Salavat is a 42 year old ex-lawyer, originally from Ufa, Russia, near the Ural Mountains. After his law firm went through some big cut backs, art has become his new job. Salavat says “I spend more than 10 hours a day in my home studio, creating miniature sculptures or paintings I like to experiment in different areas of art: photography, painting, drawing, and sculptures. I love to create new ideas, trying new materials, and subjects.”  

When you get a look at the detail in these sculptures as narrow as pencil tips – it’s easy to see how Salavat spends 10 hours a day to create them! 

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m working on a couple of new paintings right now: an oil painting “Ballerina” (60cmx80cm) and the next painting of my series “Rainy City,” on top of that every day I carve sculptures from pencils.

What is your tool of choice?

Maybe my craft knife or my favorite brash: kolinsky sable number 0. I experiment with different tools, but I think I would be happy creating art out of anything.

What can we find you doing when you’re not creating? 

I do a lot of reading, and go to other artist’s exhibitions. I spend a lot of time with my children and wife. When I’m not painting I’m finding ways to promote my work and sell my paintings.

What should we know about your work? 

Each piece is a part of my soul, I use my art to communicate. If I have no inspiration or no message, I can’t create. Without my art there is no way for me to express myself. I don’t have a formal art education, but my parents were both art teachers.  

When do you get most of your painting done? 

I get most of my paintings done late at night when my family is asleep. I’m a total night owl, I’ve been that way all my life. I find myself more productive and it’s way easier to focus at night.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

Sometimes my dreams, sometimes it is the artwork of other artists (such as Vincent Van Gogh). I am inspired by music. I was also inspired by my lovely wife and my children.

What is your process? 

The concept for my paintings or sculptures start to take form while I’m asleep. The next day I am looking for photos and video material, then I make sketches or layouts. When I work with oil on canvas – it’s more emotional and expressive. If I paint acrylic on seeds – it’s hard work and detail oriented. When I carve sculptures from pencils, it’s more meditative.

What do subjects do you normally paint / carve?

My paintings are normally cities at night, strangers walking, a metropolis in transition from day to night. 
My miniature pieces are normally a study of the great masters of art. My sculptures on the pencils are an experiment that I have fun with – I usually carve subjects from movies or comic books

How did you first become interested in miniature carvings?  A while ago, I began to carve out pencils after I was inspired by works of the famous master Dalton Ghetti. I liked creating tiny sculptures on pencils, mostly heroes and cartoon characters. My favorite works are Batman and Darth Vader. I remember I tried for Darth Vader seven times and it was just OK. Some heads of Darth Vader broke during the carving, it took so many tries to get it to the point where I liked it, and now I love it.. Also, I make political sculptures, for example, I devoted the sculptures “Freedom” and “Skull” to the lost artists from Charlie Hebdo magazine.

You can find Salavatand Instagram. If you want to connect to him directly, check out his Facebook.

Interviewer: Rob Green