Vitaly Kotikov is an artist, a regular participant of collective exhibitions of modern art. His first personal exhibition "The mysterious world, my ancient world" was held at the International Fund of Slavic Culture and Writing.
Vitaly was born in 1975 in a family of physicians in the ancient city of Ryazan.
In 1977, together with his parents, he moved to Moscow and then he spent his childhood between two cities - a noisy capital and a quiet provincial ancient Russian city.
After leaving school in 1992, Vitaly entered the A. N. Kosygin Moscow State Textile University and in 1997 received a diploma in the field of "Artistic design of textiles"
He worked as a designer in various fields: advertising, interior design, industrial design. Today Vitaly continues to work in this field and holds the position of the chief designer in one of the leading furniture factories. But still he devotes all the free time to his favourite occupation - painting.
In the interview Vitaly told us about his creative work, about the things that inspired him to create his pictures, as well as about what he is guided by while making the paintings.
- Vitaly, already a traditional question, when and how did you decide to become an artist, what was the starting point of your artwork?
- I can not say that I began to pursue art suddenly and unexpectedly as I was always interested in it, was always connected with it in some way. I remember, even in school I devoted all my free from study time to creativity, I was painting something, was sculpting. But at the age of 10 years there was a case that affected the choice of life path and, undoubtedly, my creativity. During one of the walks not far from the house, on the street I caught a small and unusual piece of wood. When I turned it over and cleaned it from dirt - it turned out to be an old icon. It was strongly spoiled and darkened, but amazing fragments of images and colours still remained on it. This find shocked me so much that it made me want to paint something like that myself in the future. And I still use in my works all these techniques, that I saw in early childhood - frayed edges, cracks, aged gold ink.
- Your complex, thoughtful, delicate work on color, texture, lines and volume is amazing, it is evident that you consider carefully every detail of your canvas. But, apart from your mastery, one cannot help noticing the content of the work. Philosophical subjects, images of the lands of the rising sun, folklore, myths and tales of different peoples, cultural codes and literary plots. Seemingly, so distant concepts, however, in your works they find a common ground. There is a certain semantic and visual ornament in your works. What prompted you to use this technique of ordering elements?
- Ornament is the oldest artistic technique. Styling, sometimes beyond recognition, the elements of reality, ornament contains a deep, often sacred meaning. The mystical world of patterns and ornaments convey to the viewer the universal language of symbols and mythology, becomes the key to the cultural code of different civilisations and eras in the finest frame of the decor. Combining, at first glance, completely different types of culture: the Orthodox icon and subtle Japanese graphics, the ancient mythology of emptiness pulsates in ornament, in its background, expanding the notion of the nature of the mysterious world. Complicated, non-linear and diverse method. It is through this very technique that I can synthesise so different directions, producing something new.
- And what do you think is the main criterion in creating a picture, what artistic methods, what ways help you to embody your thoughts and ideas on canvases?
- I believe that the most powerful and the most proper method is a metaphor. Its efficiency is like a working of miracles. With the help of this magical mode the artist, weaving into his vision the lace of symbols, seeks to find the line where the world of reality and eternity merge. In an attempt to convey the meanings contained in the picture, layer by layer he wraps his image in the cloak of allegories, touching the hidden strings of the soul, opening the doors into something unknown, into the passage between the worlds, into the void, into a warped, unsteady world. Therefore, for me the metaphorical expression of images is a constant companion.
- And what inspires you? How do the images of your paintings appear?
- It would be fair to say that life itself inspires me, with its extremely hectic, and at the same time measured rhythm. Incredibly interesting and multifaceted, it generates impulses for creation. Looking around, I want to leave a trace after myself, to make a contribution to the world. And if to talk about more specific things that motivate me to paint, I can say that the result of my creative search and reflection was a series of works devoted to the amazing mythology of the Slavic peoples and the subtle colouring of the eastern images. Besides, I was fascinated by the legends about samurai, about these savages who, despite the absence of any humanistic principles, were able to achieve incredible results in the art of swordplay. I find inspiration in nature, in animal world. I am inspired by music, by literature. I would like to note the poetry of Walt Whitman and his poetry collection «Leaves of Grass», in which the corporeal and material world were praised, but at the same time the importance of spirit and mind also was not diminished. Thus, there are so many interesting and fascinating things in the world that can become a source of inspiration, and the most important thing is to notice them, to feel them.
- In what state of mind do your works appear? Does their tone, their shades depend on your mood?
- I think it is not so much about the mood, as it is about the harmony with yourself. It is very important to find the unity, the coherence of thoughts and feelings that will become the companions of the creative process. In this case, the pictures turn out to be more balanced, considered.
- Do you want to show something with your work?
- Perhaps the main message of my paintings is that all of us are just pieces of an immense world. We are parts of existence, of the universe. Each of us is alone, but at the same time we are all connected by an invisible thread of being.
- And the last question. Do you think the artist sees the world in a different way?
- It seems to me that the artist is just more attentive and accurate in the perception of the world. He sees the world in details, tries to catch its particularity, in order to reproduce all these links in his works. Although, of course, we shouldn't generalise as each person is unique and everyone sees something own, especial. And that's great.