Пост обновлен 17 июля 2020 г.
Ten years ago I was living in a dormitory, in a small room with three roommates. One bathroom and kitchen per floor and for furniture I had only a bed. At that time I considered it luxurious, as I used to be homeless before.
During the day I was at my job in another part of the city. My salary was tiny, my boss paid me less than other workers because he knew it was easy to manipulate me. On my way home I was looking for expired products left under the counters at a food market or something in the trash near big grocery stores. My weight was 42 kilograms with a height of 175 cm, so I was almost blown away by a strong wind. My teeth were rotten, I dressed in old clothes and I was weak and tired all the time. Bridges with my troubled family had been burned long ago and I hadn't developed any strong friendships yet. It was the most lonely and desolate period of my life.
My neighbours were rosy-cheeked students from a nearby university and they hated me. I didn’t blame them, because I was mean, brutal and ugly. With some of them, I became real enemies and I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. When I walked along the endless dormitory corridor to my room, I stuck close to the wall, almost clinging to it, trying to be invisible.
My only joy was to work on my drawings. I had a printer paper that I stole from work, a black pen, and my bed as a working space. I was drawing from imagination, I also studied art history and anatomy from books I got in a library. At that time I was especially interested in the Northern Renaissance and Albrecht Dürer in particular. One day I was making a copy of his rabbit watercolour, but something went wrong. When I finished drawing his head, I suddenly drew him a costume, then the dead wolf and the rest.
I didn’t know where it all came from and I didn’t care what it all means. I just gave in to impulse and made a series in this style. The shy victimized animals became strong and aggressive in my drawings, so strong they could even kill a vulture.
One of my greatest achievements in ten years is moving from a shared room to a shared apartment *sad smile*. Despite the notable improvements, my life is still unsafe and I live in a hazardous half-abandoned building. I’m afraid of criminal guys and other creepy neighbours. Everything always breaks here and I waste a lot of time fixing pipes and the toilet.
I always rent cheap places and they are never secure. The landlord of my previous apartment sold it with me residing there and I was moved out by police. Since then, when someone I don’t expect is knocking at the door, I have panic attacks.
As always, I find my foothold in my work. I paint a lot and I often put paintings on a sill rail, facing the window so that they dry faster. Recently I was walking past my house and saw two rabbits in my broken windows. They looked like they were guarding the apartment. At that moment I realized what they mean to me! In my dangerous, unstable world, these rabbits are my protective animals, my guardians.
When I draw, I don't know exactly what I'm doing right away. This is not because I don't like to think, but because visual art has its mechanisms and I use that instead of inventing a verbal idea and then illustrating it. I follow my imagination, rules of composition and art taste. It is interesting for me to understand and describe these processes post factum, but I never analyse it while I paint.
“The Rabbits are not what they seem” is a paraphrase from Twin Peaks. It both reflects my love of Lynch’s works and the nature of my rabbits. My guarding animals are literally not what they seem: if you look closely you will see they have snake’s eyes and lion’s nails. I symbolically empowered these herbivores, so they don't need to hide and run all the time.
The key difference with the old rabbits is that ten years ago, they were killing and torturing wolves, which personified my enemies. Now the rabbits are self-content and the aggression of early drawing has gone. They don’t need a beheaded predator around them to show their power, as now they are bright red and full of energy, no matter how hazardous their habitat. ⠀