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 Ive 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. Ill 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, its 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.