nudes or fl orals. In staying constantly receptive to the world around her, Bagrintseva has freed herself to create an impressive body of work that is imbued with an undeniable sincerity.

REBECCA PAHLE (ABN): What’s a typical day like for you in terms of time spent devoted to painting?

DARIA BAGRINTSEVA (DB): Good painting hours for me [start at] 11 p.m., when I have all night, or in the morning, when I have all day. I usually spend six to eight hours a day at work. I now have a large and comfortable workshop where I close myself up for hours... It oft en happens that the work is so fascinating that [I forget to sleep]! When I paint, I feel alive.

ABN: How do you “recharge” your creativity? Do you travel a lot, visit museums, get out into nature?

DB: I do travel a lot. I love to visit all kinds of secret little places. I have visited more than 30 countries. On all my trips, I go to museums—not only art museums, but also nature and history museums. I also like to visit national parks.

Yoga gives me the strength to have balance and creativity. And I am very supported by my family. Those who are close to me believe in me and support me in everything.

ABN: Every artist goes through at least brief periods of “artist’s block,” where they’re just not feeling the creative vibe or can’t seem to get what they want to express onto the canvas. How do you deal with that when it happens to you?

DB: The main thing is to not worry and not push yourself to create something by force. I try to change the type of activity, use the time to relax, to communicate with my family, watch movies and communicate with friends. It is also an excellent time to learn something new and start again.

ABN: How have you evolved since you graduated from art school, both in terms of your style and how you approach your art?

DB: I became bolder and more experienced, of course. If a person does not develop — does not want more and want to use all the chances and opportunities that gives him life — it is tantamount to death, even if he continues to live.

ABN: You’re best known as a painter, but you’ve worked with other media, including photography and interior design. Are there any other art forms that you’ve yet to tackle but want to try?

DB: There are a few projects [I’m working on]. Some are associated with the use of photos that I took when traveling. I also have an idea for installations on social issues of concern to the whole world. I want to continue to create things that... do not leave people indifferent.

ABN: Forging an emotional connection with the viewer is clearly important to you. What is the typical response you get from people who are seeing your art for the first time?

DB: Many people tell me that my paintings are like power plants that energize their owners. Best of all, a lot of people talking to me and seeing my work begin themselves to create — to write poetry, compose music and start learning to draw.

ABN: Your artwork is extremely popular; it has been exhibited at shows around the world and oft en sells out. In terms of the business side of your career, to what do you attribute your success?

DB: In today’s world there are so many opportunities to promote the artist. People who engage in this process are very important. You need to have professionals around you. I try to surround myself with people who are close to me in spirit—workaholics who “burn” on the job as well as I do. I am open to all offers. I’m very easygoing. I like to communicate with clients.

ABN: Who are the artists who inspire you? Is there a style or era of art that you most gravitate toward as a lover of art?

DB: I admire professionals who have no boundaries in what they do. Among contemporary artists: Anselm Kiefer, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin. Of the artists of the past: Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Mikhail Vrubel, Valentin Serov, Paul Klee, Auguste Rodin — a lot of them. It is impossible to list them all.

ABN: What’s up next for you?

DB: There is a joint project of the State Russian Museum and one with a British gallery that is nearing completion. This is all I can say. The rest, for now, is not for publication. ABN