Not sure what to get that very special someone who has it all or whom you want to really surprise? Or are you wishing for your own portrait or customised artwork? Artist and painter Polina Demidova is busy creating unusual and beautiful, customised, multi-material collage commissions.
Born in Moscow in 1986 in a family of painters, Demidova started painting at an early age and has been active in various artistic fields, including visual illustration. She obtained a master‘s degree in Industrial Design from the State University in Moscow. Since 2008, she has resided in Geneva, Switzerland, working as an independent painter and art instructor.
Demidova began showing her works at regular exhibitions in 2010 in Switzerland, France, Italy and Russia. She has received numerous prizes, including first prizes from the Association of Artists Palette Carouge and a contest organised by the Brachard gallery in Geneva. You also can see her paintings in private collections in France, Russia, Switzerland, the United States and even in Saudi Arabia. Besides her collages, rich in textures and materials as well as carefully selected and personalised symbols, Demidova works in a more traditional technique of oil painting, seeking to preserve the delicate balance between realistic and decorative works.
She is inspired by stained glass windows in the art nouveau style and does not hide her admiration for Klimt, Schiele, Hodler, Morris, Hockney or Beardsley in any of her works. Demidova remains in awe of the beauty of Swiss landscapes, visible through her works which show mountains, lakes and fields. Demidova began her customised collages five years ago and hasn’t stopped creating them since. Currently busy on a 80 x 80 cm piece for a private client, she is pulling together diverse elements for her VIP’s artwork – collecting paper elements from the client’s life, important dates and people, travels, homes, favourite things, hobbies, special places and pets.
Most pieces take up to one month to create, with a great deal of time spent consolidating the right information and visual images behind her client’s portrait and story. The work begins with Demidova drawing a portrait of her client during an in-person ‘interview’ about the profile collage to be created, or when not possible, based on a photograph.
She also sketches houses, other items, landscapes, natures mortes, flowers or animals if the client prefers. Background and outfits are done differently. Next she intensively researches the highlights of her client’s life or moment in time. She cuts paper elements, photos, articles, newspapers, logos and correspondence of different sizes, colours and textures, and often uses chalk, Japanese papers or other elements, attaching them to the background surface with tape and/or glue. The collages range in size from 40 x 50 cm to 100 x 100 cm. The colours are selected personally, depending on famous paintings that have inspired the artist or the client. And sometimes Demidova uses the composition of a famous piece, imitating the style of brushstroke.
Left-handed, Demidova prefers to cut her paper elements with cutters.‘I discovered that bonding is an interesting form of artistic and visual expression. Yet, I stand far enough from the classic collage or one used in embroidery... I am always careful not to lose sight of the elegance of line and aesthetic form by seeking to express the message of the work’, she shares. ‘Collage is a philosophy in itself, a self-irony as protection against derision, as creation against destruction, moderation against excesses, respect for facing the other, the opposite of aesthetic shock, as a refinement against denigration and lyrical dialogue instead of a manifesto’. In addition to the joy that creating the works brings her, Demidova loves seeing the reaction her works receive when finished. Her mixed-media collages capture the individuality and comprehensiveness of the magnificent stories of her clients’ lives.