When I paint or draw or take pictures, I gravitate toward family scenes where sentiments like vulnerability, hope, ritual, resentment, and restraint are palpable. I depict the relationship between parent and child in order to meditate on my place in this dynamic and reconcile the transience of family relationships as we grow up and grow older.
Throughout my father's entire adulthood, he has been mapping our family’s genealogy – a passion that was passed on by his late father. He encouraged his father-in-law to write a memoir of his experience fighting in World War II, which incorporated my grandfather’s lifelong study of military history. This data collection keeps the memory of our ancestors alive, and allows me to see my heritage more clearly. I hope to be doing the same work by writing about my family and creating additional artifacts to pass on.
On my mother’s side, all of the women grew up learning how to practice pysanky, the delicate art of decorating eggs with melted beeswax and dye. This is something that my mother and aunt practice to this day. Outside of Ukrainian tradition, my mother embroiders linens and tends to an elaborate garden; my grandmother uses colored pencils to fill out ornate coloring pages reminiscent of her egg decorating days; my aunt practices traditional calligraphy and studies the art of religious iconography; my cousin writes poetry and is a classically trained violinist. My own interest in photorealism and Old Master painting techniques are just one more installment in our family's attachment to intricate, methodical crafts.
Within my family, I see recurring patterns across generations. These took root within my personality when I was young and they continually nourish my creative interests and perspective. This lifelong continuation of patterns is where my affection for my family intersects with my motivation to create art.
I absorb art the same way I absorb my personal history, via a funnel of all my influences. I generate artwork like I reciprocate parts of my family tradition, through a filter of my personal experience. Painting, drawing, and photography are the tangible products of my heritage and inquisitive voice.