Behind the Artist: Slava Ilyayev
Slava Ilyayev not only respects his trade as an artist, he submits himself to it.
In Ilyayev’s studio, it’s just himself, his tools, and his subject—imparting a true vision of artistic togetherness. The result is equally gracious and unquestionably beautiful—viscous oil paint, a symphony of color, and the intrigue of romance.
Ilyayev was born in 1970 in Baku, Azerbaijan, a former state of the U.S.S.R., and immigrated to Israel 25 years later. Though Ilyayev began to explore his artistic talents in his native country, Israel propelled the artist to heights of international acclaim. Ilyayev refined his creative skills at the renowned Avni Institute of Art and Design in Tel Aviv, paralleling the development of fellow Park West Gallery artists and peers Itzchak Tarkay, Mark Kanovich, and Yuval Wolfson.
For more insight on Slava Ilyayev, below are three details highlighting his practice and person.
A Career in Motion
Ilyayev began to exhibit his artwork in 1999, and notably premiered at the Safrai Fine Art Gallery in Jerusalem and the Art and Sculpture Union in Tel Aviv. Since then, the expressive painter has exhibited throughout Israel, Turkey, Spain, Singapore, and across the United States, including Artexpo New York 2011.
Ilyayev also endeavors to teach fine art in his spare time throughout academies in Israel, highlighting the artist’s commitment to arts education and awareness.
The notion of togetherness and intimacy is essential toward understanding not only Ilyayev’s founding philosophy, but also his winsome subject matter. Although his autumnal colors and meandering pathways suggest the weight of change, he founds his imagery in the reward of affection and the nostalgia of a moment.
Often portraying couples walking onward in stride, Ilyayev shelters the bounties of love underneath terraces and the cover of umbrellas. To Ilyayev, love is the answer.
Painting in Process
Ilyayev’s signature, elevated texture is enabled by his tool of choice: the palette knife. Renowned for his striking landscapes and adept understanding of color and perspective, Ilyayev recharges the modern imagination with the power of simplicity. Inspired by post-Impressionist Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, Ilyayev paints with integrity and authority.
In his studio, Ilyayev revealed to Park West that his technique is comprised of three essential stages. He first creates a flat composition with a base color to establish a cohesive color palette. Afterwards, he begins to thickly layer on paint and adds graphic elements using a small paintbrush and black paint. An Ilyayev painting culminates with the addition of more swathes of paint, color, and texture.
As a testament to the complexity of his practice, Ilyayev’s artwork can take upwards of a year to fully dry.