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My fabulous artist friend Diana Solovyova’s triumph in silk painting

08 may 2013, 12:25
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The longer I know Diana Solovyova, the more I appreciate her artist’s soul.

Everything the Almaty resident has created in the five years since we’ve been friends has been outstanding – whether charcoal etchings, paintings, sculptures, photos or Marie Antoinette-style dolls.

Her dolls were so exquisite that three publications did stories about them, and her painting so riveting that Khabar television has done two pieces about them.

Diana’s latest genre is the most breathtaking yet: Japanese-style hand-painted silk scarves.

She uses the finest Chinese silk and top-quality paints to create colorful but soft-toned scarves with flowers, birds and other themes.

A bright-colored bird dominates one scarf’s motif. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

A bright-colored bird dominates one scarf’s motif. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Each is a labor of love that takes an entire day.

Diana recently opened the website http://scarfbejo.fo.ru/ to promote the scarves. But like a lot of artists, she knows how to create better than how to market.

So I hope to enlist friends with marketing expertise to help her sell these memorable pieces, which bear the brand name Scarfbejo.

Diana’s artist’s soul comes from her genes.

Her father, the late Malik Yakshimbetov, was an accomplished film director. Her mother, Margarita Solovyova, was a movie script writer who teaches the craft at the Kazakhstan Academy of the Arts in Almaty.

I met Diana at KIMEP, the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research. I was a journalism professor there from 2006 to 2009, and she the staff photographer and videographer.

She was doing fashion photography on the side, and I quickly realized she was as good as the world-class photographers I’d worked with when I modeled in Japan.

A couple of years after we met, she gave me a charcoal-etching portrait as a birthday present. “I didn’t have the money to buy you anything,” she apologized, “so I did the etching using a photo of you.”

The portrait, which is terrific, is one of the personal items I cherish. Almost everyone who visits my home comments on how it captures my essence.

This photomontage of Hal Foster shows the boundless art talent that Diana Solovyova possesses. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

This photomontage of Hal Foster shows the boundless art talent that Diana Solovyova possesses. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Diana first studied Japanese silk painting at the ADHS arts school in Almaty, where she received a diploma at age 15, two years before graduating from a regular high school.

She went on to obtain a degree in theater stage design at the Kazakhstan Academy of the

Arts and a second degree in still and film photography at the Cinema Academy in Almaty.

Diana had always been interested in classical Japanese art, so she spent considerable time at the ADHS arts school studying it.

 “In traditional Japanese art there are special rules,” she said. “I learned traditional color combinations and composition.”

When Diana first painted Japanese-style, she used the traditional softer colors. Later she added brighter ones to the mix.

She began painting scarves six months ago.

Her artist’s soul comes into play in the way in which she designs her creations.

“Late at night I get a picture in my mind of what I’m going to paint the next day,” she said. “I see it all – the lines, the forms, the colors.”

Almaty artist Diana Solovyova painting on silk. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Almaty artist Diana Solovyova painting on silk. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Many of her creations contain flowers because a flower, with its beauty and fragility, “is a reflection of my soul,” she said.

The day after she gets a mental picture of what she wants to paint, she uses her hands to create what God seared into her mind.

She starts by stretching the silk on a frame. Typical sizes are 200 centimeters by 30 centimeters, and 150 centimeters by 45 centimeters.

Next she sketches what she’ll paint. The final step is the brush strokes themselves.

She loves the work so much that each day flies by, she said.

She describes her affection for silk as a canvas this way: “Silk is a wonderful thing – the butterflies create it for us. As an artist, I see silk is a friend that shares my joy and emotions with me. It supports and heals me.”

Painting “is an amazing process that brings new colors into my life every day,” she enthused. The magic of the work is that “you never know how the next stroke will go, what form it will take and how it will be combined with the previous one.”

She tries to put part of her life into each scarf. That means each has contrasts because “our lives are always composed of contrasts,” she said.

Such contrasts include “pearl and gray, blossoming buds and empty stems,” she said.

Diana presents some components of the scarves in colors that aren’t from real life. Examples are pink grass and violet leaves.

She loves the fact that when the scarves are exposed to different light, their colors become chameleon-like, changing with the illumination.

Subtlely colored flowers are a Diana Solovyova specialty. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Subtlely colored flowers are a Diana Solovyova specialty. Photo courtesy of Diana Solovyova

Although Diana told me three months ago that she’d started painting on silk, I had no idea how spectacular the scarves were until she sent me photos recently.

I should have known, of course – because everything she’s created as an artist has been incomparable.

After I saw the photos, I told her I wanted to buy several scarves as gifts.

In my mind, there’s nothing better to give a friend than a one-of-a-kind reflection of an artist’s soul.

I’m too selfish to give every scarf away, however. The one I find the most appealing will be sitting in a frame in my living room.

If you’re interested in one of Diana’s scarves, call her at +77052730727.

 


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