Mykola Tolmachev (b. 1993) is a watercolor artist whose visual wittiness resembles the works of famous French caricaturists, while the refined style of his images creates the impression of the high fashion portfolio. In fact, among his sources of inspiration, Tolmachev mentions not only expectable Klimt but also Roland Topor, which tells a lot about his artistic ambitions and his view on art in general. The oeuvres of art must speak to the mind as much as to the heart, being beautiful and sharp at the same time. The audience is to judge whether the artist achieves this goal in his works.
Fig. 1. vk.com
Fig. 2. Illustration to Kateryna (vk.com)
Fig. 3. Illustration to Kateryna (vk.com)
Fig. 4. Birth of fascism (vk.com)
Fig. 5. vk.com
Between Ukraine And France
Mykola Tolmachev was born in Brovary (Kyiv Oblast). Several times he attempted to attend painting classes as a kid, but abandoned the lessons soon. From the age of fifteen, he experimented with sculpture and painting, but started working with watercolor only in 2013. During several months of self-training, he became skillful enough to win a scholarship at the École Nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. Probably, while being in France, Tolmachev developed a taste for figures like Topor, however, the jury pointed out his "surrealist" manner already in 2013.
Islands In the Stream
Apart from winning the scholarship, he also became a finalist in the Canson Art School Awards in the "Drawing and Painting" category three years later. Nowadays, his works are represented by the Da-End contemporary art gallery. The artist has been exhibiting since 2014. Besides, he does illustrations for Ukrainian publishing houses, working in Kyiv and Lviv. Among his works are watercolors for Hemingway's Islands In The Stream and the poem Kateryna written by Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in 1840.
Fig. 6. instagram.com
Fig. 7. Sketch (vk.com)
Fig. 8. instagram.com
Fig. 9. vk.com
Fig. 10. vk.com
When the artist sought his style, he drew inspiration from various sources: Klimt, Schiele, Viennese Secession, the Russian movement Mir Iskusstva, and the works of Rene Magritte and Roland Topor. Thus, his artistic taste implies the attraction to decorativeness and the sophisticated visual metaphors prevailing in surrealist paintings. The images that can be found on the web demonstrate the heavy influence of Topor, which we mentioned at the beginning of this article. It's manifested in harsh carnality connected with sexuality.
Fig. 11. vk.com
Fig. 12. vk.com
Fig. 13. Rose (vk.com)
Fig. 14. vk.com
Fig. 15. instagram.com
Fig. 16. vk.com
Fig. 17. Amour Ardent, aquarelle sur papier, 27x27 cm, 2020 (vk.com)
In Premium you can find an extended version of the article with attention to Tolmachev's talent for poetic reimagining of carnality, the many recognizable motifs in his images, and other influences from Eastern and Western traditions, and 29 additional images of his fascinating paintings.
Click HERE for an article on the sensual paintings of the Ukrainian artist Artem Rogovoi
Sources: Wikipedia.org; vk.com; instagram.com; vogue.ua (Interview by Valentina Klimenko)
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