As a 20-year-old from Russia, Boston University student Andrei Okolokoulak aims to inspire young people to embrace their creativity.
Andrei is a junior studying art history who describes himself as a surrealist artist that paints through abstract styles. Painting was a large part of Andrei’s childhood but, it wasn’t until 3 years ago that he revisited this passion and discovered that it created an incredible transformation for him in both his personal and professional development.
Andrei is inspired by people, nature, philosophy, music, and history. From Romanticism and the history of people who lived hundreds of years ago to landscapes and color, he has been motivated to create art that romanticizes nature through abstract lenses. Andrei is inspired visually by contemporary artists and conceptually by surrealism, enabling him to create incredible pieces that display deep emotions in relation to nature. These deep emotions are revealed through color as we can see in the piece, “Fire Dance Ritual with Bone Dust in Air” (below), where the combination of ritual and intense red color create deep meaning and emotion.
Andrei is moved by both simplicity and complexity in nature. Music has been an emotional support for him and he describes it as delicate and intricate. He often listens to and is inspired by classical and instrumental music such as the sounds of the jungle. Not only are nature and music essential to being a creative professional but Andrei believes it is important for an artist to be in the presence of other artists. Everyone has their own unique perspective on the world and can thus add value to one’s work by allowing filtering through what does and does not work. For him, some inspiring people include Aristotle Forrester, Cy Twombly, and Jackson Pollock. As an artist myself, looking at Andrei’s work was fascinating and we were able to share similar ideas about art such as the idea that both the artist and the viewer give art value; each different interpretation ties individual experience to the artwork.
Andrei’s favorite of his pieces right now, The Heart of the Forest, places an emphasis on color and depicts how the emotional and spiritual matter found in an ecosystem interact. This piece is especially unique in that it was a work in progress prior to the final 3-week phase of the painting and has many different layers and meanings dependent on how the viewer interprets the different colors and shapes. Despite being a landscape artist, he includes human figures in many of his pieces (a few in the piece below) and often uses his own experiences, such as a conversation he had with a friend, in his work.
Painting is a spiritual practice, it makes you feel alive. At BU, Andrei made the switch from studying business to art history because he was not motivated by money but rather motivated to use his art as a guidebook to finding answers to questions he had. With ambition and passion, he aims to come closer to answering his questions about reality and existence through art. Some of his values and inspirations are related to this belief. He wants to make money to save forests and animals, revealing that Andrei not only values nature but has truly learned the value of his work. Thus, Andrei has never worked – painting is not work, it is a gateway to happiness.
Although he considers his impatience and discipline a weakness, Andrei is admirable for being a dreamer and having intense passion for a multitude of things in his life. He is also an impressive person for his ability to minimize bad stress while keeping good stress in his life to motivate him. Painting has helped him realize what is and is not important to stress over. He is a painter first but is an artist at heart with the ambition and drive to delve into different creative mediums such as fashion and interior design.
After graduating, Andrei plans to go to Los Angeles because it is a city full or artists, nature, and visionaries. In our society today, people are often forced into the vicious cycle of being trapped in the same routine. Through the dripped painting and shades of grey and blue, this is exactly what is depicted in “The Repetitiveness of Today” (below). Andrei is not only inspiring to myself but to any college student who wishes to pursue his or her dreams and passions; Andrei says everyone is capable but they have to truly want it. He strives to achieve professionalism in every medium he uses and wants to use art as a voice to make a change in the world.
Check out some of Andrei’s work at Verge Campus BU’s 2017 Boston Breakthrough Showcase on March 24th at BU Central. In the mean time, you can visit Andrei Okolokoulak’s Website here.