EK Interview: Alex Andreyev

Alex Andreyev hails from Saint Petersburg, Russia.  His Metromicon series calls to mind a world ending event that, hiding in tunnels.  Very dark and inescapable.  Unlike much of the rest of his work which is free, blue skies and awesome science fiction.  He’s worked on concept art for an animation film.  His words follow, read them:

Where are you from?

Saint-Petersburg, Russia 🙂

What is the story behind the “Metronomicon” series?

Not a definitely story. It was just some of intuition travel.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What was the inspiration “Metronomicon”?  Where were you when you came up with the idea?  How did the idea change and develop before you finally put it onto paper?

I like to go by the underground. The underground for me is a mysterious place, place with a special atmosphere. It promotes occurrence of ideas, images.  I don’t try to reflect on value I have seen. If seen amazes my imagination it becomes a picture. I can’t explain why I drew it, why I have chosen such composition – I’ve seen it. And it amazed my imagination.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What techniques do you use to augment your work?  Do you listen to music while you work?

Yes, I always listen to music when I draw. There are a lot of old Soviet songs in my playlist.  I`m deeply in love with USSR  literature, music and movies. In general, I can tell that I am fascinated by an aesthetics of the Soviet period.. That was an interesting time, now long gone, and endless space for ideas. I`m not talking about politics here – this sphere of a human life is deeply unpleasant to me basically.

Becides, I love soundtracks (Angelo Badalamenti, Clint Mansell) and old baroque music.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What graphic novels have you found particularly influential on your work?

I am totally in love of Stanislav Lem and now I do series of illustrations to his novels – “Invincible” and “Eden“. You can find them here:
It isn’t a commercial project, I do it for myself.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom
Tell us about your approach, how you settled upon the technique that you employ today?

I’ve tried out various techniques, including traditional inks, pens, brushes. I also experimented with digital art, and now I use Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter all the time, just basic brushes, no effects or filters. By using limited toolsets I am able to achieve stylistic consistency throughout my portfolio. I focus more on expression of my creative concepts than on technology or tools. I am free of limitations of traditional tools, such as drying of oil paint, changing of gouache color or etching line width. Also I am able to constantly see and control the final result of my work during creation, and that suits my style.

Do you find that your work typically comes out as you saw it in your mind’s eye or does it change as you are translating it to the page?

Good question:) It is one of my basic challenges. All my life I study it – to transfer all that I see between a dream and a reality to image loss-free. Since I began to use colors, I began to do it a bit better.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What was your experience like working on the animation for Kin Dza-Dza?

I have been involved in some SF projects:
Unfortunately these projects are still far from a production stage.

Can you tell us some of your sources of inspiration?

For me only a result of mystical revelation can be considered a true art. Other products of intellectual speculations can only interest me from technological point of view. My favorite paintings are created through insight, sudden connection with a certain information field. The interpretation of my vision, using all of my life experience, is the result of my work. Carlos Castañeda gave a definition of creative process, with which I agree most: «The Nagual Elias, as a solitary dreamer, visited, let’s say, the junkyard of infinity, when no one was around –  and copied whatever he saw, but never knew what those things
were used for, or their source.»

All that I do is fixing of certain conditions of my perception felt at various times, mostly in the childhood or in the sleep. I can’t feel it once again in the usual way, simply having returned to the same place. I don’t try to reflect on value I have seen. If what I’ve seen amazes my imagination it becomes a picture. I can’t explain why I drew it, why I have chosen such composition – I’ve seen it. And it amazed my imagination.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What artists are you currently following?

My favorite artist is Zdislav Beksinski – http://www.beksinski.pl/ He is from Poland, and his art is said to be «post-Auschwitz poetry». I feel very close to his perception of the world and combination of mystical revelations with the reality of our time. I can say that our internal receivers are accepting the same information waves, we are on the same frequency here. Besides him, I like Magritte very much.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

How are you challenging yourself in order to become a better artist?

I am never completely satisfied with results of my work. Usually my satisfaction lasts a limited time, and next time I start work on a painting aiming to surpass results I achieved in past. And the cycle repeats, I think it`s pretty normal for an artist. Of course, I always look at works of colleagues and I am guided by best of them – I mark receptions, finds in the technician of drawing. But about ideas – I use only the my own.

art blog - Alex Andreyev - Empty Kingdom

What is your favorite kind of juice?  What makes it the best?

I like apple juice. In my region this one is most natural, without any chemical impurity.