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Now, as you can imagine, I have been asked to paint Barack Obama many, many times. So far, I have been reluctant to follow up on the project for two reasons: first, I do not do politicians.  Second, I have my doubts whether an exception is warranted in this particular case.
To explain the first, let me tell you a little story. When I was living in Israel friends forced me to paint a portrait of a mayor of a little Israeli town who thought a great deal of himself.  As I handed my work to the beaming recipient he exclaimed: “When I am the prime minister of Israel you will brag to your friends that I have your work!” Not missing a beat, I retorted “When I am a world renowned artist and you are still a mayor here, you can brag to your friends that you have my work!” I have had a strong antipathy to politicians and their hypocrisy and arrogance ever since.
But, some may say, Obama is different. He is a man that inspired billions of people on this planet with the ideas of hope and change. As an artist, I am not inclined to underestimate the value of inspiration. However, if I want to get paid, I have to take my brush, paint and get the job done.  I expect, perhaps naively, no less than getting a job done from the public figures as well.
Is Obama a man that can deliver, can he get the job done? I had my doubts even during his electoral campaign. How could a candidate of the party running on the record of total disaster, John McCain, be even competitive against a candidate running on the record of relative prosperity of the Clinton years? If you ask me, if not for the banking disaster a few weeks before the election, McCain could have won. Obama ran a bleak, overly cautious campaign, always afraid to step too far, to take too much risk. No doubt his victory only made him interpret his luck as wisdom and dismiss the criticism of his indecisive strategy as baseless envy.
This makes me think of another president who came in the time of crises and upheaval with a message of renewal and change: Michael Gorbachev. Much like Obama, Gorbachev talked about the new era yet surrounded himself with the stalwarts of the status quo. Like Obama, Gorbachev thought of appeasing the opposition much more than of advancing the agenda of his own supporters.  Gorbachev was terrified of going too far too soon and was moving the chairs on the Titanic as the ship of the Soviet state was going under. Similarly, Bill Maher, commenting on Obama’s “audacity of hope” noticed the profound lack of audacity to back up the hope. Will “the change we can believe in” turn into a change you can believe in, if you do not expect too much? It seems for me, it already has. Harper’s magazine amply commented that Obama looks less and less like Roosevelt,  more and more like Hoover. overly cautious
What about you, the readers out there? May be I am too pessimistic? Would Obama, with all his contradictions, be a good artistic project regardless of his achievements or the lack thereof? Do let me know.
When I read the blog posts of my fans about a certain sence of captivation that my paintings induce in them, I often reflect on work of other artists whose techniques, style, art vision, and world views are so profoundly different from main:  Robert Williams, Frank Frazetta, Boris Valejo and Andy Warhol, amongst others. While I am a very conservative fellow  , a  family guy,  I do feel some commity with  the originality, drive, and the irresistable appeal of those guys, some of them quite wild and not only intellectually or artistically so. Their artwork has the power to glue the viewer’s attention that Shakira and Britney Spears get from paparazzi.
Robert Williams talks about the retinal delights of his work, about the needs of the eye to be stimulated much like any other sense, about his work being able to literary trap the viewer. I think there is something to it. Art can be intoxicating for those capable of apreciating it fully. Yes, one can get high or drunk on art as one can be carried away by a good champaign or a lovely woman. In fact, you can fall in love with a painting: I know I have.
And that goes not for visual art only. Music can captivate even more. I think some popular music to many people is a substitute for and/or augementing compaignion to their daily six packs or marijuana joints. In fact, some rock bands seem almost shamanic drug dealers to me, their wares really crack for the brain, nothing more and nothing less.
Yet when I listen to the classical music, or Steve Martin and Barbara Streisand, I think of the fine red wine that suppose to be good for your heart and your brain. That is what I modestly strive to be: perhaps not the priciest and best known label, but a faithful companion always standing on the shelf, always ready to enliven and brighten your day, whenever your eye chooses to attend to my painting.
Go east, old man: to Russia with Love.
Just yesterday I posted an entry on Michael Jackson and am delighted that it has not gone unnoticed: thanks to all of you who have responded and posted comments.  I have been thinking of the unparralel footprint that Michael left globally. While I am no Michael Jackson, my art has spread to many countries already and in a few days we are lunching a Russian website, Afremov.ru, at last.
Now, as you know, I have been born and raised in Vitebsk, the city of Candinsky and Mark Shagal, in a coutry that has been a part of Russia and the USSR and now is an independent state, Belorus. Candinsky and Shagal are still customary referred as Russian artists worldwide and a considerable part of Belorus’ population still consider themselves Russian and Belorus a part of Russia, even as the political process of unification with Russia has stalled due to the desputes over the oil pipline and a deep personal animosity between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Luckashenko, the Hugo Chaves of Belorus. While my personal roots and attachments to Vitebsk are very deep, I am profoundly a man of the Russian culture and Russian is the language spoken in my family, whether we live in Esrael or the US.
Since 1990, when I left the USSR, a canstelation of the brightest  Western pop stars has decended on Moscow: Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul McCartny, Whitney Houston (whose portrait I’ve painted, by the way), Beyonce Knowels, Britney Spears, and  Rihanna  is planning to go, last I heard. While I cannot possibly match their popularity and name recognition, I am more and more known by the art collecting crowd over there. And I have to tell you, these are very special customers. Some of them would pay $600 to get a giclee the next day. They live and drive fast and they play hard. I’ll be all to happy to add color to their lives, especially as so much of contemporary Russian art is so dark, gloomy and depressing, as if the artists deep their brushes in tears, not paint. While my roots are in there, it’s a Western artist that I am making a comeback.My art reflects a more sunny, joyful, and optimistic outlook on life. I hope that one day the reality of my former compatriotes will correspond to the feelings my artwork tries to evoke.
After the untimely departure of Michael Jackson this year, I was commissioned to make a painting of this legendary entertainer that for me and many other newcomers to the US represented America no less than the Statute of Liberty itself. Yes, for us in the former USSR  Michael Jackson was America: bright, intoxicating, irresistible, energetic  to the excess, challenging, impossible to ignore, and dangerously alluring. Everything about Michael was bigger than life and as colorful as life can be only in our dreams and Hollywood movies.
Then he somehow faded away  considerably from the public imagination as an artist if not as a private person, until his death forced everyone to realize what a mighty presence he was on the world scene. How many touched the world as globally as he had, and for so long? Not that many. Elvis, the Beatles, and I dare not put anyone else in line who permeated the popular culture to the  extent that Michael had.

As I was working on the painting, I could not help but reflect that as artists we are not altogether dissimilar, even as we worked in the totally different media and  even as human being I may well be his exact better adjusted yet modestly unremarkable opposite. My many fans write in their blogs about the intoxicating exuberance of color, the celebration  of life’s beauty and energy that they sense in and enjoy about my work. I feel that color and flavor  in Michael’s performance, and not only in his exotic and memorable stage attire, but the sound, that hypnotic beat you’ll never forget once you heard it. As my art is now going global, I ,as any other artist, may only hope to give joy and touch as many hearts as Michael has and continues touching whenever his music is played anywhere on the glob….
Meet Leonid Afremov, International Acclaimed Artist
Leonid Afremov is an artist who is making his mark by creating beautiful and elegant pieces that everyday people can afford. He does not want to sell his wares to millionaires who will lock them in vaults.



PR Log (Press Release) – May 18, 2009 – Hello Leonid, Why have you started Afremov.com?
I wanted people from all over the world that have always been interested in my paintings to be able to locate them on the internet. The website gives an opportunity for everyone to be able to purchase my collections through an online auction bid. This way it allows the person who is interested in my art to pay what they feel it’s worth.

Can you explain what makes your website different?
My online auction, which runs daily, allows people to make bids on what the feel the art is worth to them. They can pick and choose different pieces and make bids at whatever amount they want. It’s quite simple and the site is easy to understand which allows anyone to navigate through it.

What do you offer on the website?
I want to invite people into my soul. This is an opportunity to share my visions and interpretations of life with everyone. Each piece of art represents something genuine to me and I want others to experience as well.

How do you manage to put your pieces of work on the website very inexpensively?
I want people who enjoy my art to have a chance and own it themselves. I have gotten so many requests over the years for paintings, I thought now was a good time to help others put it in there homes. Now with the economy struggling, I wanted to make each piece very affordable to those who are interested in my work. That’s how we developed the bid auction for the site. This way if someone is interested they can pay whatever they can afford for my paintings.

Who would you like to see buy your art?
Anyone who shares the same feelings I do about it. I would like my work to inspire others or even help people recall similar moments in their lives. Each piece is unique to me and I believe many can relate to them.



# # #

Leonid Afremov was born in city of Vitebsk, in 1955, the same town as Marc Chagall, the famous artist who also founded the Vitebsk Art School along with Malevich & Kandinsky. Leonid Afremov graduated from Vitebsk Art School in 1978 and is one of the elite members.

Words from Leonid Afremov:

Every artwork is the result of long painting process; every canvas is born during the creative search; every painting is full of my inner world. Each of my paintings brings different mood, colors and emotions. I love to express the beauty, harmony and spirit of this world in my paintings. My heart is completely open to art. Thus, I enjoy creating inspired and beautiful paintings from the bottom of my soul. Each of my artworks reflects my feelings, sensitivity, passion, and the music from my soul. True art is alive and inspired by humanity. I believe that art helps us to be free from aggression and depression.
From Robbery to Triumph, The Rise of an Artist with $1 Art Auctions
Forced to paint propaganda in Russia and robbed when in Israel, how Leonid Afremov found success in launching a new Art Auction Website Afremov.com.

Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) March 26, 2009 -- After finding his studio vandalized in February 2000, Leonid Afremov knew Israel wasn't as welcoming as he thought.


Leonid Afremov's Famous Painting "Alley by the Lake"His hard work and paintings were ruined. Knife-slashed canvases, some of them missing altogether while others hung from the walls, crooked and useless. Thieves ruined pieces of his art and tore holes in his dream to become a great artist.


When he moved to Israel, he thought they would be welcoming since he was Jewish   
But unfortunately, people who are from Israel only care about other Israel-born Jews.   
They asked him, 'Are you Russian? Then go to the Russian Police,'   
Not only would the police not help him, they discriminated against him even though he was Jewish. He wasn't an Israeli-born Jew.   
Moving to the U.S. was the best move for his career. He moved to New York City where he began working on his craft   
In 2002, his artwork was in museums hanging next to artists like Rembrandt.   
Speaking no English, this Russian-Jewish artist had to fight to get his worldwide recognition. He was born in Vitebsk, (USSR) Russia in 1955 where Marc Chagall was born. Chagall was a famous artist who founded the college Afremov attended, Vitebsk University.

Afremov lived in Russia for 35 years painting what the government forced him to do, such as billboards and posters for the communist party. Not liking the fact that he was being dictated what to paint and how to paint, he fled to Israel in 1990 in the hopes of finding artistic freedom.

"When he moved to Israel, he thought they would be welcoming since he was Jewish," said David Afremov, Leonid's son and art manager. "But unfortunately, people who are from Israel only care about other Israel-born Jews."

The thieves broke into his Israel exhibition studio through the front door and back windows. There wasn't an alarm system installed since the area surrounding were mostly families and small businesses. After the break-in, he went to the Israeli Police.

"They asked him, 'Are you Russian? Then go to the Russian Police,'" said David. "Not only would the police not help him, they discriminated against him even though he was Jewish. He wasn't an Israeli-born Jew."

Israel didn't agree with the way he painted men and women together nude and black jazz artists. They thought that artists should paint only Jewish people.

With no help from police or any leads on who broke into his studio, Afremov made the decision to move his family to the United States in 2001 to finally be able to become a recognized artist.

"Moving to the U.S. was the best move for his career. He moved to New York City where he began working on his craft," said David. "In 2002, his artwork was in museums hanging next to artists like Rembrandt."

Today he has over four thousand paintings, in 60 galleries all over the world in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Israel and the U.S. He's only been living in the States for eight years and before that he wasn't widely known for his art.

He lived in NYC for two years while the cold weather started impacting his work. It was beginning to be darker and less colorful than his typical brightly colored landscapes and images.

In 2004 he and his wife, Inna and their two sons, David and Boris, moved to safe and sunny Boca Raton, Florida.

In the U.S., Afremov can paint whatever he sees or visualizes in his mind. There's no government stopping him from painting nude bodies, as they did in Israel, or a government prohibiting him from expressing himself at all.

The Afremov's launched a new art auction website in October 2008 where visitors can purchase his paintings starting at $1. Since the launch, each month there has been a 100% increase in sales, and they have moved into a new studio warehouse to meet the demand.

For more information, visit: www.afremov.com

By Samantha Andrews

###
Dear Friends, hello! As we know, the year 2010 is a Tiger Year in Chinese Year. Tiger brings wealth, health and prosperity! In my opinion, the tiger would be a best gift this year for anybody! Therefore, specially for my friends and just people who like my art, I would like to give away 5 large Tiger Oil Paintings! It is a limited time offer, only 5 tigers available.
To order your tiger painting, just follow this link:
afremov.com/shop.php?parent_id…
or if the link doesn't work, copy and paste it in your browser, or simply go to www.Afremov.com and on the right side you will see the banner with this promotion and you willl see all the details there.
I am wishing you all Happy Healthy Holidays with lots of joy and happiness shared with your family !
Leonid
Holiday Gifts from Me - Leonid Afremov!
TWO DAYS ONLY - December 4 and December 5! A special gift for you and your friends/family - receive a Beautiful fully hand embellished stretched oil painting, what a great gift for your loved ones! The art work will come stretched ready to hang with sides painted and hand embellished with a pallete-knife.
You can have your painting sent anywhere, just let us know where you'd like it to be shipped and it will get there long before Christmas!
Just simply pay shipping and handlng cost ($49.95 - includes holiday wrap). Please note that the paintings are shipped separately, shipping cannot be combined.
Here is the link to the list of free paintings:
[link]

Best Regards
Leonid
Holiday Gifts from Me - Leonid Afremov!
TWO DAYS ONLY - December 4 and December 5! A special gift for you and your friends/family - receive a Beautiful fully hand embellished stretched oil painting, what a great gift for your loved ones! The art work will come stretched ready to hang with sides painted and hand embellished with a pallete-knife.
You can have your painting sent anywhere, just let us know where you'd like it to be shipped and it will get there long before Christmas!
Just simply pay shipping and handlng cost ($49.95 - includes holiday wrap). Please note that the paintings are shipped separately, shipping cannot be combined.
Here is the link to the list of free paintings:
afremov.com/shop.php?parent_id…

Best Regards
Leonid
  • Mood: Cheerful
Dear friends,
only TODAY we are having a super holiday promotion.
Buy one painting in my online art Gallery and receive two more (same or smaller size) FREE paintings, this promotion is valid only for any store inventory paintings. However, the promotion is not valid for auctions.

Now how it works: Purchase any painting you like in my online gallery; Giclee or original. After your payment, please send me an email with the item numbers of the paintings you wish to have as the free gifts.
Here is the link to my online gallery:
afremov.com/shop.php?parent_id…

Best Regards
Leonid
  • Mood: Cheerful
Dear friends,Hello!
My friend Suzanne Hunter, is launching her first web site today.. and she is giving away free paintings!!!
I think her art is really beautiful, but we need your opinion. Please tell us your opinion and critique it.
You can order free paintings by going to this site: stores.hunterartgallery.com/St…

Best Regards,
Leonid
  • Mood: Cheerful
Dear friends,Hello!
I am David Afremov and today with my father's permission I listed his original oil paintings that haven't been listed ever before.
Now you have unique opportunity to purchase them from our online auction, here is the link to this paintings.:
afremov.com/categories.php?par…

Please call me for any questions 561-542-0150
Best Regards
David Afremov
  • Mood: Cheerful
Dear friends, Hello!
Today I celebrate 5 years of my successful internet bussines, I started it on ebay and I really didn't think it would grow up:-), it has been 5 years of hard work and specially for my friends and fans -only today I have couple offers.
1. When you register today on www.afremov.com you can have $75 gift card that you can use on any art gallery purchase(cannot be used towards auctions, stretching or frames).
2.Specially for my collectors I listed new original oil paintings and the starting bid is only $99 !
3.You will receive second painting FREE when you buy one painting in my www.Afremov.com Art Gallery

Thank you.
Leonid
  • Mood: Cheerful
Dear Friends,
   Hello and happy Friday to everyone! I have some great news regarding Afremov.com. Starting Friday night I will be featuring my new collection of oil originals. I have been told that these are some of the most vibrant oil paintings have created. Also I am featuring new acrylics and mixed media on my $1 auctions. Look for my new pieces and if you see something you can't live without, remember we have a 0% interest with our new financing system. I hope you enjoy these new originals and have a lovely weekend.
     Best Regards,
Leonid Afremov

afremov.com/index.php
  • Mood: Cheerful
Hello Friends,
   I just wanted to inform everyone that I have a new oil painting up on my site called "Wedding Day". This piece has not been released anywhere, not even on deviantArt.

Its a painting that I painted a few years back and It depicts the fond memory of my weedding day in Vitebsk! It shows the cars lined up for the celebration. There is also an old bar called the swan that I used to tear down in my younger years shown in the picture.

It has been quite some time since I have been back
  • Mood: Joy
I also have some big news from Afremov.com
afremov.com/index.php . Everyone is thrilled that the $1 auctions are back, users have the chance to bid on a painting that is ready to be hung for only $1!! So far 20 piece have sold for only $1! All are stretched

Since I have an overwhelming responses from users who want an Original piece of art but cant afford it in these hard times. I have now adapted a financing system so that users can pay me a small amount from month to month. And there is 0% interest, so there will be no price increase along the way. This is simply to provide my guests with a more affordable payment options. So now everyone can have an Afremov original oil painting inside their home. Have A Great Weekend!!!
I told Everyone in my last blog post that the financing plan would be available at the end of today but my son just called me and said it should be up within the hour.

  Again this plan has 0% interest and will not increase the price you pay over time. This is simply to provide my guests with a more affordable payment options. So now everyone can have an Afremov original oil painting inside their home. Have A Great Weekend!!!
  • Mood: Joy
Day to Day I list my new oil paintings for my friends and fans. Only a few really strike people when they see it. I had a lot of responses when it came to a particular piece called "MISTY CITY MOOD". I could find this original for some time, I thought I sold it to a private dealer. But yesterday while I was stumbling around helping my son, I found it in a storage unit along with a few others. To think I paint so much that I cant remember where I keep my artwork is just too funny.

  Anyway, I have listed this piece with a few others I found at the very top of my website. afremov.com/index.php here at the very top are oil originals and these are the paintings I found locked away. who knows what could have happened with these?

Also those who wanted to know about the payment plan, I will be activated at the end of the Friday. So you can buy an original and take it easy on your wallets paying from month to month. Enjoy these lost pieces!! Have an Excellent weekend!

  Leonid
  • Mood: Joy
Well I am happy to say I have become a somewhat of a football junkie! I am going to see the Miami Dolphins tonight on Monday Night Football! I watched the game last night and it was a nail bitter all the way to the end. Look for me on the 40 yard line with a ridiculous Dolphin hat with a that stick about 2 feet in the air!!

I also have some big news from Afremov.com afremov.com/index.php . Everyone is thrilled that the $1 auctions are back, users have the chance to bid on a painting that is ready to be hung for only $1!! So far 20 piece have sold for only $1!

Since I have an overwhelming responses from users who want an Original piece of art but cant afford it in these hard times. I have now adapted a financing system so that users can pay me a small amount from month to month. And there is 0% interested, so there will be no price increase along the way... Fair idea i suppose what do you think?
  • Mood: Joy
Dear Friends,
It is my pleasure to announce big news from Afremov.com. All the new acrylics on canvas now come stretched and ready to hang on your wall! And only for $1! That right, Afremov.com has now gone to $1 bidding and NO reserves. So you now can bid on a masterpiece and win for only $1!! This will be activated on 9/17/09.

We also have many new features to tell you about that many people were requesting. Now whenever you win an auction our system will keep track of all your orders. While logged in you can see all past transactions and orders. There is also a search button on the home page where you can see your favorite piece.

Please friends, if there is anything about Afremov.com that you are not satisfied with please let us know. Customer service is our main concern and any valuable suggestions you have to Afremov.com, we will send you a Acrylic Painting on Canvas for FREE, we will pay all shipping  charge just please include your name and address.

Thank you and Best Regards,
      Leonid Afremov


afremov.com/
  • Mood: Artistic