Afanassy Pud


Statement by the artist who also writes,
"sorry for bad English, I use computer translator."

I love Picasso, Tangauy, Cirico, Ernst; but greatest artist in 20 centuries is Pavel Filonov. He died in 1941 of famine in Leningrad. I am the traditional artist. I began to use a computer approximately in 1995. I make works by ink and pen. It is on my site. I make painting by oil. To draw on the computer, I use only mouse. All faces in my pictures I have drawn by the mouse in Corel Photopaint. I have made the library of parts of a human body and permanently I expand it. This library I always use. Sometimes I use Photostyler! I like very much this program. Sometimes I use Fractal Design Painter. All textures I make by myself, using different effects from COREL. A good artist can make good pictures always by pencil, paintbrush or computer.

A review of Afanassy Pud's art
by JD Jarvis
MOCA contributing editor

If you love the inherent poetry and quirky surprise of Surrealism, the work of Afanassy Pud is a feast for the eye, mind and soul. "Wind", Afanassy's first image presented in this MOCA exhibit, is a tour-de-force of Surrealist sensibility and digital technique. What first catches my eye in this piece is the pearlescent texture, which pervades most of Pud's work. Reminiscent of Max Ernst's "frontage" technique and also the random textures Ernst created by applying two wet canvases together and then pealing them apart to create a field of runny paint; this shiny, wet-looking texture provides many minute shapes upon which the artist hangs his imagination and directs our thoughts. Out of this natural-looking texture come scores of grasping hands each searching for something to hold onto; while airborne debris fills the space around a gaunt tree shape. "Wind" is both a visual representation and a poetic metaphor for the turbulence encountered in nature and in our lives. This is both painting and poetry.

In the "Parachuter" we find the same opulent texture being employed to create form as well as decorate the shapes. Here the possible use of a digital filter, such as Paint Alchemy's "Molecule" brush, seems evident and I realize that Afanassy's technique must also involve cutting and pasting appropriate elements into a whole composition, yet another expansion on the technique of digital collage. (See Ileana Grillo's Frometo's work.) The bright colors encountered in "Parachuter" along with the shining surfaces recalls bags of hard candy from childhood Christmases. This memory of childhood joy is linked to the ecstatic expression of the parachuter himself, and we realize a feeling of the freedom and exhilaration one experiences once free of earthly bonds, floating among the clouds.

There are several works like "Spectator" that show a darker side. In these works the opulent, pearlescent texture drained of colorful hues begins to look fetid. The dichotomy of the figure's pleasant expression against the grayish almost sickly skin tones gives this piece a good dose of mystery. As in "The Fan", we are challenged to put together in our minds both the colorful and the grotesque. "The Wall" is not a solid obstacle at all, but an obstacle of people, smiling people and not so helpful hands. Is it meant to symbolize bureaucracy? This is what makes Surrealism such a challenging and elegant art. It forces one to think (and what could be more dangerous?). In "Direction" we have a triptych that is a carnival of color and texture with figures emerging and receding from the confetti-like activity of the background. Within each panel figures are pointed in different directions, smiling, going forth with the empty- headed ecstasy of volunteer firemen. Is this simply an observation of human folly or political comment?

As a digital artist myself, I need to penetrate beyond the poetry into the mechanics, but here I must admit I am a bit stumped as to how Afanassy achieves a lot of his effects. In "Tree" which re-visits the structure we see in "Wind", I see the use of Painter's "Image Hose". In "Travel", another familiar Surrealist tableau of excerpts from a dream (hinting that there is a story being told) indicates to me the use of cut and paste against a simple fractal-generated background. But how do you explain the crystalline colors that hang like bits of cellophane from the branches of "Flover" and how is that omnipresent pearl-like texture really created? But mystery is good. It drives one to discover and experiment. I suggest a visit to Afanassy Pud's own website, where you will see the graphic pen-and-ink figurative style that infuses and populates his digital work. But one does not have to make a study of his work to find it immensely engrossing, stimulating and rewarding. One only needs to look with sharp eyes and an open mind. Poetry and Surrealism have always gone hand in hand and I am pleased to see that, in the hands of Afanassy Pud, the computer is clearly shown to be an instrument that serves the artist and expands the vocabulary and impact of his work.

Thanks to Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle (1975) for the phrase
"empty-headed ecstasy of a volunteer fireman",
which I have waited 25 years to use
in an appropriate sentence of my own.
JDJ 12/16/00