Inside the Studio: Ilya Volykhine (New Zealand)


Waiheke Weekender, 18 July 2013Ilya Volykhine in his studio.

Favorite materials to work with?
Oil paint, oil sticks, charcoal, india inks, liquid graphite, and paper collage.

How many years as an artist?
I have been working as a professional artist since 1995.

DSCN0007Ilya’s tools of the trade.

Where is your studio?
I have a free standing studio and gallery adjacent to my home on Waiheke Island.

What themes do you pursue?
My work is generally based around exploring domestic interior and exterior spaces and how the figure moves, sits and
interacts within these places. I love the feelings of awkwardness that my paintings project through the mixture of both
naive brush and line work, stylization and strange situations, both actual and imaginary.

IMG_2005At work.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I usually have music on, sometimes I want to hear it in my studio and other times I’m working in headphones or with
no music and listening to the birds.

Where can we find you outside the studio?  
Sitting on one of the three swings that are just outside my studio, staring at my paintings or the sky.

What’s around the corner from your place?
I am very lucky to live on 12 acres of land on one of the most gorgeous islands off the coast of New Zealand, and I am 5 minutes from the beach.

studioAt work on a painting. 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  
To never compromise and try to meet the art market.  Always paint for yourself and directly from your own soul.

Art school or self-taught?
Self-taught, but also mentored by other artists.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
Be a professional tennis player. ;)

543-12091487-7“Paris Breeze”

Day job?
I am an artist all of the time. I am in my studio over 40 hours a week, day and night.

What do you collect?
Books, catalogues, color samples from nature, magazines, found human-made forms, diverse imagery, digital photographs, old frames, friends, networks, etc.

Favorite contemporary artist?  
Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, and Francesco Clemente.

543-13468899-7“You Can Leave Your Suitcase Over There”

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
My beautiful wife and two gorgeous sons.

Favorite brush?
Escoda Natural Chungking Bristle Sash Brushes, Olive Series.

Scrapers, palette knives, anything around me.  Panel, canvas, linen, Hahnemuhle paper.

"The Out of Towners" ($1,500)“The Out of Towners”

"Stories II, 2012" ($1,500)

“Stories II, 2012″


  1. Anton Corbier says:

    this handle kick cakes groove= well up hand

    BIGGER >

  2. Pamela Gatens says:

    Love your cast of characters.

  3. Love the forms of figures and coloration…keep up the great work!

  4. Vladimir says:

    Илья, у вас офигенные работы ! Поздравляю!

  5. love your studio, your country, your work and the great advice…To never ¨compromise and try to meet the art market. Always paint for yourself and directly from your own soul¨

  6. Niki Hare says:

    YaY for Auckland, great works :-) )))

  7. Just wanted to say: – And I guess you forgot all about the fact who told you what and how to paint back in my apartment at 60 West 57 in New York…. when I told you that you are good in making those cartoon images of people instead of trying to reproduce the real images as you’ve tried for some years during your time with that French girl Armel? I took care of you sins I was 6 y.o. … changed your diapers and fed you and entertained you… – I was you mom and nanny, not mom… And in return – you have betrayed me so many times in this life that it makes me very sad and angry at the same time… Oh well, enjoy your ride in painting style given to you by me…, just like in everything else that I have teached and given to you, “brother born on the same date and time of July 30th, just 6 years later…., but – it doesn’t really mean much to you does it…? You keep on betraying me as always…. Pavel Volykhine

  8. I enjoy your diverse imagery and like the looseness in your style!

  9. ashar says:

    Not usually my kind of thing, however I was captivated by its energy and personality. so a first for me as I really like your work. Great stuff

  10. Anshu says:

    loved ur work and interview too. ” To never compromise and try to meet the art market. Always paint for yourself and directly from your own soul.”

  11. Mercedes says:

    Hi Pavel, I feel very sorry for you that you have to show your anger on this site.
    Try to leave it behind you, anger is such a waste of energy.
    Do your own thing and try to be proud on your little brother, knowing that you were an important , loving and caring brother. Ilya did not make himself, so forgive him being… maybe selfish. Be happy, both of you. Let it be.


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