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Timur Akhriev: Finding Balance in Contrasts

Art in the Blood

Artist Timur Akhriev was born in Vladikavkaz, in the south of Russia to a family of artists—from his mother, father, and up to his step-mother—each one of them had the artistic streak which made Timur’s interest in the craft not all that surprising.

Painting has been a calling ever since he was young. He began painting when he was around nine years old. At this time, he was already living in St. Petersburg with his father’s family. His father was then residing in the US and would visit young Timur once a year. Painting had been one of the things they bonded over as the young artist wanted to spend as much time as he could with his father.

"Revelation" by Timur Akhriev, oil on panel, 2016

The Grooming of an Artist

At the age of twelve, Timur enrolled into Johanson Fine Art Middle and High School where he underwent intensive training for years. The school was heavily influenced by the Repin Institute of Fine Arts and most of the faculty members who taught Timur and his classmates were graduates from the Repin.

"In The Moment" by Timur Akhriev, oil on board, 2012

After studying at the Johanson in Russia and finishing high school, Timur left the country and joined his father and his step-mother in the US where he began studying at the University of Tennessee under their Fine Arts program. In 2005, to further his education, moved to Florence, Italy to study at the Florence Academy of Art and Charles Cecil Studios of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Needless to say, such extensive education provided Tim with the knowledge and experience to pursue art as a career.

"Contender" by Timur Akhriev, oil on linen, 2018
"Dreamer" by Timur Akhriev, oil on linen, 2018

“Having lived through many contrasting formative experiences, I am, as if drawn by gravity, attracted to contrast in my paintings, to things that don’t “work” combined together in an image.”

"Asian Vendors in Florence, Italy" by Timur Akhriev, oil on linen, 2013

Traditional Realism with Contemporary Aesthetics

Timur is very traditional when it comes to his tools, as expected from his training. He often uses bristle, squirrel, synthetic, sable brushes and pallet knives. From time to time, he’d use sponges and paint rollers and you’d often see his work against panels or linen canvases.

"Bliss" by Timur Akhriev, tempera on paper, 2017

His artwork reflects both the traditional art he grew up around and trained with and his experience with concepts in the United States. The way he blends realism with contemporary theories produces pieces that feel reflective of generations past and present as if the creation of the pieces span years in their complexity.

"Into The Open" by Timur Akhriev, oil on linen, 2010

Having had training in different places, travel is considered one of the most important elements in Timur Akhriev’s work. His exploration of culture, fascination with people and their intricacies influence his portraits; certain textures and use of color is vital in telling the subjects’ stories.

"Emergence" by Timur Akhriev, oil on linen, 2016

“I embrace compositional liberty, a love of complex surface qualities, and a freedom to break rules.”

"Emergence" by Timur Akhriev, tempera on paper, 2017

In the end, this balance of contrasts is what gives Timur’s work its own authentic look despite having had learned from traditionalists—it’s his own experiences and mix and match of influences that make his art unique.

All images copyright of Timur Akhriev

You can view more work by Timur on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Kathlene Masilongan

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