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AS IS | Igor & Marina

Artist duo

From Russia

Based in US

Igor Kozlovsky and Marina Sharapova are a husband-and-wife artist duo whose paintings emanate a dreamy, otherworldly atmosphere as they position characters on abstract backgrounds and surround them with various attributes. The color palette, inspired by Italian frescos, contributes to the timeless look

©Igor & Marina, "On the Shore of the Sky", oil on canvas, 64/48” (163/122 cm); "Illusion of Freedom", oil on canvas, 50/46" (127/117 cm); "Game", oil on canvas, 30/40" (76/102 cm).

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?

I&M: Our paintings are represented by galleries in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. We have had more than 25 individual shows in galleries, museums, and universities around the globe. Our works are in numerous corporate and private art collections worldwide. We are frequent participants of art expos, such as Art Basel Miami, New York Armory Show, Art Chicago, SOFA, Art Hamptons, Art Singapore, or Fine Art Asia to name a few.

We wouldn’t say that we choose painting, it seems that painting chose us. Both of us started to paint very early as children. And although we have tried different media and various art related fields in our careers, we ended up as full-time painters. Now it feels like painting gives us the best opportunity to express everything that is important and dear to us.

A: What inspires you the most?

I&M: Over the years we developed a strong interest in the history and culture of different countries. Bookshelves in our studio are fully packed with volumes about Renaissance Art, ethnic textiles, Avant-garde, Modernism etc. We love to travel, and Italy is one of our favorite places to visit. Our color palette is directly related to Italian frescoes.

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?

I&M: The two of us have absolutely different personalities! And if drinking a lot of strong coffee and listening to good jazz helps Igor to concentrate on his work, Marina prefers to have some quiet time for meditation and reflection, and some green tea as a stimulant.

A: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (whether artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

I&M: In our opinion, it is very important to educate yourself, to learn as much as possible about the cultures of different countries and different historical periods. This can help to form aesthetic preferences, expand the worldview and subsequently develop your own style in art.

A: What are your three favorite adjectives related to art?

I&M: For us, art is absolutely inseparable from our life, and any adjective applicable to life is quite applicable to art. In difficult moments, these can be adjectives far from pleasant, in moments of success, it is art that brings a sense of satisfaction and happiness.

A: The best angle to look at art is from ...?

I&M: Through the prism of time.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ...?

I&M: "Let's have a drink," perhaps?

A: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?

I&M: It's always important to keep reading, and not just about art. When we were students, one particular book made a deep impression: Lust for Life (1934) is a biographical novel by Irving Stone about the life and hardships of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. It was Stone's first major publication based on a collection of letters between Vincent van Gogh and his younger brother, the art dealer Theo van Gogh. This correspondence underlines much of what is known about the artist's thoughts and beliefs.

A: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?

I&M: We wish it were less commercial.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art).

I&M: "If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals... We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it's too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us -- create who we are. It is we who created the system." - Haruki Murakami (Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech, JERUSALEM POST, Feb. 15, 2009)

Thank you!

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