Tunikov Andrei

We are surrounded by beauty. It is everywhere – in clouds floating in the sky, striking with their intricate forms, in the bends of river seeking its haven, rushing into the sea, in a flying bird supported by warm streams of air.

The whole history of art is reflection of a person's look inside and seeking harmony with the world around. Both these things mean work that requires time, attention, patience and sensitivity.
In my opinion, beauty is created painstakingly, in a verified and accurate manner. Centuries passed honing the evolutionary and natural processes to get what we can observe on the Earth now. Like the stubborn outlines of an old oak on the edge of a rocky cliff showing decades of resistance to the coming wind tell us better than any novel about history and struggle for life. Artist's mission is to come closer to this mystery - the life of living nature where milestones, events and challenges are displayed and recorded. 

A kind of impulse to the beginning of my work was an event that happened twenty years ago.
Having gone fishing in the far northern place, I saw a school of wild salmon seeking to spawn. Its unusually expressive color struck me. Multicolored spots that covered the entire side of the fish settled in an absolutely harmonious ornament which is impossible to invent. These spots, the line of salmon bending suddenly turned something inside me. I suddenly realized that all art and beauty had already been created. It remains only to examine them with your eyes wide open and watch, catch these signals, admiring them, try to capture, leave a trace in your soul as a memento and share this feeling with someone else.

How can one try to repeat this beauty? Canvas? Watercolor? But the sculpture with its voluminous plastics was closer to my temperament. Which material to choose? This decision came by itself - wood. Its warmth, suppleness and natural qualities seemed to be specially created to build a bridge between reality and a modest attempt to repeat it.
Wood is a living interlocutor, it warns in the language of its texture about its strong and weak places while carving, revealing with its very texture secrets of its life – about fierce winters, droughts, storms and quiet years. Its growth rings are similar to the lines of life on the human palm. It remains only to stop, take a closer look, listen and open the door that leads to the secret.

The first works were created in the late nineties. They were fish. Respect for their nature forced me to study their anatomy, way of life, species differences. Without this knowledge, in my opinion, it is impossible to convey their essence. Fish are unique, especially the family of Salmonidae with their nomadic way of life. Overcoming thousands of kilometers during its life, the salmon, following the instinct of reproduction, sets out on a long and dangerous journey to spawn, exactly to the place where it was born from a small egg. It is impossible to imagine, but it is a fact: having traversed thousands of kilometers in the ocean, the fish finds its homeland. The description of such a life full of vicissitudes and dangers is worth of a novel. I do not know how to write a novel. I am a sculptor. And I really want you to see this beauty.

fish-02.jpg

Over the years of work, about ten compositions involving fish have been created. In order to show my works to viewers, I participated in several exhibitions in the USA devoted to woodcarving and three times, from 2003 to 2007, the works were awarded the Best in World title, and People's Choice at Ward World Championships in 2017. However, the format of these exhibitions, oriented at demonstrating the level of wood carving technique, became too small for me. I wanted to expand the semantic component of my works, make them more dynamic, fill them with a new meaning. Thus, there appeared compositions with swimming fish, in which its plastics was brighter from contact with surrounding weed, algae and underwater pebbles.

Another new step was the use of wood with a pronounced texture for making a stand. It began to carry an independent artistic and semantic load. A friend of mine, the owner of an old apple orchard, helped me a lot, allowing me to use his own old trees as a material. How much these trees told me about themselves! And, coming in contact with the painted surface of sculptures, they came to life!

Striving to convey dynamics and character through plastics, I turned to the image of birds and discovered an amazing world of their feelings, full of emotions. Angrily shifted eyebrows, open beak, ruffled neck - these details are capable of conveying characters, psychological conditions.

My choice is migratory birds, such as swans and geese, and predators. They are forced to move around a lot in search of warm places for hunting and propagation. In their plastics, I want to emphasize and express this life path full of discoveries, challenges and victories.
It seems important to me as an artist to reflect all the details of anatomical and physical resemblance to life model. This requires a painstaking everyday work necessary to elaborate all the details of feathers. Although the work on a composition takes a whole year, fulfillment of this task brings me closer, as it seems to me, to the main thing - the completeness of image. Respect for details is the key to respect for the nature. My work cannot have a logical dead end. In an effort to get closer to understanding birds or fish, every new step and mastering various carving techniques open a new door for me. Each new piece of creative success adds some confidence in correctness of my chosen path. First of all, due to the fact that the path of nature's life and my path go alongside.