ARTIST INTERVIEW

Sculptures

Realistic art that draws you to touch and feel it with your fingertips

Alexandr Karat Interview Main Image

Interview by: Beata Piechocka

Sculpture is not a fixed-term, it is the name of an art that grows and changes and is continually extending the range of its activities and evolving new kinds of objects. Today we are interviewing a very talented artist from Russia – Alexandr Karat.

Take backstage and understand one of Europe’s most talented young sculptors as he invites us into his universe.

Name: Alexandr Karat

Country: Russia

Profession: Sculptor

Nationality: Russian

Born: 1982

Art direction: Realistic Modern Art

Beata Piechocka: You could say that your love for the sculpture was inherited through the mother’s milk. Your parents are sculpture professors. I imagine that your home was steeped with art. Was the decision of becoming a sculptor your independent decision, or was it the inheritance of the profession that passed down from generation to generation in your family? If not parents, would you be someone else now?

Alexandr Karat: Without a doubt, the love of sculpture was passed on to me from my parents, from the age of 5 I began to pick up clay myself and make different crafts out of it, by the way, my love for creativity passed on to my son as well (he is also 5 years old now), he sculpts dinosaurs from cartoons and they turn out to look very cool.

To say that my house has been imbued with art, that’s putting it mildly. Objects of art were everywhere, wherever possible, standing, hanging and laying (my mother is still engaged in painting). As a small child, I was always taken to different cities when my parents had orders of major monuments. I can say that since childhood I started to participate in the creative process.

The decision to become a sculptor came to me after graduating the art school. The decision was independent. Parents were rather dissuading me from doing art because it is a difficult speciality. By profession, I am a restorer. I was always surrounded by the environment associated with sculpture at home and at work. Unfortunately, the “sculptor” is a very difficult profession in the modern world, so I became active with sculpturing only in recent years.

My parents certainly helped me in learning sculpture, but I as well, in any free time I had, went to study Greek, classical, and modern sculpture in museums of our city, for example, such as the Hermitage in Russia. For the last three years I have been actively studying anatomy, I can say I am falling asleep with books in my hands, especially when I am creating some new sculpture. For me, creating a new sculpture is a very laborious process. I am a very demanding person, I like to bring everything to an ideal state, it’s hard, but I can’t do it in another way.

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Alexandr Karat is in his workshop
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BP: Which art direction is the closest to you and why?

AK: Unrivaled Greek art. I love the “Laocoon” sculpture, it’s just a masterpiece for me. In my opinion, only the great Michelangelo approached the real Greek sculpture in his works of art.

Laocoon And His Sons
Laocoön and his sons.

The Laocoon Group, also called Laocoon with sons, is an ancient Greek sculpture, one of the more well-known and at the same time one of the most controversial sculptures.

The sculpture was found accidentally in 1506, while working in the vineyard located on Esskwilin. It was bought by Pope Julius II.

The Laocoon Group has undergone numerous renovations and was pieced together. During these works, the original layout of the sculpture was violated – the figure of the younger son was moved about 15° to the left. On the other figures were changed hands also because e.g. the arm of Laocoon was missed. In 1798, the Napoleonic army exports the sculpture as the war spoil to Paris. In 1815 Laocoon returns to the Vatican again. It is currently in the Vatican Museums.

Italian architect Giuliano da Sangallo, who lived during the discovery of the sculpture, recognized in the monument the work described by Pliny, who mentioned three sculptors from Rhodes: Agesandera and his sons, Polidor and Atenador. To this day, however, it is not known who is the actual author of the sculpture. There are also arguments for the fact that the author of the sculpture is Michał Angel himself.

What does the Laaokona Group represent? The topic is related to the myth of Laookon and his sons, who were killed by sea snakes. Myth is described in II Eneid. Laookon (Laokos), was a priest, Appolino, committed a profanation by marrying Anitope and procreated two sons. He was in Troy during the Trojan battle. While Laaokon and his sons made sacrifices to Poseidon, two sea snakes crawled out of the sea and killed the three of them. It was the revenge of the god Appolina.

The composition consists of three stages of history. The first of the sons on the right represents the beginning of the action. The Laokoon in the centre symbolizes a desperate struggle for survival in the face of inevitable death. His youngest son is already dead and represents the end of the action.

What impresses in this sculpture is dynamic composition, realism in the presentation of anatomy as well as the entire psychology of emotions. The group has been and is an inspiration for many artists, including writers and painters. One asteroids was named after Laocoon.

BP: What do you think distinguishes your style from the styles of other sculptors’ style?

AK: In my sculptures, I try to modernize classical art using dynamics, plastic, anatomy, image and careful study of details. I try to put some meaning in my work through the composition.

BP: It can be seen in your sculptures that you pay a lot of attention to the true body anatomy. Won’t it be a mistake for me to say that you are fascinated with the human body, its proportions, the way the muscles function and move?

AK: I truly admire the beauty of our body! This is just a miracle and the more I study, the more I wonder at the harmony of our body structure.

BP: Do you work with a live model when creating a sculpture or do you use other technical help, eg; anatomical models?

AK: It always turns out differently, it’s best to work with a live model, of course, but most of the time I work with anatomical models, I have several gypsum models of the Houdon sculptor. I recommend these models to all artists as the best anatomical 3D models.

BP: Where do you get inspiration for your sculptures from?

AK: Probably in observing the things happening around me. The artist always develops his vision of the world. I watch my son play and see movement and an image for a possible future sculpture, or watching ballet for example, where almost all movements are the finished sculptures. You just have to look carefully around. I can say the same about reading books.

BP: If you were to point out the sculptors who influenced your artistic development and the way you sculpt, whom would you name or allocate?

AK: I study Greek sculpture, so I will name the works of Etienne Maurice Falconet, Antonio Canova, Michelangelo. I would also single out the English sculptor Edward Lanteri — his book helped me a lot in learning sculpture and of course, my sculptor parents.

BP: With some of your sculptures, you provide information that they are a version of a sculpture that was made to order, e.g.; Museum. This happened in the case of a “Boy With a Bucket” artwork. Can you tell us the story of this sculpture?

AK: I admired the plasticity of the movement of this sculpture and offered to perform it for the museum to order and the museum agreed. The sculptures were made of bronze, as gifts for dear guests.

BP: I would like our readers to understand how hard is the work you do. Not everyone is aware of the number of stages you go through when making a bronze sculpture. If I’m not mistaken it goes like this:

  • Sketch in clay
  • Construction for the right sculpture, e.g. in metal and wood
  • Creating the right model in clay on this construction
  • Cover the model with silicone mass
  • Removing of silicone – in this way a silicone form is created
  • Pouring hot wax into the silicone mold….it is a lot!

Can you describe the next stages?

Boy With Bucket Preparation Stage
Boy With Bucket Preparation Stage
Boy With Bucket Nearly Finished Wax Model
Boy With Bucket Nearly Finished Wax Model
Boy With Bucket Finalized Bronze Sculpture
Boy With Bucket Finalized Bronze Sculpture

AK: Yes of course. The finished wax castings are drawn from silicone and a very complex waxing treatment begins.

The next stage is the manufacture of a ceramic mold according to a wax model followed by the firing of the mold in a kiln.

The wax during firing is melted down and the ceramic mold for bronze pouring remains.

After casting the bronze, the whole process of chasing, welding, grinding is performed and so the process can be repeated several times until the desired result is obtained.

For me, a very valuable composition “The Lion King” for example, was chasing during the whole month practically without any days off, and for 8-10 hours of work every day. During this time, you can make a new sculpture. So this is a very complicated and costly process.

BP: I am sure you will agree that sculpturing is a huge job. Why have you decided to work with this technique?

AK: Classic art is closest to me, I understand that it will always be difficult for me with my technique among the great sculptures of antiquity. But I hope that I am doing something unique, modern, and on my own, as firstly and above all, I want to make my sculptures look beautiful and original.

BP: What is most difficult for you in creating a sculpture? – To find an idea? Or complete the process of transferring the idea into clay or other above-mentioned stages?

AK: I have a lot of ideas for creating sculptures. Unfortunately, there is not always enough time and money to implement them. The most difficult thing for me is transferring the idea into clay, an example is the “The World is Theater” sculpture, I molded the hands for four days, I molded one wrist in one day and spent three more days with another. It was difficult as the gestures of the hands did not come up the way I intended. What you now see in the end result of this sculpture is the work I sought with love and patience.

BP: Is the bronze alloy you use made for your special order or is it a typical casting alloy?

AK: This is a typical cast alloy. Bronze is a durable alloy consisting mainly of copper. Zinc, lead and other components are also added to the alloy. Bronze is widely used in all spheres of life: for the manufacture of dishes, medals, plaques, sculptures.

As early as 3 millennia BC,  bronze vessels and sculptures were already poured in Mesopotamia. Nowadays this art form is no less popular now than thousands of years ago.

BP: We, at the BeArte Gallery, are intrigued to see the sculpture “The World is Theater”. It is amazing. Great anatomy, silhouettes, gesture, allegory. Can you tell something more about this sculpture?

AK: It is going to be bronze sculpture and covered with an exclusive patina, it will be a limited edition. Each copy will be exclusive. For each sculpture, I plan to make a coating of a different color.

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Alexandr with the finished "Lion King" sculpture
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"Lion King"
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BP: In the BeArte Gallery you present a few sculptures for sale. Am I right that these are just examples and the completed sculptures will be made for the time of a specific order? Can you explain to our readers the process of ordering sculptures from you?

AK: You can make any sculpture to order from photographs and copies of famous sculptures including, of course, you need a lot of photos (face, profile, etc. if it’s a person), it will be even better if there is a video provided. At first, everything is molded in clay, even if the sculpture is ordered from marble. The clay sculpture is approved by the customer and it can be made of practically any material. All terms and cost are negotiated with the customer in advance.

The works “Nika” and “Antonina” are put up for sale, they are full-scale sculptures in small sizes. I always make a sketch before starting a large sculpture, it is easier to find an image and a form for it and you can always change the inaccuracies. These sketches are finished sculptures with high detail and elaboration. In the future, I will increase these small works, with my modifications, to a large size. The price depends on the size of the sculpture.

BP: You are still a very young artist at the beginning of your career. What are the problems with which you as a young person come across professionally?

AK: So far, everyone around, only supporting, trying to somehow help. I am very pleased with such support and I hope everything is still ahead.

BP: In the western market, you are still a young artist not fully well known. Can you encourage in a few words our visitors from around the world to buy your works? Why do you think they should possess your artworks?

AK: I hope that my works will embellish the lives of people and foster a good taste and understanding of all the beauty and complexity of realistic art.

BP: What are your career plans for the future?

AK: I am now in the bloom of my creative power, I want to surprise everyone with my new sculptures and I am sure that I can create sculptures of any complexity. The main thing that my art is stay needed.

BeArte Gallery wishes you to fulfill your dreams and thanks you for the interview.

The World Is Theater
The World Is Theater
Antonina
Antonina

Watch other sculptures by Alexandr Karat

Alexandr Karat Transformation
Sculptures and reliefs
13.5 × 14 × 51 cm
Alexandr Karat Nika
Sculptures and reliefs
15 × 17 × 41 cm
Alexandr Karat The World Is Theater
Sculptures and reliefs
20 × 22.5 × 60 cm
Alexandr Karat Antonina
Sculptures and reliefs
13.5 × 16 × 31 cm

About the Author:

I am a co-owner of BeArte Gallery, art marketspace based in Denmark. I have an art education and I paint myself. I am also a part-time paint teacher for artists amateurs. Communing with art and contact with the artists is what moves me in life. Without art, my life would be devoid of emotions, higher meanings. I believe that thanks to Art, each of us has a chance to touch an absolute.

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