The king of flowers - Alexander Kramarenko
(Russia - Ryazan / june 2007)
“The art lies on the verge of similarity and difference. Complete similarity isn’t original, but difference is a fraud. There are lots and lots of artificial roses in the world at this minute, you are adding one more. What for? Yours shouldn’t be like others.“
So, meet the master!
- Alexander, tell us please a bit about yourself. What are you?
- I gave 6 years of my impetuous youth to the Soviet Army. 4 years I was a tractor-driver, a shepherd, a sower. I gave 25 years to oil hydraulics. Hundreds of repairs have been done. I was a troubleshooter. Thousands of hours were devoted to translations from English and German. A loader’s job on a central market made me familiar with the broken lives of dozens of people. Many years were also given to classical guitar.
- How has your beaded flowers hobby appeared?
- Now, having become an experienced and calm person, I know for sure what to do. Beaded flowers are the main aim and only enjoyment in my life. The world mustn’t be gray! The rest of my life I’ll spend in the search of beautiful forms, in the endless play of volume and color. Everything that has been before is denied. Now I’m a free gardener who quickly and smartly grows beaded roses. After a long quest a joyful, unearthly way is found.
- Alexander, how long does it take you to create a composition?
- A mid-size rose takes approx. 15 hours. But I make a rose step by step in a few days. At the same time I work at other things. Each rose is different. You are looking for new lines, forms, color. Today I’ve got a real collection of various kinds of roses.
- What is the main factor in creating a composition?
- The search for a compromise and harmony in everything: in the construction, color, form. The aim of art according to Shakespeare is putting a mirror in front of nature or “to measure harmony with the help of algebra” as A.Pushkin said. I often measure real roses with a ruler.
- Alexander, how do the ideas come to you?
- It’s difficult to find the idea of composition. Sometimes it flies down from the heavens as an inspiration. Once I saw a picture by S. Dali “A nude woman is looking at her body at the old age”.
You may place two roses near each other – an old one and a young one. Once I made such composition: ”An American Steve presents Good to Russian children”. The base of the composition is a circle that means grimy grounds, in other words, unbearable Russian reality. The kids from the orphanage are standing around like tiny flowers. Steve as a big flower is in the center. The golden beaded rays from him are running up and down to the hearts of little flowers. Steve has taken this composition to the U.S.A. He said that a hobby of making beads is good for children in their spare time.
- Do you sell your art works?
- My friends and acquaintances buy them. I’ve sold dozens of flower compositions through shops. I’ve got a message that three big roses safely came to Astrañhan. I’ll invite the owner of a bead art gallery to my house during my job. I intend to place some works at her art gallery.
It’s a great pity for me to part with my new works. So now I’m going to create my own collection although my numerous friends are waiting for gifts. For me the last flower always seems to be the best as it has been born in torments. My mistakes upset me. At such moments I give up making flowers, then I correct what’s wrong and rejoice at successful work.
- What is the further fate of your works?
- Once I gave a rose in a tall vase to the Ryazan Art museum. But the museum keeper kept the rose for herself. As for me I’d like to see it safe and sound in a museum window. Another rose and some ox-eye daisies are standing in a big bookshop. Good opinions are coming. Different stories are connected with flowers.
- Oh! How very interesting! Tell us something, please.
- - Once it came to my mind that if you turn people into flowers you’ll be able to create the endless life situations. The main theme is the love between a man and a woman. This is the explanation of the work “The flight to Heavens or Stones in a fire”. The work has been done thanks to Inna Nikitaeva’s sketch.
“He and she – two shabby people – have met by chance thanks to the will of fortune. The power of attraction has appeared. Their love like the fire-flame is dancing around them. They see nothing in the fire. Their bodies and souls are longing for each other. The routine norms and conventions of everyday morals are burning. But dark forces from below are penetrating into the fire, trying to ruin and kill the joy of love and life. These are weak days and authoritative morals. Who will be the winner in the battle of opposites? The stones are not so brilliant because of time and burden. Nevertheless something remains in them that is able to sparkle in the fire’s light. They keep inside the power that will raise them to the blissful heights”."
- Alexander, what other techniques are you fond of?
- I made mosaic pictures from plastic pellets and beads. Everything on the wall is safe. The rest fall down and become broken if they come into rude hands or bad circumstances. Who can count how many “children of mine” have died? But let’s drop this sad theme.
There is one more technique which I have used for a long time. It is epoxy glue that is mixed with artists’ oil color, then I worked with white glue. After drying, the glue turns into a substance that permits it to change forms. It’s a wonderful material for a base of a petal. So, you may create different petal forms and then paint them with help of a brush and artists’ oil color. Besides, it’s possible to add glitter powder, metal strips, colored plastic pellets for making flower compositions.
- What are your creative plans?
- There are a great number of things around us. I choose only those that are important for me. Cosmetic industry gives a great variety of artistic means. There are luminous paints, plastic that changes its color, spray car paints, amazing light emission diodes changing the light by means of a program.
Up to now I’ve not understood how to create the core of a rose. I’m looking for variants. Yesterday a voice from above whispered in my ear that it was good to use a button. So I’m trying it. New lines must come. Earlier I used the beads of different forms, but you may spin the central rose’s petals without beads or buttons. The core of a rose is the main thing in a bud.
This morning I found a glass rose bud and it became a sample. Curved lines are better than straight ones. A curl of hair, eyelashes, spiral line of DNC. Today for the first time I’ve added beads into the rose bud and sprinkled some hair spray for sticking. It came out perfectly! Then I added glitter powder on the spray.
You may lightly paint the beads with a brush. For example, white beaded petals can be added with a bit of pink artists’ oil color.
You may have a look at other works by Alexander Kramarenko at his website:
Interview by Irina Astratenko / June - 2007. .