Eugene Kaspin's paintings sing with joy and freedom.
Freedom to paint what he sees all around him-sun-drenched, bustling streets... ancient buildings... the quirks of city life... bobbing boats in a sunny harbor. Freedom to paint in his own unique style. Freedom to be who he is: a passionate artist whose eye-restlessly explores the world around him.
Eugene knows how precious that freedom is. When he was a small boy in the town of Kovrov, near Moscow, he watched as his family discouraged his older brother Nel from pursuing an art career. When Nel left. home at 16 to become an electrical engineer, Eugene found a drawing in Nel's room that moved him,deeply, a seascape with jagged rocks, rolling water, a mysterious obelisk. Nel also left behind a collection of postcards that opened up a new world to Eugene: paintings by Soviet, French, and Italian artists.
Eugene knew that he would not allow himself to be persuaded to give up this fantastic world. He would pursue freedom.
But many years later, after he had graduated from the prestigious Moscow Academey of Art and established himself as a respected painter of murals and frescoes in government buildings, political posters and advertising art, Eugene still had not attained freedom. He wanted to paint in different, styles, those forbidden by the state. He wanted to visit the fabulous cities depicted in the French and Italian paintings.
He talked with his wife Raya, a geologist, and they decided that to find freedom they must leave the Soviet Union.
In 1985 Eugene's dream came true. On his way to America, he traveled through the Italy,of his brother's postcard painting. He was intoxicated with freedom, with sunlight, with the colorful plazas-full of smiling people, with the architectural beauty of the ancient buildings. Every day he wandered the streets with his paints and canvas, waiting for hours until just the right light streamed down onto the greys and golds of the well-worn stone and marble, passionately painting, painting, painting in an ecstatic state. Freedom at last.
When Eugene and Paya arrived in Los Angeles later this year, other Soviet immigrants who had been in America for some time advised Eugene to give up art and find a more practical new profession. Perhaps he could pursue art as a hobby, they said.
But Eugene came to America to find freedom, not to give it up. "I would rather die than stop being an artist," he told Raya. And she knew he was telling the truth. They would find a way to survive somehow. Obsessed with the fascinating and colorful street life he saw every day in the new city around him, Eugene painted day and night in their tiny apartment.
When Eugene and Raya had been in Los Angeles a-few months, they were invited to a birthday party. As they had no money, Raya asked Eugene to paint a painting as their gift. But when she came home from work at II in the evening, Eugene had forgotten the, time, passionately involved in another painting. There were harsh words, tears. Raya went to bed.
She was astonished when she awakened the next morning to see a beautiful new painting waiting for her. Eugene had stayed up all night finishing, his own painting and creating a second for her gift.
In 1986 Eugene was ready to show his paintings. Their unique passion and energy was quickly discovered. His work was at the Howard E, Morseburg Galleries in Los Angeles and Solvang. He was invited to participate in the Third Cosmopolitan Art presented by Cosmopolitan Artists Association in 1987. Exhibit.
Eugene lives in Los Angeles with his wife Raya and their two children Diana, 16, and Igor, 5.