Oxana graduated from the Moscow Textile Academy (designer department).
She worked as the feature arts and fashion journalist and stylist in ELLE Russia for 5 years and in some other Russian magazines as well.
In 2011 she graduated from the Academic School of Design (Moscow), painting Studio of Andrew Voskanyan (participant of the Venice Contemporary Art Biennale).
Oxana took part in many joint exhibitions of the St Petersburg Artists.
Paintings of Oxana Raduga (nickname Raduga, in Russian means Rainbow) are in private collections in the USA, UK, Ireland, Finland, Czech, Italy, Greece, Germany.
“I always admire women – the creatures of God. I let myself to write my own poem in arts reflecting female looks. I am happy when magician images occur. I am trying to mix the traditional way of depicting women’s beauty with the modern contemporary look. I use different materials and experimenting a lot.
I love collages, love mixing acrylic with liners and markers – that is the echo of modern murals.
My favorite material now is acrylic – it is very modern and allows to “catch the moment”. I would like to send messages The Powerful Woman to my viewer in an ironic way. This is a strong feministic slogan of the woman artist.”
When did you start drawing? Is there some story behind it? What did you want to become as a child?
Raduga: I had a very happy childhood, in which my parents provided me with the most quality arts education. I graduated from art and music schools, wrote poetry winning school language competitions. Of course, all this was possible in the USSR only for the reason that my father was a famous scientist and I grew up in a kind of elite conservation center, where you could allow an excellent education for your children.
I went to Moscow to study but I really wanted to become a fashion journalist. In the end, all this turned out that way. I graduated from the Academy (Moscow Textile Academy, the Department of fashion design) when the USSR collapsed, and the career of a designer disappeared. During the hard 90-s years I was drawing a lot but the market of modern art in our country did not exist, perhaps it was only the market of half-black antique art. I decided to arrange the kind of radio talks on one of the first commercial radio stations, and it was a program about fashion and contemporary art. Of course, I didn’t forget about my passion for the arts.
When I was invited to be a fashion and style columnist and editor for the Russian fashion magazine ELLE, it turned to be an absolutely lucky ticket. My childhood dream came true. At that time I was interested in fashion illustration.
Why did you choose acrylic as your medium?
Raduga: Now I will tell you a story about my first teacher because of the question too. He taught me how to use different mixed media. When I gave birth to a child, I had a huge amount of creative energy. I decided to acquire a canvas and brush and begin working. But I didn’t have enough painting academic education. Thus I came to the Painting Studio of the well-known artist Slava Makarov who lived in the neighborhood of the Old Arbat region. For example, his painting “Cellist” painted in the genre of expressionism was sold at one of the first Sotheby’s auctions in Moscow. Slava is no longer alive, but I consider him my first teacher in the arts. He once told me: “Take a large canvas: paint not only in oil, mix it all with acrylics, charcoal, pastels, create collages, and don’t be afraid of anything!”
He had so special “eagle” eye, buying thousands of art books and best examples of 18th and 19th-century Antiques. We were neighbors and I took private lessons in painting and art history from him almost every day. It was a kind of great friendship…
Now actively use acrylics and it is a rather comfortable material that gives a modern sound appropriating to my works. Acrylic paint allows me to sharpen the colors as well.
However, if I go out painting landscapes or nature flowers a la plein air I use oil at the time. It helps make the work airy and soft more than acrylic. This is a classic media – let us remember our positive favorite Impressionists.
What is the message you are trying to give with your arts?
Raduga: …It may sound pretentious but I consider my arts to be much more International than Russian. This is due to the fact that a really weak market for contemporary Russian arts is a very complex organism. Many Russian artists (if their art finds a response) work for foreign buyers. Therefore, I will say directly – my mission is “international” and “possible” (smile).
For the last 4 years, I have sold in Artfinder online-gallery (British platform, where you can easily find me as Oxana Timofeeva, Russia) my pictures only to USA (Massachusets, California, Montana, Texas) and Great Britan. I pay attention to the beauty of the female lines and female spirituality. This is a historical process that globally speaking points to #metoo movement… Anyway, this is a complicated question of the other day but a very “nowadays”. Well, even the followers of Karl Marx’s philosophy were supporting the papers on the objectification of women and their role in art.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into creating artwork? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Raduga: Well, for the first I am a thinker and then an observer. As far as the picture has already matured in your head you can paint it quickly. Sometimes you produce it in one day, just for 7 or 8 hours. But this happens rarely. Usually, the process occurs this way: I am collecting intellectual property, minding the concept. After all, make a couple of sketches. Generally, I love pressing “the right buttons” when I’m working (smile)). When a sketch transferring to a larger canvas, everything happens easily and quickly. I am already a process observer and a participant at the same time. Sometimes you need to make accents, to mix unexpected things coming out during the work, to vary colors and details, and so on. Truly speaking the third stage is the most difficult. Often you don’t know when your work is finished. Like they use to say: ” The better is the enemy of the worst.” Do you know the saying? You should not overdo. The main thing is to find a balance that gives the viewer the work in the most correct final stage. Sometimes the right final stroke plays the role…
How do you come up with a profitable pricing structure for your acrylic pieces?
Raduga: We know the law or art market in any country. The price of your artwork is based on the number of working hours, which should also be evaluated and your educational and experience basis. This is a tricky thing generally and both subjective and objective… Materials are not very expensive you know. I consider the main things to be as the Labour and the Concept. Some of my friends-artists set a lower price to sell their work as soon as possible. Some on the contrary try not to damp and fis the maximum. I try to keep the balance. Ok, we are not “Damians”, so we are just playing the game.
Women’s beauty seems to be one of the major themes in your paintings. What draws you to it?
Raduga: Yes-s-s, I am speaking on the world of modern women on the language of contemporary paintings and drawings. For example my art series ‘Tender was the night’ and ‘Laces of Love’ are projects which arose from my personal experiences and observations. “Knitting” as a process that I painting – I really love to make knitting. But what is exactly right is that my art women have the most attractive power because they are warm and innocent in the world where preferably men rule. This is like millions of business in Manhattan for ex – cold, sharp, passionate, dangerous, and contrasting inside.
Give us some insight into how to make women paintings as magical as yours. Are there any specific techniques?
Raduga: Well, my secret about women? Love is love. Combining expression and conditional realism at the same time. Do not forget the Laws of anatomy (if you are not conducting naïve art or Botero-like principles). Yesterday I read the article about Ghirlandaio, Michelangelo’s teacher and I admired his magic Jovanna’s portrait. It had happened 500 years ago and this highest skill is amazing! We are just weak copyists of reality… (smile)
What artists influenced you the most and why?
Raduga: My tastes are very versatile, but there are preferences. If we look at the paintings of Fra Angelico or Ghirlandaio, Vermeer or Rembrandt, we will see how insignificant the current attempts to produce something great as I told you before.
I admire the colors of Matisse or Van Dongen or Kirchner, Albert Marche, or Van Gogh… As for me, Pablo Picasso stands out the most powerful in all art of the twentieth century. This is such a power block! When I create a new series of girls in the style of the 1920s, I imagine Picasso in Monmartre café inviting my girls to pose…. In this connection, I am very fond of Russian artists who emigrated from Russia after 1917. This is Boris Grigoryev, who emigrated to the South of France but worked a lot in America. They are ex-Russians Nicholas de Stael and Nikolas Feshin. Once Picasso said: “Gustave Courbet, for example, is a magic painter but I am just a clown”. If you look like this, I could admire the 1960-s experiments of Andy Warhol and modern hooligan Damien Hirst. I also like relatively strict American artists, such as Andrew Wyeth or classic John Singer Sargent, and of cause modern David Hockney.
More of all still now I have been continuing to get inspiration from favorite fashion illustrators – Antonio Lopes and David Downton.
And I also make friends with some well-known Russian artists such as Andrei Sharov who has his own water-color school and Vladimir Dubosarsky whose works are staying in collections of worldwide celebrities and in worldwide museums. I love their approach to contemporary art.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Raduga: Being in touch with our ancestors’ culture inspires our choices.
The truth of the things is based on traditions, lifting the spirit is mutual. We collaborate now in one big world, especially in the Pandemia world.
There is a closed group of Russian artists now on Facebook who supports each other buying some light arts like gesture drawings. Once I was in a lockdown I painted a lot and one of my pictures with my legs in glam Red shoes and nearby slippers (photo) was acquired with one famous Moscow art collector. For me, it will be a memorable response about Pandemia time!
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Raduga: In Russia, the format of art gallery in apartment-like is very popular now. You can rent a beautiful stylish loft or go to your friends who have such a loft showroom and organize an exhibition there. You unite people with a variety of interests who want to join the preferable thing – Arts. This is especially relevant today when the world has stopped waiting for the unknown and has moved away from global shows. During such cozy exhibitions you realize that you have a lot of similar-minded people from different areas, not arts.
And I also have my Instagram clients (@oxanaraduga_arts) and clients from my friends (especially Moscow friends) who are business-like but are crazy about arts.
Maybe you ask me why I have pseudonym Oxana Raduga arts? This is connected with my journalist’s job when I had to choose a pseudonym like something bright to remember. I have chosen “Raduga” which means Rainbow in translation. Just seven colors that change the world. Only this meaning!
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond the art?
Raduga: I have a new idea to begin a series about that historical thread connecting us with the 1920s and our grand grandmothers…
Nowadays I feel like the time is similar to the roaring 1920s. That was a hundred years ago. But it seems to me we must not forget the experience f those times, beginning from Spanish influenza and up to the new collaborations. The First World War and economic situation had necessitated women entering the workforce and gave rise to a new kind of woman: independent and confident. Now – we see this in IT, don’t we? That was a great time for fashion and design: the creation of Chanel’s ‘little black dress’, Corbusier’s club chair, and so on…
By the way, the Exhibition “The Roaring Twenties” will open in Kunsthaus Zürich from the 3d of July…
So finally in all my women, one can find the place for dualism. Erotic, sensitive, and rational, gentle, and hard. This fits perfectly in the modern context. I am trying to rhyme women with time and do it sincerely.