Behind the Brand with Elvira Pyrkova

Behind the Brand with Elvira Pyrkova

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

Behind the Brand: My Story

Behind the Brand: My Story

Corporate girl turned creative. Mama to 9 year old twins and a 6 year old. Owner of a daft labrador and sedate ginger tom cat. Colour lover creating happy spaces that tell a story. 

So, once upon a time, I was a finance lawyer who then went to work in property finance for a Bank. I wasn’t looking for an out, I didn’t hate going to work. I worked long hours but I loved the buzz of transactional work. 

Then along came my twins. I made the decision to take some time out, adjust to family life. We bought a house, it needed a LOT of work and it became my project. I loved the creativity and the project management. 

I retrained as an Interior Designer and in a now-or-never moment, decided to set up my own interior design practice. It was time to do something different; to challenge myself creatively and put myself in control of my working week. The rest as they say is history and, several years on, here I am. 

I know it’s a story you’ve heard before. Many before me have done the same, and I’m sure many more will follow. But you know what, I love hearing the stories of people that take the plunge, follow their dreams and try to create a life that works for them. 

So what do I love most about my job? 

The creativity, of course, but also the relationships I form with clients. I love helping them fall in love with their homes again, making sure their home reflects who they are and tells their story. I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients; their lifestyle, what they like, how they want their space to feel. Getting this bit right gives me the foundation to build up a design that they really love. It’s really satisfying to see how people start to re-engage with their homes when we’ve updated a space. 

I also love discovering new brands, independent businesses who produce something that little bit different. Finding individual pieces from local artists, or fabrics from smaller designers is really exciting. It helps strengthen the design community, supports smaller businesses and ultimately means that I offer my clients a design with a story.

What have I learnt about running my own business? 

It’s fun, but it’s not always easy. I work bloody hard. And often ridiculous hours. But you know what, it’s my business, my clients and my brand. There’s a balance to be had and admittedly I don’t always get that right. I need to learn to switch off sometimes, but I’m working on it. 

You need to back yourself. Confidence helps, but you need to believe in what you’re doing and know that you’re good at it. Be prepared to promote yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

I was used to being part of a big professional organisation, with all the professional support that goes alongside that. And then it was just me. Retrained, and ready to go. But finding your tribe; a group of supportive business owners is invaluable. It may be on Instagram, it may be a local networking group but finding people in a similar position is really good to help build confidence and offer support. 

What’s next? 

My design practice continues to grow and I have some exciting projects in the pipelines for next year. I’m also working hard on my blog at the moment; I want to share my design knowledge, showcase independent brands I love and also support other creatives wanting to make a career out of their passion.

I’m just putting the finishing touches to a rebrand, which I’m excited to launch later this month. Caroline Ann Interior Design has served me well, but my practice has evolved and grown and it’s time to make sure my brand reflects that. Watch this space…