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Fiodor Sumkin
age: 28
country: Netherlands
exposed: August 2006
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mugshot Fiodor Sumkin
Please introduce yourself and tell us something about yourself and your background.
I was born in a Byelorussian family of artists. At the age of 16 I left school. Two years later I moved to Moscow to escape the compulsory army draft. By this time I already painted and sold my pictures, and arranged exhibitions. I precisely decided that I would be an artist, and make art to earn my living.
Moscow was only one city in Russia where I could do only what I wanted and take money in the same time.

What’s the central theme of your work?
Actually I am becoming more and more curious of the beginning of the 20th century, modern, art nuovo as a base for the 60's. The ideas of hippy, psychedelics and LSD had conquered the whole world before I was born. So I know this culture only by movies or posters. In such a case it is possible to take from it only the best and positive things.

What do you consider to be the most important work in your oeuvre?
Probably, I have not created it yet, all my works seem like a final rehearsal.

What makes something to a good piece of art in your eyes?
Good piece of art is what can become classics after some time and looks modern even in half a century. For example, like Citroen DS.
Now people don't see the difference between classics and academy. The same for modern art.

Could you tell us something about your work process? How do you start? How long do you work on it? What mediums do you work in and which one do you enjoy the most?
I produce illustrations mostly with traditional fine art media, sometimes I produce images in Adobe Photoshop using a Mac Mini Intel with Apple Studio Display 23". I am also interested in typography, history of type, and calligraphy. Recently I started creating my own typefaces in FontLab and find this amazing. For the last 10 years I have got a really valuable experience -- particularly what I learned in Russia, Italy and France is useful now in Holland. The most important thing -- finally I can work in hard conditions and create high-quality things on any hardware. I can use a 6 years old PowerBook or working in Internet-cafe without any professional software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also can work 14-15 hours a day without weekend month by month.

In what way do you use the Internet? What role does the computer play in your work?
Unfortunately I waste too much time on computer and the Internet particularly. I would be great to live without the network, but it is impossible, because a lot of my clients and friends are in Canada, Australia, France or Russia.

Computer or Ink?
Ink of course!

Concept or Intuition?
Concept, especially if I am going to sell it.

If you had an unlimited budget and all the time you needed. What would you do?
Military tailoring in Byelorussia.

What inspires you?
For the last three years I've been living without a passport. I've been using the credit cards of my girlfriend and can actually travel for free because there is no much passport control inside of Europe. Maybe it looks crazy, but it is my inspiration.

What means or ways do you use to show your work to the world?
Printed and online magazines and my website as well.

How do to you keep your knowledge up to date? Do you spread your knowledge at universities, conferences or workshops and so on?
I read a lot of books, magazines mostly about contemporary art, graphic design and typography. I have got a large collection of rare albums, posters and magazines of 60's and 70's.
I'm not sure about conferences or workshops, sure, it's great... Sometime I just use ICQ to exchange knowledge with people.

Who is your favorite artist/designer? Why?
I started my career in early 90's as a graphic designer I was inspired by David Carson and his amazing "RayGun" and "Beach culture" magazines.

Which project or website would you like to have made, or make?
Online-store with russians illustrators, photographers and type designers. I know many gifted artist, but they never think about selling their artwork through the web. Mostly, because PayPal or other paying systems don't work in Russia.

Final words?
I would like to return to Belarus and restore my passport there. I have not done this earlier because these years I was afraid of the compulsory army draft. I also don't accept the political situation in my country - prosecution of the opposition and Human Rights Infringement. ?>