Vladimir Kush about his life:
I was born in 1965 in Moscow. My career as an artist began when I was a toddler. As a child of 3 or 4, I would sit on my father’s lap finishing his drawings. The task was to depict situations: a car passes by on a street, an old man walks by with the cane. My father was a scientist (differential equations specialist), but everyone on his side of my family used to draw all the time. Perhaps it was a matter of genetics. At the age of 7, I attended two schools. The first half of the day I went to regular high school. The second half was spent in the art classes until 9 p.m. While riding the subway for one and a half hours each way, I did my homework for the regular school. Art school was a world of a new inspiration. The class I attended allowed total artistic freedom. Our teacher did not impose himself on us, and never criticized. Instead, while we were drawing or painting, he told us the stories from art history, a subject he specialized in besides painting. From him I learned about the famous Russian painters, as well as the Renaissance painters, impressionists, post-impressionists and contemporary artists. The art school I attended was focusing on a Cezanne style of painting, which I began to emulate at the age of 14. Soon bored with it, I painted my first surreal picture. When I was 17, I took exams and entered Moscow Art Institute. Although the system there was very rigorous, I had been using their models for teaching myself. One instructor there taught me basic knowledge and skill for classic drawing and another outside the institute provided advanced instruction about paints and colors.
When I was 18, I entered into a mandatory two-year stint of military service. After six months of infantry training, the commander of my unit decided that better use could be made of me painting murals and big canvases. Of course, I had to include military elements in these romantic or even fantastic landscapes. In one of those paintings, a radio transmitter antenna was put on top of iceberg in the middle of an ocean. My free time was spent painting surrealistic pictures, which I had to hide from the commanders. However, upon returning to the Art Institute, I continued studying classically. In 1987, I began selling my paintings and exhibiting with the Union of Artists. I drew political caricatures for a newspaper (using Uncle Sam as a main character), and painted portraits on the streets in the heart of Moscow. At that time, I was invited to paint a series of portraits for the U.S. Embassy staff. I eventually had to curtail my work on these portraits after the KGB became suspicious of my involvement with Americans, especially since the military had information filed on me that during my period of service, I had read prohibited books, such as some written by dissidents such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Also then, I first saw a book with Salvador Dali works. I began experimenting with different styles of impressionism then, such as separation of shape from color (â€œMan running away from the bees,â€ â€œRainâ€ etc.) Impressionism lost its appeal for me, however, since shape was lost in it. My fatherâ€™s influence at that time was tremendous. In ancient Greece, art and math were considered alike. A mathematician, my father taught me that the plot of a painting must be like a code for solving a task, and as such, must be clear as crystal to capture the essence of a subject. I had a successful show in Germany in 1990 with two other Russian artists. I then flew to Los Angeles, where I had sent 20 of my recent works for a showing. This was a beginning of my American odyssey. (My motherâ€™s last name is Elisseeva, a derivation of Ulysses.) Here, I would commence the search for my artistic language and brighten my palette.