Print: MCW x Salavat Fidai

Print: MCW x Salavat Fidai interview

We believe in the importance of showcasing the wealth of talent that sits at our doorstep, by bringing to life the stories of established and emerging creatives across a spectrum of artistic fields. Our mission is to empower, educate and inspire local & international communities to discover and partake in the arts (in whatever capacity). 

We explore the creative beginnings, the processes involved in developing the amazing bodies of works that grace our planet, along with the inspirations that drive the individuals and groups to create what they do. 

In saying this we have expanded our reach and doors to include international artists to gain insight into the creative practises that are occurring throughout the rest of the world. 

With the first of many to come, we have the opportunity to chat with Russian sculptor; Salavat Fidai. Salavat focuses on the craft of miniaturist, micro-sculptures using pencil graphite, moving away from a professional career in Law that spanned over 25 years to begin his journey as a creative. 

“All artists use pencils to make art, I create unique art from the pencil”.

– Salavat Fidai

At what age did you recognise your creative talent? 

I started drawing from early childhood. My parents were artists as well.

Initially, however, I did not follow the footsteps of my parents. I received my primary education at the Ufa Art School and decided to stop pursuing art. At the time, I did not believe that it was possible to make a living out of painting, so I decided to become a lawyer. 

In 1995 I graduated from Law University in Ufa and started working as a lawyer in the field of Civil Law. 

Over the next 20 years I worked in various commercial companies in a range of positions. Once I reached my 40s I peaked in my professional career; getting a leadership position at a prestigious company. In December 2012, I decided to quit my executive position in Ufa and went on sabbatical leave to “find myself”. 

I spent my time searching for answers to the questions: ‘Who am I? What is my purpose?’ and so forth.  

During that year I radically changed my lifestyle; from not watching TV to reading a lot of literature on personal development and self-knowledge. I made an attempt to find myself in new fields of activities which included digital marketing, commercial photography and much more.

Where did your interest begin for carving into pencil? 

At the end of 2013, I decided to go back to my forgotten passion. I picked up a brush again and started to explore my creative interests as an artist. Between 2013 and ’14, I experimented with different techniques and materials. 

As a result, a new concept evolved for me, which brought to life the unique miniature art.

Firstly, I made miniature paintings done on pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and grains of rice, as well as copies of Van Gogh’s paintings on matchboxes. 

At the end of 2014, I started toying with a new material; graphite pencils. Between November ’14 and February ’15, I created my first micro-sculptures on pencil tips.

What was the first piece of inspiration or advice that motivated you to ‘create’ within this medium?

Today, there are very few masters of this unique art form. This is due to an extremely intense and time-consuming process. 

Graphite is a very fragile material and the sculptures are exceedingly small (measured in millimeters and even in microns). Graphite micro-sculptures often break while working with them so I view it as a bit of a challenge that I enjoy. 

Briefly describe your process from concept development to completion? 

Тhe process of sculpting is like a meditation for me. I am completely relaxed and in the moment but at the same time very focused. It is a craft that involves constantly being in control at every moment. 

Sculpting is like the cosmos to me and the end of the pencil is like a microcosmos. During this moment in sculpting I understand that the Universe is boundless at both ends.

In saying this, I firstly come up with the theme in my head and begin by sketching it down. Occasionally I will make a clay draft of the sculpture. From here I proceed to sculpt into the graphite.

What material(s) do you use to carve your works?

I use a stereo microscope and a craft knife with replaceable blades. At first, I used Jumbo sized pencils with a rod diameter of 5mm. Now the main material used are regular pencils with a 2 mm rod diameter. I also work with smaller diameters: 0.5 mm and 0.35 mm rods from mechanical pencils.

And where do your themes/subjects derive from?

This comes from my interests in pop culture, movies and comics.

    

 

How long would it take you to meticulously complete a carved artwork?

This varies on the scope, size and difficulty of the works; ranging from anywhere between 12 hours, 2 days or 7+ days.

Where do you source/seek your inspiration from? Who do you consider to be your influences

The Masters; Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.

If you could meet any artist who would it be and why?

Vincent Van Gogh! He is my favourite artist. 

What does ‘creativity’ mean to you?

Self-knowledge and expression of one’s thoughts. It’s my destiny, my way.

What advice would you give upcoming artists?

Do not be afraid of critics. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, experiment a lot and find your unique style.

 

View more of Salavat’s works at; www.salavatfidai.com

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