Boris Tyomkin: Bio
I was born in Moscow in 1970. My first experience with art came from my grandfather, Ilya Tyomkin. He studied at the Paris Academy before the Russian Revolution. His landscapes and portraits were the first paintings that I saw and it was not until much later that I realized what a deep impact they made on me. Unfortunately, he died before I turned one, so I only know him through the paintings that he left behind.
My family immigrated to Los Angeles in 1980. Due to difficult times, my parents stressed financial independence. So when in my fourth year of UCLA, I decided to stop pursuing a medical career and rented my first art studio, it caused quite a commotion.
I worked independently for two years in Los Angeles, painting large scale symbolist figurative compositions, still lives and portraits. Without having real formal training, I felt the need to deepen my technical knowledge. Art history and the work of the classics have interested me from an early age, so I was overjoyed when in 1994 I met Leonid Steele, a Soviet, classically trained artist.
I spent almost four years studying with Steele, who trained
at the Repin Academy in Leningrad. Needless to say, I received plenty
of technical instruction during those years. Steel augmented my love for
the classics. But more importantly, he was a direct descendant of the
Russian school of painting formed at the last half of the nineteenth century.
I have already been admiring the work of the artists of this period and
they are still influential for me today.
In 2011, I got my MFA from the New York Academy of Art, a figurative school that still emphasizes tradition. Since that time I have been living and working in New York City where I have been showing my paintings and teaching.
My recent paintings have to do with spectacle, reality versus illusion and hiding ones face behind a mask. Sometimes I use the theme of the Commedia del Arte and at others the Rococo masquerade motif. My work points toward a theatricality of life and especially the contemporary art world. I am interested in theater because it accentuates the kaleidoscope of persona that are flowing through each human being and dramatizes the intrigue that takes places in relationships between people.