Defending the Paint
Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 20" 32", 2014 (Age 19)
At age nine, a few years after my family moved from Russia back to Canada, my brother and I fell in love with basketball. Our school friends had been at the ice rink since they were two and were skating circles around us, so we quickly realized hockey wasn’t going to be our sport. Then we found basketball, a relief for our parents who were happy to watch our games from the comfort of a heated gym with a Tim Horton’s coffee in hand. To everyone’s surprise we were quite good at it, quickly moving up the ranks in city leagues and leading our teams to championship wins. As short white kids from Canada, over time we realized our hopes of making the NBA were next to impossible, so basketball gradually gave way to art. But I still enjoy shooting hoops for recreation on the half-court we made in our backyard. For the last few years I have had this idea of painting an old basketball net with a bird perched on the rim, a sight I often see from my studio windows. I chose an American Goldfinch, as I thought his striking yellow colour would complement the navy backboard square. I positioned him metaphorically guarding his key on a forgotten basketball half-court. While it’s not too Canadian of me to have basketball as my favourite sport instead of hockey, I find it interesting that the game was actually invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith, in Springfield, Massachusetts well over a century ago.
Best Wildlife Award, International Guild of Realism Annual Juried Exhibition