A self-taught painter from the Russian city of Novosibirsk whose works are well-known abroad has been staying indoors for 6 years
The wife of the painter answered the door as Gennady himself could hardly move; any movement is painful for him because of the consequences of his army service in China and a heart attack he suffered several years ago. The apartment of the famous artist is very light; the peculiar smell of paints and spring freshness produced the impression of incredible lightness. Pictures that the artist took out of a secret closet and placed side by side took our breath away. Tender and sometimes even chilled colours produced an unattainable impression of cleanness and space; the exalted beauty of the pictures made us somewhat sad. At that, we couldn't see any place in the apartment where the artist created his works: there was no studio in the apartment.
Gennady says that he doesn't need an easel to paint his pictures; he creates his works lying on the sofa. As he had suffered from a heart attack, the artist cannot stand or sit for a long time. Gennady says that he makes sketches lying on the sofa, then he goes to the kitchen, sits down with his back leaned against the corner and colours the sketches.
It was about ten years ago that Gennady started painting, right after a serious heart attack and a very long recovery period. Once he read a publication in a newspaper saying that drawing helps restore the normal mode of living and decided to try it. Indeed, the 60-year-old artist felt better already in some weeks after he started painting. He felt warmth in the legs while just some time ago he couldn't move them; the eyes were shining with the vigor of youth. That happened probably because the artist recollected his youth every time he painted.
Gennady says: "While I am drawing I feel that I'm alive. I paint all my pictures from memory. Everything in my pictures reminds me of the woods and rivers of my native land, the Arkhangelsk region. Ideas of my paintings suddenly occur to me; it may happen so that I start imagining my pictures while watching TV. When the ideas occur to me I immediately take a pencil and start sketching." His first drawings were astonishingly expressive and talented, although Gennady himself never painted before and there were no artists in his family. The only thing the heaven-born painter needed to master was the secrets of colours merging. One of his acquaintances, an artist taught him how to merge colours; his friends and acquaintances helped him make frames, gave him pencils and paints so that he could create his works.
Very soon Gennady's pictures became very popular everywhere outside his apartment. People from different places came to see the wonderful pictures; they were artists, delegations from foreign countries, even Bishop Tikhon visited Gennady. All people could admire the pictures, but it was almost impossible to photograph them. The artist says that photoflash makes him feel bad; it takes him quite a long period of time to get ready for photographing. Gennady's pictures are unusual: it seemed that pictures don't allow to photograph them. The artist tells that once Italians visited him and wanted to take photos of the paintings. When Gennady said he was indisposed to photographing, the Italians all the same took photos of the pictures. But when they developed the film they saw the photos were spoiled. The only things they could see in the photos were frames but the paintings themselves were spoiled.
A similar incident occurred when a TV company came to shoot a documentary about the original artist. Gennady warned the TV crew that the sound of the film would be spoiled. Indeed, no voice could be heard off-camera.
There is much mysticism in the life of artist Gennady. Once parents of a deceased 26-year-old artist came to him and told that a ghost of their daughter haunted them every night to draw pictures. Then the parents decided to give the daughter's paints to some other artist so that her soul could find peace and never haunted them any more. When they saw a documentary about Gennady they understood that he was the right man they should give the paints to. Indeed, as soon as the people gave the paints of their daughter to Gennady, the ghost of the young artist ceased haunting them.
Gennady says that his wife feels the impact of his unusual aura: it may happen so that he feels an electric shock when she touches the husband. When a doctor once came to examine Gennady she felt an electric shock as soon as she touched him.
Nobody knows where the inexhaustible vigor of the artist goes from. Gennady tells stories about some silver threads penetrating the space. He says he starts feeling bad when he sees the threads; electric shocks become more frequent at this period. One thing is good for Gennady: neither hypertension nor hypotension or bad weather can spoil Gennady's spirits and wonderful works.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, Novosibirsk