Slava Ilyayev is a master of the palette knife. Ilyayev creates colorful and vivid works that carry on the traditions of Post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh into contemporary times.
The art of Ilyayev immerses viewers in a pleasant world of warmth, energy, and light. His art is exemplified by swathes of color raised above the canvas, resulting in textured compositions that transform nature into an exciting, joyful, and vibrant force.
Ilyayev was born on May 11, 1970 in Baku, Azerbaijan (formerly part of the U.S.S.R.). Ilyayev began studying art in his hometown in 1991, attending the Baku College of Arts. After immigrating to Israel in 1995, he continued his studies at the renowned Avni Institute of Art and Design, an art school located in Tel Aviv.
In 1999, Ilyayev participated in his first major exhibitions, first at the Art and Sculpture Union in Tel Aviv and the Safrai Fine Art Gallery in Jerusalem. More exhibitions followed soon after, and Ilyayev’s artwork received acclaim throughout Israel and the United States.
Ilyayev, his wife, Alexandra, and their children live in Tel Aviv. In addition to painting, Ilyayev teaches art in academies in Israel, an endeavor which he first began in 1998.
Style and Influences
Ilyayev’s work is characterized by elevated textures created by applying oil paints with a palette knife. His compositions, which highlight light and shadow, are reminiscent of the transitions between seasons.
His teachers at the Baku College of Arts belonged to the Apsheron School of Painting, an Azerbaijani art movement that blends eastern and western art traditions. These teachings inspired Ilyayev’s style, and can be observed in his volumetric structure of color. The art of Sattar Bahlulzade, considered the father of Azeri landscape in the 20th century, also played a role in shaping Ilyayev’s art.
Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro and renowned Post-Impressionist Van Gogh heavily influenced Ilyayev’s style. In particular, Van Gogh’s unique vision shapes Ilyayev’s approach to his subjects. Instead of painting what he sees, Ilyayev depicts what he feels.
Drawing heavily on autumnal colors and changing leaves, Ilyayev often depicts rainbow-colored, tree-lined streets and paths through parks. His foregrounds, especially streams and ponds, frequently mimic the strokes of the leaves below as the spectrum of colors leap off the canvas.
Ilyayev’s technique is comprised of three main stages, all of which are completed with a palette knife. He first creates the composition using a blend of colors to build a base layer. He then applies swathes of paint, creating a layered and heavy texture. Finally he sketches and carves the raised paint. Due to the thickly layered paint, Ilyayev’s artwork can take upwards of a year to completely dry.