Interview with Ink, the artist
When you are an artist, you are an artist. When you are a musician, you are a musician. When you are a professor, you are a professor. This has its own charm. I call this “living personas”. You exist in a number of incarnations, and they all are alive. But there are you as well, who is nobody with no name. But it is you.
– What do you do while painting?
– Paintings are my self-expression, that is the projection of my inner world into the outer one. It is the outcome of getting acquainted with my subjectivity, and objectification of its contents. And moreover painting is my loneliness that is joyful, because there are only me, canvas, paints, and brush – that’s all.
– Tell me, please, about yourself as an artist – artist Ink.
– Art has always been present in my life. In youth I drew a lot, before that in Pioneer’s House I painted in watercolor, one of my works was even shown at the Municipal exhibition.
In 1996 or 1997, I can’t remember accurately, I started to experiment with gouache, watercolor. I painted fancy flowers, but it all was lightweight.
It began in earnest later on, in Saint-Petersburg. We had got an art-center there, the room was freshly redecorated. I came there, looked around, and said: “It would be great to have at this blank wall a painting… Prime it. I’ll paint”. Having said it, I forgot my words. A month passed, and I received a call. They notified me that the wall had been readied, paints, and brushes as well. I came there and saw a huge piece of particleboard with an incredibly qualitative prime. I had been meditating for a week, and I saw what should appear on it. But I wasn’t an expert in painting at all! It was very interesting to me to take notices on how my hand had been learning by means of self-regulation method of DFC, and resonant interactions. My hand was finding out which paint to take, how to pick up the paint on the brush, how to lay it on. It seemed as if my hand was acting by its own will, while I was only holding to the contrivance.
It was madly interesting. The painting had to be 1,5 by 2 meters. I kept fretting for long, but still managed to finish that work. It was named “Chasha” (“The Chalice”). It didn’t bother me who and what would see in it. I cared that it had appeared. It was my first painting.
And it seemed as if the story had ended. But then we went to Lithuanian Zarasai to spend summer near the lake… And suddenly I said (it’s always interesting to me when something inside me blurts out unexpected suggestions): “Let’s prepare four canvases – one for a sketch, and the others for real painting”. We did it. I painted pictures. And the price for “The Call” picture was considered as starting point for many years.
How old was I that time? Fifty, I think. I tried to take lessons. The best in Saint-Petersburg painting teacher was found for me. I visited him once, and understood: here it was – my death. I paid him for three lessons, and didn’t show up again at his studio.
Surely, I have read a great deal about painting technique, but usually I invent all on the move. I’ve worked out my own textures and strokes. Or may be they had existed a long time ago, but I discovered them for me myself. I tried it this way and that way. Something had been guiding me from inside. I switched to oil painting fairly quickly, what is more – I used Dutch oil paints that could be diluted with water. So oil painting became the preferable technique for me for all my life. I can paint anything with oil. I almost never do pencil, charcoal or sepia sketches. I fulfill all the work with a brush.
I had been standing in front of the easel each day for the first three years no matter if I had the mood or not. I always painted something. Abstract… I was moving the brush, combining colors, textures. But I did it each day without fail. After three years I painted “The Consecration” in Cyprus. This picture is dedicated to woman’s esoteric initiation. And I told to myself: “This is my graduation work”.
– Have any artist influenced you? Have you imitated anyone? Have you learned at anybody’s examples? How do you feel in the world of painting? Do you think you belong to it?
– Certainly, there are artists whose works are more appealing. I like Van Gogh, Modigliani. I adore decadence, members of “Mir Iskusstva” circle, Klimt, Mucha, because I can’t do it like they could, and because it’s beautiful, exquisite. I like Kramskoy, I consider him to be one of the most outstanding portraitists. Dali. He was a genius, of course. But I like more his book “Notes of the Genius”. I appreciate expressionists, especially American. Well then, I like oeuvres that involve me, that I can emotionally connect to.
I believe that inner development, growth of subjectivity isn’t possible without emotional connection to some part of culture. What is culture? All that has outlived the time. Culture doesn’t tell us about human’s deeds in the outer world, but about the man himself, about his internal content that is rich.
What is more, I extract physiological pleasure from painting. When I paint a picture I get certain sensual enjoyment.
– Could you tell me about your almost endless portrait gallery?
– I think, there is always something of utmost importance. I’m a conservative person so, probably, for me the most significant phenomenon is the man, and his subjective world. The man is his own subjectivity. I was always interested in what is one certain man’s sense of life? There had been a period in my life when I was able to get in contact with human spirit, and even communicate with it. I could find out some facts… When you paint a portrait, it is sort of the same – you recognize the person. Each time I feel intrigued, what would eventually come out to the fore.
I painted more than 400 portraits. I create portraits when I’m asked to, and I adore it. I never know, how would it all turn out. You can paint a man, and suddenly something childish sprouts out to the surface. You start the other portrait, and the man recognizes his mother or father. In the third case you begin with hair nobody knows why. What is happening between me and painting character? How does it get objectified at canvas? It’s an enigma. And I value very high any occasion when I happen to unravel it. A human is a wonderful entity, really admirable.
– Did you start from portraits at once?
– At the beginning there was a landscape period. I like the space as it is very much, and what is it filled with, is significant for me too. Now this love to landscape painting preserved from romantic times still peeps out once in a while. I almost never paint landscapes from life, sometimes I take photos, but they are only a motive. I dream scenery up as a rule. I keep inside me many sunrises and sunsets, and something always originates from this. For me the most important thing is image. What is it? And what is it about?
– Do you usually set goals when you paint? Do you define for yourself, what you are going to express?
– To tell you the truth, when I’m an artist – I’m an artist. I do plan nothing consciously, the image appears, and then I put it on canvas. My greatest work was made after I had been impressed by Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. I named it “The Spirit. The Flesh. The Blood”. It consists of many big size canvases.
The story is quite weird. I stayed in Milan, and I managed to look at “The Last Supper” twice. The impression was very strong… I even saw for a moment my future painting as it would be. I saw the composition, the glass frames, and how many canvases it would be painted on. After a while in Lithuania I heard myself telling to the friends which canvases they need to buy – what size, and how many. The next time I came there, canvases were on hand. It took three “bouts”, each one a week long, and the work was finished.
Three of the most numerous collections of my works are now in Bratislava. One collector made me a huge order. But I have got an idea yet, that was formed after visiting Hagia Sophia, where I had seen mosaics preserved from the times of the Byzantine Empire. When the cathedral was turned into the mosque, pasha prohibited to demolish mosaics. I titled my idea “The Ancestors Gold”. This is the painting series showing as if the process of scouring out cathedral’s walls: all the surface was covered with chalk, then they started to take it off, and something began to appear in the cleaned out spaces…
But I also painted “The Twelve Angels”. This picture was exhibited in Leonardo da Vinci’s Museum in Milan at first. It is symbolical. I was stunned that some Italians were crossing themselves looking at this picture. But there is nothing distinct on it. One Japanese man was coming each day, while the exhibition was opened, he got seated in lotus position and meditated. He sat facing the picture. The last visitor who had come to the exhibition was walking on crutches. He was taken there by his friends. He walked in, sat on a bench, and was sitting for very long. It was the most important evidence to me. I think this contemplation had given him something.
– Do you know something about your pictures before you have painted them?
– One man told me once: “I’d like you to paint archangel Uriel, if possible”. This archangel was sent by the God to teach people. He holds the flame in one hand, and the sword in the other. I answered: “Oh, what are you talking about…” I hadn’t ever though of such a deed. But it happens often to me that while drinking coffee or sitting in front of the computer an impulse sweeps me over suddenly. I get up, sometimes I even forget to change clothes, and go to my easel to start painting. So I painted Uriel. I don’t know how I did it. He is very strange by his stature, he is strange by texture, he is weird by range of expression. I’m not able to replicate it, moreover I even can’t remember how it all has happened.
But there are pictures I see, and I paint them step by step. I wait for one layer to dry, then for the next, I’m sure that I’ll finish this painting whatever. It happens sometimes that I begin knowing nothing… I stare, stare. Then I make a background consisted of six layers at times, after that I get down to a texture suddenly, and so on. Gradually all the picture reveals as if you are developing a photo.
[Artist INK’s pictures are shown at galleries and showrooms, his exhibitions are being hosted, permanent expositions of his works are opened. His pictures live in private galleries. Each person having been lucky to purchase Ink’s creations can tell you how do master’s pictures work changing the life space.
Professionals of the arts world recognized talent and skill of the artist in 2015 giving him the title of Russian Academy of Arts honorary member.
The artist INK began his carrier from “Flowers of Kindness”. Later on there was landscape period. Artistic searches were moving on from figurative painting to the unique INK’s style, to his spatial manner, that gives an impression of music laid with paints on canvas.
“The Mystery of Time”, “The Wandering Stars”, “The Spirit. The Flesh. The Blood”, “The Ancestors Gold” are iconic series of paintings executed in a unique manner involving interaction with alive space.
The gallery of entity portraits represents the separate trend in the artist’s work. Knowledge of Kalinauskas-psychologist about a man, and his artist’s skill are conjoined in this series.
We can describe INK’s style of work with these words: “I see like this”. We are fortunate enough to look at the world through the eyes of the man, who embodied his knowledge about it on his canvases.
“The Entery into the Fire”, “The Gate”, “The Schwarzwald”… One can travel along INK’s paintings finding there energy, knowledge, and spiritual strength. “The Art is a touch to eternity”, – said Igor Kalinauskas in one of his lectures on culture thus enunciating the main principle of his work.]
In 1996 Igor Kalinauskas discovered an interest for fine arts. Paintings of INK (Igor Nikolajevich Kalinauskas) fascinate with their exciting simplicity and the power of inspiration.
INK as a painter has been strongly concentrated in working exclusively for personal orders. More than 900 paintings have been sold. Most of his works reside in private collections in Canada, USA, England, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Israel, Holland, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Slovak Republic and Lithuania.
“Many paintings of INK give feeling of something romantic and monumental. Therefore, in spite of the romantic pathos, the motives chosen by the painter are particularly laconic and symbolic. Each painting has a dominating idea that serves a kind of pictorial metaphor or a sign which exposes the author’s intention. Colour is of great importance for INK, who tends to monochrome, trying to archive maximal effect with the help of minimal means.”
Algis UZHDAVINIS PhD, Research associate of Lithuanian Institute of Culture, Philosophy and Art.
“His canvases, like still— frames of a philosophical film, possess their own rhythm, succession and logic. They deal with eternal parable motives, i.e. love, hope, harmony, peace… Kaleidoscope of rapid modern transnational life is represented in a peaceful synthesis. Slowly but inevitably the painter charms the spectator, coming in contact with the innermost areas of his soul, liberating him and making him see a secret aesthetics of hidden emotions and notions. And like every real painting it satisfies the human’s thirst for the inner peace.”
Mikhail German, Professor, Doctor of Arts, Full Member of the Academy of Humanities, Member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), Chief Research associate of the State Russian Museum
In April 2008, Igor Kalinauskas has been awarded the Gold Medal of Franz Kafka (Czech Republic)
In March 2009, Igor Kalinauskas was elected to become a member of Masareka Academy of Arts (Czech Republic)
In august 2009, Igor Kalinauskas was elected to become a member of International Vesuvian Academy (Italy)
List of Personal Exhibitions
November 2008, Moscow, Russia
The Slovak institute in Moscow
The exhibition “Wandering stars”
September 2008, Vilnius, Lithuania
Gallery “Actus magnus”
The exhibition “Abstract erotica. Series “Breast”
July 2006, Kiev, Ukraine
American Chamber of Commerce
The exhibition “Wandering stars”
March 2006, Milan, Italy
The Museum of a science and technique Leonardo Da Vinci
“The Last Supper: Spirit, Flesh, Blood”
December 2004, St.-Petersburg, Russia
House-museum of Brodsky
“Magician’s Office or Mystery of Time”
June 2003, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Gallery “INK CLUB”
“Elements of fire”
February 2003, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Gallery “INK CLUB”
“The Mystery of loneliness”
November 2002, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Gallery “INK CLUB”
January 2003, Vilnius, Lithuania
Gallery “Stiklo karoliukai”
“The Mystery of loneliness”
March 2001, Moscow, Russia
February 2001, St.-Petersburg, Russia
August 1998, Kaunas, Lithuania
House of Percunas
June 1998, St.-Petersburg, Russia
Fund of the free Russian modern art
List of Personal Exhibitions:
December 2015 – February 2016, INK Gallery, Kazan, Russia. Exhibition „The Man“
„Portraits“, 2015, solo art exhibition,“Jump Gallery“, Poltava, Gallery, Ukraine
March 2015 – „Eternal Light“ Art Project, „The Last Supper“ installation, Poltava Museum of Art, Poltava, Ukraine.
September 2014 – RAR Gallery, Berlin, Germany,. Part of Art Berlin Art Fair Project «The Last Supper» installation (international curator Christina Katrakis).
September 2014 – «Eich Blatt Gallery» Berlin, Germany, Part of Art Berlin Art Fair Project «Ultraviolet Light» (international curator Christina Katrakis).
February 2014 – Nice, France, Depardieu Gallery project, «Ultraviolet Light» – art in making – live art & film project (international curator Christina Katrakis).
January 2014 – New York, USA Caelum Galley, Chelea. „The City – New York“ (international curator Christina Katrakis).
2013 – Gary Bowman Gallery, British Club, Lviv. „The Sacred – Wandering Stars II“ (International curator Christina Katrakis).
2012 June-July – „Eternal Light“ the exhibit of „The Last Supper“ installation. Lavra Gallery, Kyiv (curator Galina Pogorelova).
2012 January – „Rebirth: dreams and Memories“ installation, for Bond Magazine, Saatchi Gallery, London.
2012 April – „The Gray Circle“ Installation, Saatchi Gallery, London.
2012 December – „The Enigma“ by U:3D, contemporary dance performance art piece, director & artist Igor Kalinauskas, for Bond Magazine & U:3D, Saatchi Gallery, London (part of the „Rebirth: Dreams and Memories“ project).
2011 October-November – „The Cage“, installation & performance art, artist & director Igor Kalinauskas, for The Cage Magazine, Bratislava.
2011 March – „Tenderness“ Performance Art, Slovak National Theater, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
May-July 2011 – Moscow, Russia. Elena Vrublenskaya gallery. The exhibition “Magician’s office”.
April-May 2011 – Bratislava, Slovakia. Slovak National Theatre SND. The exhibition “Spirit. Flesh. Blood”.
August 2010 – Art Concept Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland. The exhibition „Wandering Stars“.
March 2010 – Moscow, Russia. Master-studio Chronotope. Exhibition “Impressions. Travelling notes”.
February 2010 – Moscow, Russia. Elena Vrublevskaya gallery. The exhibition “The Space Of Primary”.
November 2008 – Moscow, Russia. Slovak Institute – Slovak Cultural Center.
September 2008 – Vilnius, Lithuania. Gallery „Actus magnus“. The exhibition „Abstract erotica. Series „Breast“.
November 2007 – Moscow, Russia. International Exhibition Centre Crocus Expo. Millionaire Fair.
September 2007 – Moscow, Russia. International festival „Transformation“. The exhibition „The Last Supper: Spirit, Flesh, Blood“.
Moscow 2007 – „Primordial“, „Creation of planets“.
July 2006 – Kiev, Ukraine – American Chamber of Commerce. The exhibition „Wandering stars“.
June 2006 – Paris, France. Creation.
June 2006 – Odessa, Ukraine. Odessa City Museum of Literature.
March 2006 – Milan, Italy. Leonardo da Vinci National Science & Technology Museum. The Last Supper: Spirit, Flesh, Blood.
December 2004 – St. Petersburg, Russia. The Joseph Brodsky Museum. Mystery of Time (The Magician’s Office).
June 2003 – St. Petersburg, Russia. INK Club. The Fire Element.
February 2003 – St. Petersburg, Russia. INK Club. Mystery of Loneliness.
January 2003 – Vilnius, Lithuania. Stiklo karoliukai Gallery. Mystery of Loneliness.
November 2002 – St. Petersburg, Russia. INK Club. The Dedication.
March 2001 – Moscow, Russia. Paradise Gallery. Pranks.
February 2001 – St. Petersburg, Russia. Palitra Gallery. The Dedication.
August 1998. Kaunas, Lithuania. House of Perkunas.
June 1998 – St. Petersburg, Russia. Free Russian Contemporary Art Fund.
List of Group Exhibitions
November 2007, Moscow, Russia
International Exhibition Centre Crocus Expo
Millionaire Fair Moscow 2007
“Primordial” , “Creation of planets”
September 2007, Moscow, Russia
International festival “Transformation”
The exhibition “The Last Supper: Spirit, Flesh, Blood”
September 2007, Fortanellato (Parma), Italy
Rocca dei Sanvitale
The exhibition “Genesi: Parole della creazione”
June 2006, Paris, France
Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere.
The exhibition “Genese: Paroles de la Creation”
January 2006, St.-Petersburg, Russia
The Russian State Ethnographic Museum.
The exhibition of modern artists of St.-Petersburg
“Artindex – 2006”
April 2005, Piacenza, Italy
The exhibition “Chakra”
September 2004, Salzburg, Austria
The exhibition “Deeper”
2004, Paris, France
International festival of Montmartre
2004, Municipality Vilnius, Lithuania
The exhibition “Red” in the project “the Greatest gallery in Lithuania”
2003 , Vilnius, Lithuania
International festival “Days of capital”
The exhibition-project “Gallery of prospectus Gediminas”
2000, Geneva, Switzerland
International fair of the EURO-ART
2000, St.-Petersburg, Russia
The Annual exhibition of the St.-Petersburg artists
1999, St.-Petersburg, Russia
The Annual exhibition of the St.-Petersburg artists
“Petersburg ‘ 99”
1999, Moscow, Russia
The central House of the Artist
The exhibition of the Russian artists
June 2006 – Paris, France. Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere. The exhibition „Genese: Paroles de la Creation“.
January 2006 – St.-Petersburg, Russia. The Russian State Ethnographic Museum. The exhibition of modern artists of St.-Petersburg. „Artindex – 2006“.
April 2005 – Piacenza, Italy. Chakra.
September 2004 – Salzburg, Austria. Berchtoldvilla Gallery. Deeper.
2004 – Paris, France. International festival of Montmartre.
2004 – Municipality Vilnius, Lithuania. The exhibition „Red“ in the project „the Greatest gallery in Lithuania“.
2003 – Vilnius, Lithuania. International festival „Days of capital“. The exhibition-project „Gallery of prospectus Gediminas“.
2000 – Geneva, Switzerland. International Art Fair Europ’ART.
2000 – St. Petersburg, Russia. Annual Exhibition of the St. Petersburg artists „Petersburg 2000“.
1999 – St. Petersburg, Russia. Annual Exhibition of the St. Petersburg artists „Petersburg’99.
1999 – Moscow, Russia. Central House of Artists. Exhibition of Russian Artists.
„Ah!“, „WOLF“ Publications, London, United Kingdom, 2012
„Bond Magazine Project“, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2012
„The Cage – The Story of Beauty“, The Cage Magazine Project, Bratislava, 2011
„Spirit, Flesh, Blood“, Leonardo da Vinci National Science & Technology Museum, Milan, Italy, 2006
„Eternal Light“, Lavra Gallery, Kyiv, 2012
„The Sacred“, Gary Bowman Gallery, Lviv, 2013
„Igor Kalinauskas – Painting“, Moscow, 2002