Каждую пятницу мы ходим в гости к художникам

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Icon of Today. Igor Kaplun

Like many artists, I got into iconography by accident. As an art student, I started working in mosaic workshops in my final years of college, as I was studying to be a muralist. In my free time I painted quite secular paintings in the traditional canvas/oil technique. After graduation I joined the Union of Artists in the monumental section and regularly exhibited in various group and sectional exhibitions. I had to work with mosaics for temple spaces, and it paid off: I wanted to paint an icon. I painted my first icon in oil on a piece of wood I found somewhere on the street. I began to paint icons, gradually mastering the traditional technique – with egg tempera and glazed board.

After working this way for some time, I got to know many iconographers who later became my associates and friends: Fr. Alexei Trunin, Fr. Andrei Bodko, Ilya Khodyrev. I am very close to their attitude to the ancient icon, to painting, to the problems that the icon poses to the author. I think it is very important to realize yourself as someone who can and must say something of your own about God, but at the same time you are among the artists who have already said something in pictorial language. In my work I try, like a scout, to always look for something new: some plastic ideas, new color combinations, new composition. After all, an artist always faces the questions: “Who are you? Why are you depicting this? What do you want to say?” And all these questions require not a verbal answer, but an answer in pictorial language.

I like to let the paint build the objects itself. Sometimes you don’t even have to hint at the objects, but “skip” over them – the brain will build them up on its own. And some things can be marked on purpose, like mountains, and you get a wild landscape where the holy prophet ate acrid and honey.

What matters is the time spent at the easel. This time (whatever it turns out to be at the end) is always felt by the viewer. Even if the artist in a few hours has rewritten beyond recognition what he has been working on for months – the viewer considers it. And it will work.

I rejoice like a child when something works out.

I’m not a masterful artist – if something comes out, it comes out on its own. That’s why I’m a full-fledged first spectator.

And when a “clue” is born, which further unfolds into a full-fledged pictorial story, I feel delight. Gold has been found! Or oil. Or something like that.