Volodymyr Mykyta: "When there is no peace in my soul, I start to paint"


01 February 2018
Sample pic

With his unchanged pipe, sincere smile on his face and a very wise and warm look – everyone who knows Volodymyr Mykyta knows him exactly that way. Coryphaeus of the Transcarpathian school of painting, People's Artist of Ukraine, laureates of numerous prizes and awards – all these loud titles, of course, say a lot about him as an extremely talented artist, but a little about his creativity. As the artist's paintings are bright and full of energy stories about the people's life, beauty and greatness of his native land, people around the artist...

Volodymyr Mykyta, despite his venerable age, is an extremely active person. He is a constant guest of all exhibitions, a participant in artistic events, including the Student Contest in Painting "Silver Easel". Communicating with students, the artist generously shares his experience and wisdom, with journalists he joyfully tells about himself and his work, recalls his life stories with humour. That is why every conversation with the artist is an incredible pleasure and spiritual enrichment, which we want to share with everyone!

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Volodymyr Mykyta

– Mr Volodymyr, do you remember the moment when you first took a brush in your hands?

– Probably, I began painting since I was in nappies (Smiles, – Aut.). I painted everywhere – on the ground, on the sand. Generally, I grew up in the countryside, there was a lot of work and no time for games, but I always painted something… When I realized that painting is more than a passion, I started doing it seriously. Once, the head teacher of one school advised me: "You win top places in art contests, why do not you go to study art?" But I did not know that it was possible to study for an artist! But still I went to Uzhhorod to study!

Perhaps you were accepted into the art college at once?

– Well, about the entry – it is an interesting story. Imagine: I came to apply, and there, at the college… the classes had already started! However, I showed my albums to the teachers – Erdeli, Bokshai, and Manailo, and I was enrolled, despite the fact that I was late. Moreover, I became the 3rd year student!

– You studied at the incredible artists – what were they in communication, in real life?

– It was great happiness to communicate with them! Erdeli, Bokshai, Manailo – they are all brilliant, unique for me! These are all artists of European level! Each of my teachers had his own technique and his vision of art. They were very wise people, and their creativity and behaviour made students admire, respect and love them. In general, such intelligent people were few in Europe: Erdeli, for example, taught ethics and aesthetics for the wealthy people in Munich. Can you imagine the level? A Transcarpathian citizen would teach ethics to the Germans? I never heard any abusive words from Erdeli, that's why I do not use them myself! And I learned to be punctual – I’ve never been late. In this environment, I simply could not be different.

– Few people know that you have other talents besides painting. Would you mind revealing the secrets?

– Sure! You know, I believe that every child is talented, and only in time it becomes clear what is his true gift. The same was with me: since my childhood I had many hobbies – sport, space, poetry… When I was 10-11, I wanted to write. I even wrote the poem and read it on a holiday at school. There were other hobbies, in particular, theatre. I was conducting stage programmes every second week, when I was studying at the art college. Then, when I served in the army, I also performed on the stage. I liked it a lot and when I was demobilized, I started thinking of what to focus on: painting or theatre? Although I chose the first, I managed to play in the operetta "Wedding in Malinovka".

"The work, he put his heart in, is not less than his child for an artist"

– Incredible scenery, female beauty, music or literature – what can inspire you for creativity?

– In fact, one word does not answer this question. Inspiration is a certain impetus. It does not come every time. One can say that I'm not a landscape painter, but a portraitist – figuralist. Thus, I'm terribly pleased to watch people. I really love beauty, especially feminine. Therefore, I cannot help but looking at girls today! (Smiles. – Aut.) Probably, I must say then that I am inspired by everything beautiful!

– Some artists admit that in order to paint, they must have a certain creative mood. Do you have similar feelings? What do you think when creating a painting?

– First of all, I think about what I'm painting to do everything right. As for the mood, it happens that an artist needs to be in a certain creative state. This does not happen mechanically. For example, I smoke a pipe (Cradle – Author). In such a state and at the particular moment, you do not hear anything, you do not see, you only create … There may be nice music that will help – nothing more. So, there is a complete concentration on what you have decided to do.

3-8.jpg — 175.74 kBVolodymyr Mykyta at the contest "Silver Easel"

Contemporary art is extremely plastic, new styles, trends, and artists try themselves in them. And, what about you? Do you experiment?

– I cannot say that I am a great dreamer, but I'm constantly in search. What I saw, I convey photographically at once. I think compositionally, study the nature of the event, what I create. I have to create, suffer. My idea is to "to ferment". And when there is no peace in your soul, then you start painting. Not immediately, but gradually. From realities to absoluteness. This is the inner world that you are depicting on canvas or paper. I allow myself to improvise and abstract. That is the essence of every artist – to convey what he perceives on the canvas.

– There are a lot of works in your house – museum. Is it your principal position to store them in your collection or do you find it difficult to say goodbye to your paintings?

– It happened once that they wanted to buy a lot of paintings for museums, but I refused. They could not understand me – why?  It's such a great honour to get to those museums! And I replied: "I cannot just say goodbye to my children." You see, the work, he put his heart in, is not less than his child for an artist. Therefore, all my pictures are my children for me.

– You can be seen at all the exhibitions in Uzhhorod, and you always admire the works of colleagues. It sounds sincerely and incredible, because it means that you see something special in every artist …

– That's it! It seems to me that every artist is better than me! After all, I do not paint a picture like him! Generally, I think that I am only at the beginning of knowing the real situations in the creativity. I am a young man – only 86 (At the time of recording the interview, the artist was 86, and today, on the 1st February, he is 87. – Aut.)! I am still learning!

"Communication with artists from different regions and even countries contributes to creative relations”

– You have already been a Jury member of the “Silver Easel” for three times. What do such contests give to the new generation of artists?

– Believe me, all the contests are useful! It is communication, exchange of experience between the artists! After all, when you are in the same place for a long time and everyone knows the style and abilities of each other well, you cannot develop. And when you communicate with artists from different regions and even countries, it's completely different. It all contributes to creative relations – when you see someone painting better or different from you, you can benefit a lot from it!

And this contest is held in a very wonderful period. In spring, there are cherry blossoms, and in autumn nature is bursting with golden shades. These rich colours of the participants are amazing, everybody is happy with what they see. I do not know how Robert Brovdi negotiates with the clerks of the weather, but very it is always good weather comes on the contest days (Smiling. - Aut.).

2-10.jpg — 263.46 kBVolodymyr Mykyta and Nataliya Brovdi (the co-founder of “Silver Easel” contest)

– Obviously, you enjoy chatting with the youth during the contest. What do you personally expect from the works of the participants?

– I’d like to see a creative approach! Not academic, but more relaxed! You should not just copy, but paint creatively. The main thing is to completely abstract from everything, understand yourself, bare your artistic soul. The participants' works are always diverse and very interesting - nobody knows what to expect next time. I think students get a great impetus for development!

– In your opinion, what should the older generation learn from the younger one?

– I do not know about others, but I constantly visit almost all exhibitions that take place in the city, even children ones. The younger generation has numerous things which the elder one should learn. As full artists get accustomed to something, and the younger one vice versa – amaze with novelty, seek and experiment. They are free, flying in space! Unexpected! And when you look at such paintings, you want to create, find yourself in a new direction. An artist has to see everyone who is involved in art. When you learn about the world more, you cannot stop. The constant search for themes, techniques – it is useful!

– What would Volodymyr Mykyta recommend to the participants of Silver Easel? How to properly use one’s strength and time?

– I would like to say that young artists should not only fulfil the task they are facing. I would advise them to get acquainted and to communicate with the respectable people because there are always very reputable jury representatives at the contest. Meeting them is already a great event! And such communication gives a great impetus to future work. Young people will return home with other thoughts, different from those they came with. This is a clear indication of progress!

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Mr Volodymyr, on the occasion of your birthday, the whole team of "Silver Easel" and Brovdi Art Foundation would like to congratulate you! You are an incredible, creative, intelligent, open-hearted person, a teacher and a mentor for everybody! We wish you good Transcarpathian health, inspiration, love from all people who surround and respect you! Keep on creating for us your connoisseurs! Thank you very much for the co-operation and your openness to the young artists! We are proud of you and appreciate you!

© Art&Culture Foundation Brovdi Art



Volodymyr Mykyta: "When there is no peace in my soul, I start to paint"