Vladislav Yeliseyev, founder of Renaissance School of Art, is a vivid art educator, artist and architectural illustrator. Mr. Yeliseyev received his formal art education in 1977 and later earned his Master’s Degree at The Moscow Institute of Architecture. He is very passionate to share his tremendous expertise with the community and to raise the skills of the young and amateur artists to the professional level in order to build their confidence and higher level of self-expression. He adopted academic approach of teaching classical drawing techniques in his classrooms.
Can you please inform us what influences you to be an artist?
Actually, the creative process itself it the most interesting influence. If the final result is a success, it is an added bonus which inspires and persuades me to make further progress until I complete the subject. Then another artistic subject arises and the process repeats itself.
I understand you’re educated from the Moscow School of Arts as well as the Moscow School of Architecture. What brought you here, and what keeps you in this area?
I emigrated from Soviet Union to the United States in 1989 for political reasons. At the same time I realized how such a great, vibrant and free American society can be for creative and individual with a good quality education. I earned my Master Degree in Fine Art and Architecture and I was fortunate to then merge my skills in the architectural illustration business which I started in 1992 in New York. Now 20 years later, my wife Marina and I founded Renaissance School of Art in Sarasota. The purpose of the school is to share my knowledge and tremendous experience with the community, and to raise the skills of the young and amateur artists to the professional level.
Has living in this part of the world impacted your current work?
It is hard to say what really influences my work because we are being shaped by many factors. One thing I know for sure is that I try to resist the urge to commercialize my fine art work. The urge to sell or please the public jeopardizes artist creativity tremendously.
Would you please give us a brief summary of your process of your architectural paintings?
I work with architects and architectural companies across the country on a wide range of projects. For the last 20 years I have painted thousands of watercolor illustrations for various commercial, residential and government projects such as Red Cross, Universities, Hospitals, etc. I start with architectural plans and elevations. Basically I trace the model on watercolor paper, add people, cars, trees, etc. and start painting it as if it was an artwork. Architects provide me with the samples of exterior materials and I imagine the rest. The ultimate goal is to bring “dead” digital images produced by architects to life. Recently I found that working with 3-D computer generated models saves a lot of time in this process.
Does your process vary between your architectural paintings and your fine art paintings?
Architectural illustration has many restrictions in order to simultaneously show the necessary architectural details while capturing the surrounding atmosphere of the new project. In addition to that, the mood should be light and optimistic. Despite these roadblocks, I paint my illustrations in a relaxed techniqu. Obviously, there are no issues like that in fine art. Color palette and mood comes naturally when dealing with fine art.
Can you explain why you choose to work in watercolors for your architectural work, and acrylic for your fine art, as opposed to other mediums?
Actually, it is not my choosing. Architectural illustrations have historically used watercolors. The reason is the luminosity of rendered watercolor images and archiving easiness for architects. Imagine having 2-5 stretched acrylic canvasses in addition to the albums of architectural documentation necessary for a typical architectural project.
What are your thoughts on contemporary art?
Well, where do I start?….
We really have a lot of contemporary, but can you show me the art? I think that the most of contemporary art will not survive the test of time. The vast majority of it is either fashion trends or just exploitation of WOW factor.
When did you decide you wanted to teach? Can you tell us about your school?
Imagine the reader without knowledge of alphabet, the musician without knowledge of notes. Can somebody explain to me how you draw a portrait or nude model without knowledge of three things: composition, proportion and perspective? I would like to stress that nobody needs talent to learn these things as nobody needs a talent to learn alphabet and music notes. While this area has an abundance of art societies, colleges and clubs, I don’t see any fundamental art education programs.
Learning how to draw is a process that never ends. We are offering classes in drawing for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. We would like to build and grow our school community to have our student’s progress to their highest level of drawing and painting so that they can freely express their creative ideas without stumbling to the question how to do it.
Our approach is to focus on the traditional classical method of drawing. With the academic approach, we analyze the form and break any shape into forms — cones, cylinders, prisms etc. We teach how to build the form from inside out. In this case it is really easy to draw anything without resorting to tricks.
This year will be the first year for our art school. Our mission is to help the next generation of artists build strong foundations in classical drawings. We also endeavor to provide high school students with strong technical and artistic skills needed for admission to the top art schools. Despite that we live in a digital world, drawing skills is still the necessity to make great digital art! Digital art should start with a piece of paper, and then be moved into the computer for manipulating.
Has your school, and being a teacher, influenced your fine art work?
I feel a responsibility when teaching a group of students, which leads me to revisit technical literature for the preparation of each class. Surprisingly I find that reviewing many of these technical aspects useful for my own art. In other words it gives me inspiration and further knowledge which I can apply to my art.
What would you like the future of your school to be?
I would like it to be responsible for artistic success of our students. For any teacher the student success is a huge reward. We would like to grow and mature together with our students and become a part of Sarasota’s vibrant art community. We are adding new programs and workshops constantly and planning on getting accreditation from NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design).
What do you wish for your current and future students?
I wish they will gain confidence in drawing and painting and enjoy the creative process. They need to learn how to be patient and develop their skills in the right direction which will make their life in art more productive.
Renaissance School of Art