Daniel Volkov, an emerging and talented abstract impressionist painter, was born in 1974 in the city of Yalta. He was the son of renowned Ukrainian artists, Viktor Volkov and Helena Rusanova, with an ancestral history of painters going back to the court of Imperial Russia. In 1989, Daniel entered the Crimean art school named after Samokish and it was here that he met his future wife Elena, also a distinguished artist. He graduated in 1989 and his first solo exhibition was held in Yalta in 1995. Furthering his education, he studied at Moscow State University. In 2001, Volkov returned to Yalta where he has been living and working since, specializing in capturing the beauty of the Crimean landscape in his own distinctive lyrical style. His work is bought by private collectors from France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States as well as numerous galleries.
Q. You come from a multi-generational family of artists. How, if at all, did any of them influence you?
A: The atmosphere in our house was the most influential to me. I grew up seeing tubes of paint, brushes, easels everywhere, and smelling the smell of paint from my father as he came home each day from his studio. I grew up feeling and understanding that I had no other choice to go but to become an artist. My father further encouraged me by insisting that I go to an art school.
Q: Were you formally educated as an artist?
A: Yes. I attended the Crimean Art School named after Samokish [a renowned Ukrainian artist]. They were teaching classic art and the school was very well known and highly respected during Soviet times. I believe I received the strongest possible base for my painting while studying there. Next, I attended the Moscow State University of Print and Publishing where I learned a lot about graphics and composition.
Q: Many American artists want to know how you attain such an abstract and relaxed impressionistic style in your work. How did you develop such a style and do you have any tips for the artists who want to paint a little more like you?
A: Abstract? No. I chose to paint in this style. When an artist is inspired by something and tries to paint it, the subject must be taken seriously. The small details cannot distract your attention from the main emotional theme, the mood. One must exclude any small details which can draw the viewer away from the main theme or, at least, quieten them. The freedom to paint in this style lies only in experience. Only hard and constant work yields this freedom. One must work more and think more.
Q: You seem to paint a lot of beach scenes with water and boats or cityscapes of historical areas of coastal towns. Why do you find these subjects so appealing?
A: I just paint the beauty which I see every day and is around me all of the time. This is my Crimea – very beautiful and rich in history. Every day gives me the joy to live and work. There is so much to paint, I just wish I could work everywhere.
Q: Is there a specific painting you really want to paint but never have done so?
A: I am mostly concerned with directions in my painting, not specific paintings. Now, I am mostly working with landscapes and I give all of my time and energy to this genre. I am like an excited pupil that has the feeling he has just started to understand something and can uncover the next phase of development and start to climb the tower of knowledge again. If I start to get bored with landscapes, I will go to portraits or genre scenes.
Q: Will you be painting large format works in the near future?
A: This is exactly what I am doing right now! I am trying to enlarge the format of my paintings without sacrificing tension and mood.
Q: If you could predict the future, what kind of works do you see yourself painting in five, or even ten years?
A: I know just one thing. It will be years of work – every hour, every day, every year.