Boris Koodrin's INNER VISONS

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WebCeleb Interview
June 2008

Looking Deeper into an Artist's Journey

Article by -=SCOTTish=-

For Boris Koodrin, becoming an artist involved a personal crusade for self-identity. Koodrin uses his myriad passions to overcome fears, his inspirations to motivate him, and his talents to paint beautiful impressions of his experiences. He wants to uplift fans through his paintings. Koodrin hopes people will "feel that their lives are enriched with something of quality. In this life things are not as they appear. Take the time in your life to look a little deeper."

Who is Boris?

Koodrin's life began in 1949, in the outer Sunset district of San Francisco, near the ocean. At age thirty, his wife and five year old son decided it was time to see sunlight and starry nights so they moved a mile away from the fog line, south of the city. Today, his house and studio are located in San Bruno-in the foothills across from SFO. When asked, Koodrin calls himself a surrealist. But this certainly wasn't the case initially.

Primary inspirations

Originally, Koodrin's inspiration to be an artist derived from his Salvardoran grandmother's mentoring. His grandmother was a self-taught painter who educated Koodrin on the fundamental principles, as well as how to observe and interpret life's subtle, sometimes overlooked elements. Koodrin says, "She put a brush in my hand when I was very young and I really took to it. She taught me how to understand the effect of light on form by placing a flashlight and an orange on a table in front of me and turning off the overheads so that all was visible was the flashlight beam, the orange, and the elongated shadow on the tablecloth." From Koodrin's work you can tell how shadowing, tonal balancing, and overall color composition are key ingredients to his style.

His inspiration evolved as he came into his own as an artist. The Sunset District provided Koodrin with sounds and pictures that colored his life. From "the roar of lions and crashing waves, to the unforgiving undertow feeding children to the sea." He embraced the Sunset District whilst some found it to be the "blandest part of the city." Koodrin is able to see the natural mysteries and connect with the beautifully novel aspects of his environment. He details his memories with the exquisite sensory imagery only an artist can capture when he says, "To me the Sunset was like a vast desert enshrouded in mist. You hit pockets of clarity and then everything goes blank. You walk on and then there's clarity again, the details come to life, and hit you in the face, or under the skin, or deeper. Metaphorically speaking, as a kid the fog became a navigation tool of sorts."

Koodrin has experienced some tumultuous periods while navigating his way as an artist. At one such point he had essentially lost his creative direction and subsequently concluded he wasn't destined to be an artist. He dabbled in surrealist political cartooning, and the t-shirt printing business. Upon reflection Koodrin states, "I had provided a series of political cartoons that were rather surreal, which means I never had to explain them to anyone because that would just prove that they just weren't smart enough to 'get it. Quite frankly, I rarely got them myself but I had a lot of fun coming up with what seemed to be hidden messages"

Transitioning to fine art

He doesn't attribute his transition into fine arts from time spent cartooning or in t-shirt printing. Instead, Koodrin feels the profound influences he received from working with incarcerated male teenagers in the wilderness, lead to his third transformational inspiration. "They are surrounded by insanity from the time they're born. And I'm not talking about the prison system. They're already living insane lives by the time they get to prison,"� proclaims Koodrin. While directing a self-awareness program for a non-profit called "Vision Youthz," Koodrin realized that he needed to stop challenging these young men, and redirect his focus inward. From then on, Koodrin picked up his brushes and started walking. With brushes firmly in hand, Koodrin was ready to face his own fears as a painter.

Tapping into creative intuition

One reason Koodrin felt troubled as a painter, when tested with depicting his imagination, was that he wasn't tapping into his inner vision. Now he allows himself to follow his intuition. "I learned to access my inner vision from a teacher by the name of Tom Brown, Jr., also known as the Tracker," admits Koodrin. You don't just throw down a white canvas on an easel and suddenly you're an artist. For Koodrin, he prefers to shut out distractions and turn off his mind by first painting the canvas black. One line, one creatively driven brush stroke, a shape here, a color tone there, and subplots develop within Koodrin that eventually evolve into themes. He explained, "More ideas will pop up and I'll add them if they help the story and the composition. Sometimes it's the little last minute details that make the painting."

Heartwood and The Beholder's Eye have both been increasingly popular from day-to-day within the WebCeleb community. Koodrin admits that Heartwood is, "an expression of my love for my wife- Bardi." He told me that the amount of red in the painting reflects how passionate and deeply in love with her he is. As far as The Beholder's Eye, it is a personal mandala combining all the major elements, which excite his wife encapsulated in her eye.

As for Boris Koodrin's journey, he discovered himself in vivid colors and intuitive painting. "White canvases stifle me and lock me into thinking mode. It's only when I'm able to break out of that thinking pattern and into the intuitive part of myself that things begin to flow." Art truly is a resolute journey, which certainly transcends a mere destination. There can be directional changes, loss of direction, or even the need to stop and ask for directions. The journey is unique to every artist, and it's about rediscovery and self-identity that evokes creativity. Take it from Koodrin, "There's no such thing as a permanent wave that can be ridden by a surfer, so why art?"