Hi, Olessia, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born on April 7th, 1980, in a little village nestled in the wilderness of Siberia. From a young age, It became evident to my parents that I had a raw talent and an unyielding passion for color and art. As I grew older, it was depressing and grey, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of Siberia! My parents supported my creative spirit to distract me from the seemingly endless cold winters by enrolling me in a formal art school in Russia. Under the guidance of skilled instructors, I was able to hone my art skills with my artistic techniques and style. I graduated with honors and set off In search of a warmer climate; my ambition and desire to travel brought me to America, and I somehow managed to land smack dab in the “Heart of the Charleston.” Charleston, SC, is known worldwide for its charm and hospitality. The downtown art district is no different, and it is popping off! With my brilliantly colorful paintings of scenes from the Low Country, I quickly garnered attention in the art community, and I was welcomed right in. Over the years, I have established a great collector base that has just been wonderful. I have gotten to interact with some of the most interesting characters. My journey has been almost as colorful as my paintings. I have fallen in love with the Deep South and the traditions of an era gone by. I paint vivid hues and compositions that evoke a nostalgic feeling. I am so fortunate to be able to experience and try to capture the beautiful scenes of the Lowcountry and the barrier islands that surround it. My story is a testament to the universal love of art and the chance of adventure.
Please talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned. Looking back, has it been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Looking back, I faced many challenges, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome with understanding and a hard work ethic. When I think about the challenges I’ve faced, they seem similar to those of others: life challenges. I’ve struggled with the loss of my parents. Grief is something that everyone experiences, some more than others. I’ve struggled with interpersonal issues with family and friends but have overcome them through empathy and compassion. Also, as with most folks, I’ve worked through financial hardship. I’ve been a self-employed artist (painter) for over twenty years. Art has been my main route to income for all those years, and believe me, there have been some times of lean sales. I’m in the middle of my path to success. It has been a relatively smooth road with many different surfaces to travel. I am a successful artist, yet I continue to grow. My painting style will continue to improve, and my following will continue to grow. The success I feel ten years from now will be bigger and better than I feel now.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might need to become more familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
From a young age, I remember my father always making long fish nets in the house, in the yard, and everywhere after moving to Charleston And hearing the stories of the indigenous Gullah peoples. I was inspired by the locals and their colorful stories of a forgotten time. I love to imagine their daily life and their way of living. With their homemade wooden John boats and handmaid nets, it just grabs my heart. My paintings are colorfully nostalgic; my low country marsh scenes, with fishermen casting nets, picking oysters, and crabbing, have been heartfelt. I love to paint winding old country roads dripping with Spanish moss, with oak trees twisting to reach the light, creating a cave of shadows for me to paint. I especially love it when the thick old oak tree limbs are lined with the resurrection ferns; I love to paint old forgotten churches in the bend of a dirt road. There is endless beauty here for me to paint, and it’s warm. I was represented by Hagan Fine Art Gallery for beautiful 11 years! Hagan gallery located in a heart of Charleston,125 Church street
How do you define success?
What success means to me is that there are no predictable challenges that can’t be handled with absolute ease. Easy, low-stress living is the result of a successful life. Yes, there is money involved in this; more money than I now have. I need any vehicles to be paid for and trouble-free. The home(s) needs to be owned with all improvements made and all bills and taxes paid. In addition, I, the husband, two sons, the dog, and the cat all need to be fed, clean, and happy. In addition, I’d need enough funds in the bank to keep all that rolling, pay to fix any breaks and problems and afford a few lovely vacays each year. It would take little to achieve this level of success, and I am part way there. While it’s got some curves, my success graph is absolutely on the up and up.
A note from HFA:
"Olessia has been with the gallery for almost 14 years now. From the very beginning her works were highly coveted and quickly collected. Often they don't last a day once they arrive in the gallery. She has been a joy to work with over the years. And watching her career grow has been inspiring." - Karen Hewitt Hagan, owner HFA