100 Creatives 2013: Valentina Kisseleva, Painter

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Moscow-born painter Valentina Kisseleva has a little difficulty putting a name on her style of work. "My style is different now than it was 10 years ago. I've been moving away from Social Realism and creating a new style," she tells us in a thick Russian accent. "It's my own style. I like a lot of artists from the past; I was always inspired by artists like Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, but I don't follow the style of these artists exactly. I like to create something new, so it's my style."

Just a few days before the opening of her latest local exhibit, "Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream," Kisseleva tells us she hopes her paintings "talk" to viewers.

"I like to consider my work as visual poetry; I want to provoke emotive reactions. It's more bright colors and more emotional. I use a lot of lines, a lot of shapes. I like to show that a painting isn't only silent, it can talk about something, make a noise, make music."

The "Midsummer Dream" exhibit, slated for a four-month run at the Russian Cultural Center, is a collection of work she's completed over the last five years. Kisseleva had another exhibit last January based on the same body of work. "A few of those paintings have already been sold, so I added a few new pieces. It won't be the same exact show."

What She Does: "I'm an fine art artist. I have two degrees in art. One is in fine art, one is in graphic design. What I'm working on and showing in the exhibit at the [Russian Cultural Center] is fine art."

What Inspires Her: "When artists start to do a painting, they have different reasons, different ways. For me, what inspires me is a strong [experience], most often in real life. For example, I did a painting of a comet. I saw a comet and the fire coming from the tail. That inspired me to do a painting.

"Other times a good movie or a good song inspires a feeling in me and that feeling eventually becomes a painting. Colors inspire me, too."

Why She Likes It: "I like to express myself, to share my feelings and ideas with other people.

"Artists don't need to talk a lot. The paintings should talk with the viewer. That way the viewer can have their own response, whatever it is. Maybe it's what I think about when I'm working on the painting, but maybe not. Both ways, it's fine."

If Not This, Then What: "I would probably be a writer. I like to write." Kisseleva has already published one memoir and has another one planned.

If Not Here, Then Where: Asked where else she might like to live at this point in her life, Kisseleva laughs, "On planet Earth? Or somewhere in the galaxy? On Earth, I would like to live where there's more art, like Paris or Italy. I visit Italy and was so impressed with it; it's a beautiful country."

What's Next: The exhibit "Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream" opens at the Russian Cultural Center December 20 and runs through March. After that, Kisseleva says she has another exhibit at the Houston Public Library planned. Unlike "Midsummer Dream," which is made up of work she completed in the last five years, the planned exhibit will feature older works.

"In the past I painted scenes of people who survived the Communist era in the Soviet Union; some of them my family members, some people I knew."

There's an opening reception for "Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream" at 7:30 p.m. December 20. The artist will be in attendance. Regular gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Through March 7. Russian Cultural Center Our Texas, 2337 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-395-3301 or visit the center's website. Free.

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).\

Michael Wooten, painter Shawn Hamilton, actor Matt Adams, digital artist and independent curator Gilbert Ruiz, artist Dionne Sparkman Noble, choreographer and professor Lee Wright, artist Vic Shuttee, comedy writer and performer Robin Davidson, poet and translator Jessica Wilbanks, essayist and Pushcart Prize winner David DeHoyos, astronaut photographer Sophie Jordan, bestselling book author Jessi Jordan, comic artist, beekeeper and yeti enthusiast Patrick Peters, architect and professor Jamie Kinosian, visual artist Paris F. Jomadiao, mixed-media artist and stop motion animator Shanon Adams, dancer James Glassman, Houstorian historian and artist Lou Vest, photographer Sara Gaston, stage and screen star Rachael Pavlik, a writer mom Ana Villaronga-Roman, Katy Contemporary Arts Museum director Erin Wasmund, actor, singer and dancer Karim Al-Zand, composer Jan Burandt, paper conservator for The Menil Collection Deke Anderson, actor Craig Cohen, hockey fan and host of Houston Matters Mauro Luna, Poe-Inspired photographer Trond Saeverud, Galveston Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor Khrystyna Balushka, paper flower child Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown Gin Martini, fashion designer Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor Homer Starkey, novelist Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer Erica DelGardo, metalsmith Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter Drake Simpson, actor Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer David Matranga, actor Crystal Belcher, pole dancer Daniel Kramer, photographer Blue 130, pin-up explosion art Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker David Wilhem, light painter Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster Browncoat, pin-up pop artist Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist Vincent Fink, science fashion Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer Sameera Faridi, fashion designer Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre Outspoken Bean, performance poet Barry Moore, architect Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer

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