Volodymyr Ivanov, Geneva, Otober 2008
Sculptor Volodymyr Ivanov is officially a citizen of Ukraine, but de facto is a cosmopolitan as he loves travelling to different countries
- Volodymyr, when was the first time that you felt you had the talent to be an artist?
- I am not quite sure that I revealed my talent right from my early childhood, but I began modelling when I was 3 years old. I was often ill but nothing serious. Even though I had caught a mild flu, I still had to stay home. It was so boring that I began making figures out plasticine to entertain myself. Most of all, I liked modelling horses and riders in their costumes down to the smallest details. I often did this on the skeletons of metal wires, as small pieces were often not holding together. When I became a little bit older I found myself at a crossroads – whether I should engage myself in horse-breeding and equestrian sports professionally or become a professional artist. Initially, I chose the first path and came to Kuban, though I was born and grew up in Kyiv and entered the department of horse-breeding in a local technical school. After a year there, I understood that I long ago knew everything about horses as I read all the possible books on the subject. So I returned to Kyiv in a year and entered an art school, where I received basic knowledge and assumed the attitude towards work and creativity. After school I went to the Moscow Stroganov School.
- Why did not stay to live in Moscow after graduating?
- Well, in fact I was not going to. I served my military service time on the Volga and returned to Kyiv – I was offered a job at the Electric Welding institute, because they noticed my diploma work from the series of medals dedicated to the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. I mostly engaged myself with souvenirs at the institute, but at one moment I understood that my metal skeletons, which were holding up my horses in childhood, may become independent works of art. So I invented a technology with which I work up until this very day.
- How does it look in practice?
- First I invent an image of the future sculpture in my mind. Then I draw it. A picture often consists of numerous small details and it is drawn in a one-one scale model. The more precise is a drawing, the more accurately you draw details and the easier it is to work with metal. Then paper details are applied to the metal and the metal details are cut and united with the help of electric welding.
- How much time does it usually take you to create a sculpture?
- As one of Murphy’s Laws says: “Work takes as much time, as is required to do it”. That is why there are things created in a month and there is one work that I have trying to give birth to for 15 years and cannot make it a reality.
- When were your works noticed abroad for the first time?
- I took my works abroad for the first time within the framework of Ukrainian Days in Germany at the beginning of the 1990s. Since that time I began spending a great deal of time there. First I learned and then I worked and held exhibitions all the time. Then I found friends-partners-customers in Ireland and I became a member of the Artists Union of Ireland, Sculptures Association of Ireland and the major part of my works is also there, as they were purchased by bought by writer Anne McCaffrey. Then I travelled almost all over America with my works and the audience was interested in them too. Recently my sculptures were bought by the famous Russian music critic Artemiy Troitskiy and ukrainian publisher Ivan Malkovich.
The "first lady" of Ukraine — Kateryna Yustshenko
- There are inscriptions on the stands of sculptures saying “Touching is permitted” – and that is very different from the usual inscriptions.
- My works are strongly different from ordinary sculptures. I use only Ukrainian material and Ukrainian technologies in modelling. Donetsk steel, Zaporizhzhye stainless steel, Paton’s welding. I allow myself to toughen my works with my hands because I think that the metal they are made of is warm and one may warm the soul from it.
- I can see a wedding ring on your finger…
- Five years ago I gave a lift to a woman who was late for a meeting and tried to catch a taxi. Since that time we are together. It was strange to find out that we grew up in the same apartment building in Klovskiy Descent, except that she is 12 years younger than me. Now we have a daughter Veronika, who is 4 years old.
By Tetyana Kluchko