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Vitaliy Parastyuk’s Odesa in his etchings
Vitaliy Parastyuk is a young artist from the city of Odesa who has already established himself as a successful graphic master. His series of ex-libris (bookplate) designs has earned him a place in an art encyclopedia that was published in Portugal.
Currently the artist works in color etching and oil painting. He is very ambitious in the best sense of the word and keeps looking for new ways to express himself in art. Mr Parastyuk was interviewed by Tetyana VASYLENKO.
How does one’s name get included in an international encyclopedia? How did your works get noticed? Exhibitions? Publications?
Europe has a long tradition of exhibitions and contests of graphic art of all kinds, of which bookplate design is one. I set myself a goal of taking part in such exhibitions and I’ve achieved this goal. My works have been noticed by organizers and collectors. My bookplate designs have been purchased by well-known collectors and I’m very proud of this fact, and in 2002 I discovered my name in the graphic art encyclopedia.
Recently you have turned to oil painting. What motivates a successful graphic artist to start working in a different medium?
I’ve always been fond of oil painting. In my student days I worked in oils, but gradually etching came to the fore and I devoted most of my time to prints. But the time came when I wanted to paint, to use oil paints to create art. I discovered that oil painting could give me so many new ways of artistic expression, of creating totally new images.
At one recently held exhibition, Dedicated to You, My Beloved Odesa, you displayed both graphic works and paintings.
Correct. Incidentally, this exhibition was presented to the public by collector and art patron Oleksandr Korobchynsky. The well-known sculptor Oleh Pinchuk and graphic artist Serhiy Poyarkov also displayed their works at this exhibition. At first I felt a bit anxious displaying my works alongside those of well-known artists. I hope my works did not go unnoticed, though it is not for me to judge. As far as I know, this combination of graphic works and paintings was well received by critics and the art-loving public alike. This exhibition also gave me a good opportunity to assess my own work over the past 10 years. I did discover things that I should have done better, but in general I was not disappointed.
In your works one finds an amazing combination of reality and fantasy. Is this a characteristic feature of your approach to art in general?
For me, the world around us combines reality and fantasy, and artists are free to choose between them or combine reality and fantasy in their works. I choose the latter. Myths, hyperboles, symbols, literary allusions all make part of my art. My imagination seeks out themes and subjects that can be artistically interpreted — in my own personal way. I use different means to develop my ideas in my art, and I employ different color schemes and various stylistic devices to achieve my goals. I want to stir emotions by my art, to affect the viewer psychologically.
Your depictions of Odesa can be described as “classic”. They are very realistic. There seems to be no fantasies in them.
I love Odesa as it is, and I do my best to capture its images at their best. I want to make cityscapes easily recognizable. Odesa has its own style in architecture, local color, a special atmosphere. I want to render all that in my art. Besides, Odesa is a major tourist attraction, and those who visit Odesa, walk its streets and see its architecture may want to take memories of the city with them in the form of my prints. I think any fantasizing here would be out of place.
Etching, 16 x 15 cm. 2002.
Rape of Europe.
Oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm. 2008.
Street named after Mykola Hohol (Nikolay Gogol)
in Odesa. Etching, 13 x 22 cm. 2007.
Oil on canvas, 50 x 70. 2008.
Potyomkin Stairway in Odesa.
Etching, 15 x 22 cm. 2007.
Etching, 16 x 23 cm. 2007.
Oil on canvas, 78 x 80 cm. 2007.
Oil on canvas, 36 x 41cm. 2008.
Come On In! Be My Guest!
Oil on canvas, 70 x 70 cm. 2008.