Russian artist, costume designer and portraitist Elvira Pyrkova is passionate about her work. Observing everything around her for inspiration, and totally absorbed in the process of creating, Elvira has painted since childhood. Her work is vibrant, and evocative. Her use of colour simply stunning. Brimming with thoughts, inspiration and ideas, Elvira is totally engrossed in her work and here she tells me more about her inspiration and what she’s currently working on.

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1/ What was the main driver behind setting up your studio?

I started painting from early childhood. At the age of 12 I was accepted into the Moscow Academic Art Lyceum of the Russian Academy of Arts. When it came to pursue a career, I felt like it was such a natural choice for me, as if fate led me to it. 

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people who have supported my love of drawing and helped me professionally.

In addition to painting, I was always very interested in the history of costume, fashion, cinema, theatre and literature which all helps to shape my work.

2/ What do you love most about your work?

Most of all I’m interested in people. I love to paint portraits and figurative compositions. I look towards nature, art, literate – everything that is beautiful about life – to feed my creativity.

And for me, it’s not only the result that’s important, but also the process. I love collecting material on the topic of interest to me, searching for characters, the right colours and searching for imaginative solutions.

3/ Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by beautiful things in life. Beauty for me is harmony and perfection; something that delights, inspires, captivates, a charming and disarming force.  I am inspired by everything beautiful that feeds me emotionally whether it comes from nature, life itself, art, literature, cinema, theatre…

4/ Describe your work/style in 3 words?

Beauty, style, harmony.

5/ Where’s your favourite place to work?

I find painting in my workshop gives me the most satisfaction.

6/ Do you ever suffer from a “creative block” and, if so, how do you deal with it?

I rarely find myself suffering from a creative block. In fact, I find I have almost the opposite problem – I always have a lot of ideas, which I think through and develop. It often takes a long time before they materialise on canvases.

7/ What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m currently working on a series focusing on horse racing and polo, which are currently exhibited at various galleries and events in the UK and abroad.

I’m very attracted to this particular aspect of British life. It’s an event which has as much social prestige as it does sporting.  Inspired by the fact that this event is simultaneously both sport and fashion show, I love to explore the extravagance and style which comes with it. 

8/ What are you the proudest of? 

My portrait of the great Russian actor Innokenti Smoktunovsky, which became the finalist of the Garrick-Milne Prize competition was exhibited and sold at Christie’s; it is now part of a private collection in Canada. My painting ‘Ladies’ Day at Ascot’ was recently auctioned and exhibited at Bonhams. Living in Mexico, I became the only foreign artist represented in the book ‘Huella entre Milenios’ which featured the work of leading contemporary Mexican artists at the turn of the millennium.

9/ What’s next for your studio?

For some time, I have been working on a series that observes the world of fashion; not only fashion itself but the people who inhabit it:  designers, artists, film stars, rock stars, etc.  I have produced some paintings already which have proved popular and this year, I’ll continue to develop the series.

You can follow Elvira on Instagram @elvira_pyrkova_art