INTRO: Connections and money, the two things that define success of an artistic person mostly anywhere in Russia. A new grad with a degree in Arts, Alisa had neither one. However, the young artist was too ambitious to give up on her dream, so she dared to chase it. She the life she knew behind and moved half way across the globe to the US in pursuit of new opportunities. “The change was drastic and I was completely unprepared for it,” recalls Alisa. Everything seemed unfamiliar and strange, from spread out landscape of LA suburbs to a new language and culture. Now, four years later, Alisa embraces her new homeland and the opportunities she discovered here as a young artist.
Moscow, Russia’s “Big Apple,” a fascinating city ranked among the most expensive places on the planet. Moscow is rich in history, culture, and architecture. It is also plain rich; the city hosts Russia’s top dollars and has one of the largest millionaire per capita ratio in the world. It’s a concrete jungle that spits out anyone who can’t keep with the cost of living that exceeds any other city in the nation multiple times. Being a Moscow resident is a privilege not taken lightly.
Our featured guest is a Moscow native who left Russia’s historical landmark and moved to the suburbs of Orange County. It was a leap of faith that could either bring her closer to her dream or leave her broken on the ground. Young, scared, and completely unprepared for such a change, she still considered the stakes worth the risk and took a step into the unknown. Now, four years later Alisa Shtykar is living the dream, perfecting a fascinating gift she was born with. She is a young artist whose work and style have already created a buzz in the art community. Her paintings are exhibited throughout California and captivate both spectators and artists alike.
“An opportunity to develop and prosper as an artist is a privilege distinctive to the US. As much as I love and miss my homeland, I sadly admit that talent, skillset, and artistic passion are not enough to become a successful artist in Russia these days. Being a talented artist is not enough to make it big in Russia. You have to know the right people or have lots of money to put yourself on the grid. I know lots of brilliant artists who had to put their talent on a back burner and take on regular jobs to make a living. This is a great waste!” admits Alisa.
American audience happened to be especially receptive of Alisa’s style. The artist exhibits her paintings in the Ego Gallery in Redondo Beach, California, and gets great feedback for all of her pieces. Her industrial landscapes are especially popular. “Americans appreciate and encourage any form of art, and I truly appreciate this about the US. This country gives artists an opportunity to grow and develop their talent. It elevates art to a career, rather than a hobby. This allows artists to fully invest in developing their skill and thus make a living off their work.”
Alisa’s artistic style and range of motions catches people by surprise. Her gallery features six-foot tall rough industrial style paintings displayed next to dreamy portraits and pastel-toned still life compositions. What is especially fascinating about Alisa’s work is that her impressionism-infused paintings are performed just as proficient as her industrial pieces. This might be one reason why visitors of Alisa’s gallery have trouble believing that all the pieces displayed in her exhibition are performed by the same artist. It is rare when an artist can use several polar techniques and master all to perfection.
Another challenge the artist has to face has everything to do with her youth and the way she looks. “I have the hardest time convincing the guests of my gallery that I am indeed the artist,” smiles Alisa. Looking at Alisa you can understand why her art spectators have trouble believing she is the mastermind behind her large daring pieces of art. It is hard to imagine this fragile young woman the size of Thumbelina is capable of creating six-foot tall industrial landscapes.
The discord between Alisa’s fragile looks and the size and themes of her paintings surprisingly align with her artistic vision. “Americans love to see the stereotypes being broken, and that is what I am good at,” says the artist. “My art is meant to make people think. It encourages them to depart from their usual perception so they could see the world from a different perspective. I believe each piece of art should trigger a thought or an emotion; it should also remind us of what’s truly important, make us think about our goals and redefine our values,” says Alisa.
While Alisa’s work inspires people, she finds inspiration all around her. “Inspiration is curious and unpredictable,” says the artist, “It appears from nowhere and can be triggered by the most surprising things such as a good song, a mess in the closet, or a weather change.” Inspiration is hard to incite, but it starts from observing the world around us. “Art is a form of meditation which one can only achieve by being perfectly still.” Alisa favorite form of meditation comes with the sunrise. “I love those days when I can sleep in with no need to rush anywhere. Then I can simply dwell somewhere between the sleep and the reality and recall my dreams.”
Alisa starts each new painting by observing the object she is about to draw. She lets her theme dictate the technique and of her future painting. “Each object I paint calls for a different style. Just like you don’t use the same tool to eat soup and plant flowers, artists don’t use the same technique to pain different themes,” says Alisa. “If I paint an apple – I play with the colors and light to make it look tempting and ripe. If I paint a construction worker hanging on the edge of a rafter of a skyscraper, I use sharp strokes and a dim color pallet to express the emotions behind this piece.”
Art is a tricky trade. Majority of the most famous artists in the history of mankind lived a life of destitute and died broke long before their work was recognized. Alisa belongs to a new generation of artists who are not scared by the gloomy fate of their forerunners. “We live in a digital day and age. Technology makes it easy to connect an artist with its audience. Internet and social networks allow artists to instantly streamline their work to people who can then further share it with their friend. Our days it is much easier to gain recognition if people like your work,” says Alisa.
The young artist has big plans for the future. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Art and travels throughout California displaying her art exhibition. She plans to open her own gallery and participate in art shows all over the world, including Japan, Europe, and Russia. “South America, Africa and Australia are also on my top visit list,” says Alisa. You can find Alisa’s art portfolio on the internet or visit her exhibition in the Ego Gallery, Redondo Beach.