Dmitri Fedosseev is a painter. Born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, he currently lives and works in Toronto. He won the people’s choice award for best drawing at OCAD in 2007. He’s represented by Mark Christopher Gallery.
I paint at night. It’s quieter, there’s no noise. During the day, you can hear noises all the time and the doors are open, people are around–it’s different. At night, I’m not stressed out. I don’t think as much. I don’t think about mistakes, I just go with it. I like that. The longer you work on something, the more absorbed you become with the work. Maybe once a month, I’ll stay up all night working. I like overnights because I’m so exhausted that I can’t think about what’s happening. I’m just doing things. It becomes more and more intuitive.
I have no idea what I’m doing when I draw or paint. It’s like walking into a void. It feels depressing, of course. Every painting is a whole new experience for me. It’s never the same. I choose to do it like this because, as much as I don’t like doing it, I also thoroughly enjoy when it works out. There’s a certain ecstasy at the very end and I don’t think I’d experience that if I knew exactly how the painting or drawing would turn out. You surprise yourself in the nicest way possible and it makes you feel really good. It’s like jumping into something and landing on your feet when you don’t know where you’re jumping. It’s like going to the moon and you don’t know if it’s actually real and you get there and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s a real thing,’ and you can actually sit on it or stand on it, jump around.
Why do I paint? Because I have nothing else better to do. Something happened at OCAD, especially after thesis, where I felt like, ‘This is it. I can’t do anything else.’ It didn’t matter if I was making money or not. That was never my intention of going into art, which was a big problem with my parents. I think now they understand. This is something that I want to continue doing. It doesn’t matter how expensive it is or how much grief it gives to other people. I consciously choose to do this every day. I’m just waiting for that one painting. It’s always a search for that one painting that’s going to do something. It’s going to solve something, some little problem. I don’t know what the problem is yet. It’s like 42, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s looking for the ultimate question.
Different experiences change the way you look at things, changes your philosophy. Woman troubles, family troubles, money troubles–pretty much all the trouble you can think of, I’ve had. I just plough through it, though. You gotta drop your cocks and pick up your socks. You just gotta get over it, you know? Your problems are your problems. You have to deal with them. It really is time to man up and just deal with the bullshit, as hard as it is.
I tried to separate painting from the rest of my life for a while. I thought, ‘I’ll have my girlfriend here and my painting here and I’ll go do these nice things, go for walks,’ but that doesn’t work for me. She’ll say, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m thinking about a painting–what do you think of this colour?’ and she’s like, ‘What? I thought you were going to keep things separate.’ So I say, ‘Ok,’ and keep walking but thinking about colours and trying new things out with these colours. It’s going through my head all the time. The only separation I have is that I don’t paint at home–but then I work on my website and try to update my stuff and write some writing or sketch while I’m in the bathtub. Someone should really invent some sort of mechanism so you can sketch while taking a shower! Think about how many great ideas you have in the shower.
I just like the idea of having ideas. I sketch when I have an idea and then I can just think about it. It’s not even about working on a composition or anything like that. It’s just having a tactile hand moving around. I don’t usually bring my sketchbooks to my studio. I have thirty sketchbooks but they each have one or two sketches in them. I don’t sketch to work out ideas. I just like to jot things down and then forget about them. If it’s good enough to be in my head and stay there for a couple of months, it’s good. If it wasn’t that good, I’ll forget about it. If I keep dwelling on it, keep thinking about this one particular thing, then it will eventually pop up. My process is memory-based.
Richard Robertson is the guy who exploded my drawing into a whole new world. He clicked something in me that I could just draw and figure things out on my own without looking at a model. The way he teaches is different than other teachers. He wouldn’t even teach you. He just talks to you. He’d say, ‘Look at this.’ He would just tell you to look. After his class, I could really just imagine things and look at them. I can’t explain it.
That’s my first sculpture that I did not too long ago. I want to explore this a bit more, later on. Not too many people have seen this little weird thing. It just sits there. I don’t even know what it is…two halves of a woman. It’s grotesque. It’s a Bukowski dream.
–Dmitri Fedosseev, as told to Studio Beat
Photos by Courtney Vokey
Straight from Studio Beat’s recorder, listen to Dmitri’s response when we asked him about his favourite colour:
Check out Dmitri’s website HERE.