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Oleksandr Hromovyi



Oleksandr Hromovyi

… At the end of a quiet cosy street, near the central part of Uzhhorod, we enter the courtyard. Trees and bushes are covered with yellow leaves, along the house there is an incredible aroma of pine – there are old and evergreen fir trees. A few more steps, and next to the vineyard in the building between the garages – painted, dark doors.

Here he is – a famous Transcarpathian artist, a true master of impression and experiment, and just a pleasant person to talk to – Oleksandr Hromovyi. 

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At the entrance to the studio – a young cherry tree, one and a half meters high. We have a separate conversation with the artist about that tree: Oleksandr recalls that before a huge tree grew under the windows of this building, and gave large and tasty cherries. When it was blooming in spring, it was just an incredible view from his studio, and the aroma was so fantastic… However, at one moment, when the artist was absent, someone of the neighbours cut the tree, saying the roots were damaging the garage. The artist got terribly upset because that cherry brought so much pleasure to everyone! Nature, however, heard his sadness and later a young tree sprouted next to the studio. Hromovyi took care for it, and now he is very glad showing it to us…

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The studio itself is a two-storeyed building, appeared at the place of an old semi-destroyed boiler house. The artist acquired this old and at that time one-storey building in the early 90s. He was very happy because a studio is a special space for an artist, a place that usually has a secret one, separate, where nothing prevents from dreaming… There was not too much space, because he had to place stretcher, easels, finished works, shelves with books on several square meters. Then he got an opportunity to complete the second floor, put gas and water, to equip everything…

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It is easy now: in a large and relatively spacious room on the second floor, there are only creative masterpieces and things Oleksandr likes to spend his free time with – books. Old and new, purchased in Ukraine and abroad – every book here has its place on the shelves, on the sofa, and on the table. The main thing is that each of them is connected with art, describing outstanding figures and their creativity. "I'm coming to the studio at 9 a.m. If I get inspiration, I paint until the midnight. And sometimes I feel not so good, I don’t want to paint anything, then I can take a book and spend hours reading, looking it through...”

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There is a huge canvas on the easel at a short distance from the window – nearby there are paints in tubes, large metal cans, a palette, brushes, even a bucket… Everything is placed conveniently for the artist. An artist can tell a lot about creative process - in which techniques and how he can work, which technique is easy to the artist and which has its own individual character: “Each technique offers different possibilities. For example, gouache gets lighter, acryl darkens, oil almost does not lose colour … The idea itself appears in my mind – and at once imagination draws how it should look, what it should carry. Therefore, I always say that the very idea dictates the technique.”

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The artist admits that he has experienced a variety of materials during his lifetime: "When I'm tired of any technique, I choose another. I work with different materials – oil, pastel, tempera, acrylic, watercolour, gouache – there are no restrictions!” And then, laughing, Oleksandr takes out of the can some scary brushes, show them to us, laughs and tells: “My favourite brushes are such ones.” 

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To the question what you are working at now, the artist says: “This work has already been here for half a year, I periodically work on it... I do something, then I stop, wait… Such things are difficult to do at once, this is a work that requires a lot of attention and time. If you look closely, there are many layers, transitions, shades, combinations… Sometimes you need to add something, remove something, and that way a picture is formed, it gradually reaches the state ‘This is what I wanted!’”

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Speaking about emotions the artist says: “I try to create such works without superfluous emotions – to switch myself off as much as possible and to paint at the subconscious level, which dictates every movement, leads a brush. If the process is guided only by your thoughts, then nothing will work out. Thus, I take a brush and start to work intuitively. If intuition works, a nice work will be born.”

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Oleksandr shows numerous canvases, watercolours, those paintings, which were exhibited recently, as well as those that are still waiting for the artist's attention. Each work has its own history – interesting and mysterious or simple and pleasant. Everything here has its place that nobody is allowed to change. “And why? Everything is in the way I need it. I know where and what it is. One day my wife came and said that the windows should be washed, but I denied. Because there is no sharp light, but so diffused...”

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… In his favourite chair, the artist smokes cigarettes, telling about life-being, recalling funny things, unexpected meetings, beautiful works. While speaking, we do not notice how fast the time passes. … The only feeling left: a few hours are not enough time for an interview so that you can understand how this mysterious process takes place, when the Master in his studio creates miracles…

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Text: Nataliia Petervari
Photo: Nataliia Pavlyk
© Art & Culture Foundation Brovdi Art

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