I received an unexpected comment on my website a few weeks ago. My uncle Nick who I have not seen or heard from since I was about 7 or 8 years old maybe, found my website because we had just become facebook friends.
A bit of background: due to some unfortunate circumstances surrounding my mom’s side of the family, I had lost touch with my aunts and uncles after I had moved to California when I was 10. For whatever reason, my mom disclosed to me that my aunt Kathy was living out in Las Vegas. So the summer after I turned 19, I decided to take a road trip out there and visit.
During that time, I also got in touch with my other aunt and some other family members who I had not had any contact with since I was in single digits. So since then, I have been back on the map, as it were, and though the comment was unexpected, it was very welcome.
Another fun fact about my family is that my great grandfather Daniel Chetverikoff was an artist by profession. He traveled with the Russian Opera painting scenery backdrops and then eventually made it to San Francisco where he lived painting advertisements for Pacific Bell telephone company and cigarette companies. When we first moved to California, we lived at his house in San Diego where he had an actual art studio. I spent loads of time in there going through all of his old art supplies, sometimes trying my hand at projects, but (as a 12-year-old) mostly succeeding in making a mess and misusing tools. I am now much wiser in this regard.
According to many sources, I am the only one who seems to show the same affinity for painting that my grandfather did. Although, I remember very clearly, grandpa Dan harshly criticizing my work in high school, I am not bitter about it. He was a perfectionist and I can totally understand that. Our art is very different, but we pursue it with the same zeal. He was not easy to please, but thankfully it did not deter my practice, and here I am!
Background aside, I thought it would be nice to do a painting for my uncle and share my talents with the family (I feel arrogant saying that, but I’m saying it anyway). My uncle mentioned that he has a lot of deep red and gold in his house. He also lives in Palm Springs, so my main inspiration for this piece was the desert and the sun. It was a complete creation on the spot. I didn’t really have much of a plan. I painted the circle and just went from there. In about 4 days I had the painting that you see here.
He also said that I could do whatever I liked so long as my signature was clearly visible. Let’s hope (for both of us) that one day it will actually be worth something.