Veronica Winters is one of those rare professionals who can paint stunning beauty with near perfection. Her precise, colorful, and highly imaginative style often leaves the viewer speechless. It isn’t easy, nowadays, to find an artist that is still following in the footsteps of the Old Masters and is putting in the time to create works of truly fine contemporary art. For this reason, right before the International Women’s Day, The World Art News is pleased to publish Part 1 of our Exclusive Interview with Veronica, so without further ado, let’s begin!
Can you tell our readers about your childhood, family, and the environment you grew up in? Were you an artistic child?
I grew up in the former Soviet Union and left the country in the late 90s during the economic and social unrest. While I was creative and enjoyed writing short stories and sketching as a child, my interests were not encouraged or pursued as something special. We lived in a suburb of Moscow and my parents always loved the culture of the city. So we did go to ballet performances, exhibitions and theatre. I can’t say it had a direct impact on me but I know it was different from other families in town. In middle school we had textbooks on math and other sciences with a few pages on the back dedicated to Russian art. There were illustrations of famous paintings done by the late 19th century painters of the Itinerants movement among others. I loved looking at those pages instead of the mathematical formulas.
In order to be considered to study art in college after high school graduation, I had to go to art school for children that was a 6 or 7 year afterschool program. I didn’t have a chance to be immersed into the arts back then, therefore when the time came to pick a college, art was out of the question. I felt a deep disconnect inside me but I had no choice. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents by defying their decision. So I went to a business college.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I started dabbing in the arts when I was out of college and immigrated to the US. I was pregnant and I spent my afternoons at the community college taking a couple of art classes to feel less lonely. This was the time when I began to feel passionate about art. I took many art classes at the community college and outgrew it at some point. This is when I decided to go for a bachelor’s degree in studio art and I eventually received my master’s degree from Penn State.
How would you describe your art style and how long did it take you to master it?
My art style literally took a lifetime to arrive at because I kept creating art in progression of my inner growth and influences around me. I used to be a still life painter and I think I painted almost every subject and tried every medium I could painting from life and imagination, searching for that perfect combination to satisfy my need for creation of realist art. When I began oil painting in my early twenties, there were no schools teaching realistic painting and it took me many years to get the skill going learning and unlearning things. Nowadays we do have many choices as realist ateliers are popping up around the country. After getting my master’s degree I also took many workshops and summer classes in New York at the Grand Central Academy and the Art Students League of New York. I took some private lessons in Florida with a couple of realist artists later in life.
As far as the subject goes, my art style has evolved over the years. I always loved surreal imagery as my first influences were Magritte and Dali. I’ve embraced numerous artists since then and arrived at a place in my career where I don’t find a direct influence of famous artists, rather I connect to myself- thoughts and emotion to create imagery that I enjoy painting. I always want to say something with my work and that’s why I use symbols and color to describe my ideas and feelings. I search for the unique symbols that are not overused or kitschy, designing my drawings. I can say that my artistic style is a blend of visionary art and realist figure painting.
Was it difficult to become a fulltime artist and what risks, challenges or setbacks did you have to face in your art career?
Everyone is worried if it’s possible to make money as an artist. I think it’s harder psychologically than financially. It’s difficult to withstand the indifference and rejection because it takes a long time to develop as an artist. This profession can’t be compared to getting a degree in accounting and begin working as such. It takes much longer to understand yourself and get the skill going to express it in art fully. Families can be different too. It’s much harder to keep going when you’re not supported or encouraged to do what you really like. I also think that financial stability depends on the artist’s personality. For example, I’m a teacher by nature and I found that organization and teaching was my forte. I had a stable teaching practice in my studio pre-covid and I saw that other artists couldn’t achieve that. Artists who are extraverts do great in sales of art because it’s natural to them to talk to people to find new venues, support and opportunities to show their work. One of my major challenges is communication. My art is not mainstream and often misunderstood locally as I live in Florida among the retired, I find it extremely difficult to connect to people who would love my work. So I try to do international outreach to compensate for that.
What makes your art unique?
I think it’s my unique sense of color and symbolism that differentiates me from everyone else. It’s not mainstream and often rejected but I find my work authentic to me just like writing a biography.
What is your favorite or most exotic artwork?
My favorite work is yet to be created. When I work on a new painting, I’m all in. I’m so involved and excited and think that it’s going to be my masterpiece. When I’m done I find places in it that I feel I can improve or do differently. So I never reach that state of perfection or favoritism.
PART 2 of our Exclusive Interview with Veronica Winters
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