The Soviet era, in general, began with great sentiments (ideas) and wonderful feelings. It was modern, new, living in a new way. We enacted equality before everyone else, for men and women. We were ahead of the rest. At first. There was such growth there, Malevich and Kandinsky ... They influenced abstract art in America. That was a time when people lived their dreams. Only then ... we regressed. In that period, the client was the government, so a strong school of work was required.
Now, our clients are ordinary people. And they're pretty, um ... uneducated; they have no taste. They usually want awful, ridiculous things. So we didn't like working with clients, and we gave it up.
And this is how I came to portraits. I just got hired to do one from friends. Someone needed a portrait. I said "I don't know, I don't do them." But I gave it a shot. After all, they had taught us; we had learned how to hold a pencil in our hands. So, I tried it. In my opinion, I don't think it was that great; it turned out badly. But the client liked it, and paid money. And then I thought: I should just work at home, I have a refrigerator nearby, sandwiches, coffee, a sofa there, a computer, I can watch YouTube. Why the hell should I climb on the wall somewhere making monuments? Making monumental art practically turns you into a construction worker. It's hard; you have to carry the cement. And here, you sit around at home in comfort, working.
So we started this business, making portraits (painting). Again, I started the business with a friend, threw up a business plan, a marketing plan, looked for customers, got everything ready. At first we had very few orders; we could hardly survive, you could say. But it was very interesting, we had a lot of enthusiasm.