My paintings stem from the Russian-orthodox icons I was surrounded by during my childhood. “The icon” has been burned into my brain as a visual language. I've made it my own by creating my world with it, inhabited by all the creatures I paint. Besides iconography, Baroque and Renaissance portraiture also serve as a great source of inspiration for me. What attracts me to these classical works is the self-control displayed in the faces of the portrayed, as if they're trying to protect themselves. These are the faces I want to unmask, from which I want to peel off the dignity and the status in order to reveal the secrets that lie beneath.
Recently the painting of animals has become part of my work. This has been the result of studying icons in which Mary and child are portrayed together. In these works I'm examining the relationships the figures have with each other and with the viewer: who's protecting whom and from what?
Besides the naive, as represented in iconography, I also feel a strong attraction to primitivism and the uncanny. Artists from these movements whom I count as my greatest sources of inspiration are Francisco Goya, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Kubin, Francis Bacon, David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, George Condo, Matthew Barney, Natasja Kensmil, Dana Schultz and Allison Schulnik.
The many horror movies I've stayed up watching late at night have also had a great impact on my work.
Painting is still a relatively new medium for me. My background lies mainly in drawing and this is still evident in the graphic nature of the images I create, in which every line is holy. By combining this rigidness with the coarseness and unpredictability of the materials I work on (such as unstretched canvas, rugs and found pieces of wood), the inward struggle that drives me as an artist becomes visible: self-control and the need to disrupt it.