Anatoly Kryvolap

'I perceive life through painting, not painting through life'


Anatoly was born in 1946 in Yagotyn, Kyivregion. He spent most of his life in the capital, but in 2000 he went back to his native land, settled in Zasupoyivka village not far from Yagotyn and set up a studio there. Though Kryvolap got a classical professional education at the Kyiv State Art Institute, his way in art was paved with his own ideas of ​​colours and tints.
After his graduation, Anatoly retiredfrom public life for as long as 15 years. He utterly rejected the then-dominating socialist realism and spent all these years searching for his own place in art. For all this time Kryvolap was cordially supported by his close friend and, later, the owner of one of the largest collection of his artworks, the Polish doctor Richard Wroblewski whom he had met in 1978.
The National Art Exhibition arranged tomark the 45th anniversary of the Victory, which was held in Kiev in 1990, turned out to be a landmark event in Kryvolap`s professional career. The organizers put his Crimson Heights into a most inconspicuous place claiming it to be too bright and dramatic. Nevertheless, it drew considerable public attention, hence Kryvolap’s extraordinary talent was uncovered and revealed to the professional community.
In 1992 painter Kryvolap together withhis peers established a professional group Zhyvopysnyi Zapovidnyk, which formally existed only untill 1995, but whoseinfluence on Ukrainian contemporary art lasted for decades.
During the next twenty years, Kryvolapgained a reputation as an eminent artist, well-known both in Ukraine and abroad. His paintings can now be found in art museums and in private collections all around the world. In 2011, Kryvolap’s Horse. Night was sold at Phillips for $121,343 which officiallymade him the most expensive and the most successful painter in Ukraine.

'Colour is my language'

Colour tints are neurons creating vibes. A painter senses through colours and reacts with colours. First you get some impressions just when squeezing a tube of paint, then, mixing the colours gives you some stains, that change the emotional spectrum. Once you put the initial feeling on canvas, it brings about something else, something deeper, bigger and vaster. For a painter, the most important thing is to capture, retain and render the feeling as precisely as possible.

'Studio is my sanctuary'

I have worked in many studious during my life. However, I spent most of my time in the boiler room of a dwelling house in the Nyvki district in Kyiv. Over the last fifteen years I have been working in the attic in my cottage in Zasupoyivka village, and my downtown studio is located on Andriyivsky Uzviz, Kyiv’s art and culture hub. I never mix imagination and reality. My studio is my temple reared for creative work.

'I am Ukrainian'

I’ve had dozens solo and group exhibitions abroad, sold lots of paintings to international collectors, but I can only live in Ukraine and draw Ukraine.

'Dogs are my faithful friends'

I`m a lucky owner of three big dogs – thanks to vast Zasupoyivka spaces my Labradors have enough place to run, play, roll in the snow in winter and swim in the lake in summer. They sense every change of my mood – be it uplift or melancholy. They cheerfully hang around when I explore the neighborhood in search of new ideas for my paintings. And they always remain my faithful and devoted friends.

'Artist is a selfish person'

I have always been quite straightforward about my selfishness – my whole lifestyle and my relationships with art and people give it away. I can hardly do anything else but paint and, honestly, do not really want to. Of course, I can ‘hammer a nail into the wall’ as they say, but would rather prefer to have someone else take care of household deeds. Everybody should do what one is really good at, whether it is about work or home.

'Harmony is the key to everything'

The most important thing in life is to find harmony with self and stay balanced, both in private life and professional field. You can be a monk or a beggar having no possessions, but live in harmony with yourself. Or you can be rich and prosperous, but feel frustrated, depressed and torn apart by inner conflicts.

'My inspiration is from nature'

A real artist is born with innate inspiration, it is genetically embedded. Nature is my constant muse and everyday passion; it nourishes my imagination and gives me strength.