ANTON PAVLENKO

ANTON PAVLENKO   ARTIST STATEMENT

“A good painting begins with experience–often outdoors in the elements. I prefer to focus less on capturing a visual snapshot and more on a dynamic observation which employs all my senses. When I paint alone outdoors or in the studio, I try to press into the silence to wake up to what’s actually in front of me. That’s when I can really feel and connect to the subject and express it through my medium.”

I was born in Ukraine (then the former Soviet Union) which is where I have some of my earliest memories of drawing Russian cartoon characters at an early age. For as long as I can remember, even before I learned how to read and write, I was always drawing and feeling good about it.

Before I even started preschool, my family immigrated to the United States. Here I continued to draw and eventually took up painting as a teenager. Though I attended a few art courses later at PNCA in Portland, I still remain mainly a self-taught artist. My family came to the States with little money and couldn't afford to pay for a proper art education to evolve my talent but I did receive lots of support from my dad--he was my biggest fan and only art collector. I can still remember how exciting it was when he'd surprise me with a few second-hand art books he'd purchased on the way home from work or when he'd take me to the pricey art supply stores on the weekends when I knew we could hardly afford anything there. But most of all, I remember the unique way he encouraged me to develop my art skills. Instead of earning an allowance like most kids my age, I earned a couple dollars by selling my drawings and colored sketches to my dad. Once I finished a piece, he would appraise it and offer to pay me what it was worth. So if I wanted to earn more money, all I had to do was work harder at creating a masterpiece that would really impress him! At a young age, I was excited to learn that my artwork had some kind of value.

As I got older, my young ambitions and dreams of becoming a famous artist had started to slip away due to the typical "poor starving artist" talk I received from people giving me honest career advice. So instead of living poorly and having my grandchildren profit from my paintings, I decided to lay my art aside to pursue a 'real' career in business. I attended college for 3 years but never graduated with a degree. After marrying my beautiful wife, Anna, and somewhat settling down, I still felt guilty for burying the artist inside me years ago. So one day, I blew the dust off my easel to paint just for good old time's sake and have been steadily doing so ever since.

Today, I live and work in Portland, OR and am inspired to paint by the nature that surrounds me. I enjoy using bold colors, various textures and unique perspectives in my work. A common compliment I hear from my art collectors is that they experience pure joy when looking at my paintings. To me, that's one of the greatest compliments I can receive about my work. It means that my paintings connect with people and find a place in their hearts. Light and color speaks of life--which is exactly what I strive to infuse into my paintings. My goal is to capture the simple beauty of nature on canvas and impart its peace and joy to all who enjoy my art.