Rustam Bulatov: "To be happy, one must be in agreement with oneself"

Rustam Bulatov, curator of the Izhevsk gallery "La bohéme artistique" told about the popularity of oil drawings, exhibitions in Bulgaria, peculiarities of the gallery's work, goals of art, a trip to Rome that shocked him and the secret of happiness.


Rustam Bulatov is a well-known person in Izhevsk. Many know him as an active user of social networks. Some have met him at city events. He is a propagandist of creativity of artists of Udmurtia. He is an itinerant artist. Rustam Bulatov, curator of Izhevsk gallery "La bohéme artistique" told about the popularity of oil drawings, exhibitions in Bulgaria, peculiarities of the gallery's work, goals of art, a trip to Rome that shocked him, and the secret of happiness.

- How did you become involved in art?

- You can't start doing art. In my opinion, you are born with it or you are not born with it because it is an inner state of a person. If I think back to when I started doing gallery work, it was when my daughter was born. Before that I worked in design, construction, but it's a very hectic job that requires a lot of energy and time, so I changed the sphere of activity. And then every parent dreams of having a child follow in their footsteps. I didn't envision a girl on a construction site, where it's not always clean, where they don't always speak politely. I decided that I would rather create a new field of activity for myself, in which she will grow up. That field turned out to be painting, frame making. But frame making is secondary, we position ourselves more as a gallery, but as a gallery it is impossible to survive, so we make frames to earn money for rent, for the design of paintings.

- Why is it impossible to survive on a gallery alone?

- Because paintings are not a commodity that is in demand today, but they have never been such a commodity, it's a very narrow niche

- And you think that people will never buy paintings en masse?

- I think not. There shouldn't be such a thing. It's a utopia for everyone to suddenly want to buy paintings. You need an industry like the fashion industry, where big corporations sew clothes, runway shows, advertising. But once paintings get to that level, they'll become commodities.

- What work of art shocked you the most?

- I was in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. There on the hat of each nail there is a whole story. The handle is a separate work of art. Each tile is like a painting. And inside this tile is inserted some separate element that has its own story.  When I came from Italy, I was terribly depressed. We were doing design, construction. I thought that we were decorating Udmurtia, we are such "wow" guys, we know everything, we know how to do everything. And I came from the place where Michelangelo painted the ceiling. I didn't want to do anything as a manager for two months. I sat there and was just depressed. I had Maxim Verevkin working for me at the time. I told him about the depression, and he replied that it was normal, there was a religion, a church, and such temples are built in order to make a person feel nothing compared to God. After that my hands and head started working again.

- Recently Alexander Kokorin, an oil painter from your gallery, presented his works in Bulgaria. How did you manage to hold three exhibitions there?

- When you do something, any quantity turns into quality. We have been holding exhibitions since the first days. First we created a viewer, among the viewers we found buyers, among the buyers there were regular buyers, so to speak, collectors. It is the same with exhibition activities. First we held exhibitions here on the street, then we were invited somewhere, then we were invited to two places at once, and then we were invited to Bulgaria. We don't offer anyone anything ourselves, we wait until we are invited, because when you offer it yourself, you need it, and our point of view is that art should be invited.

- Why does Kokorin paint with oil?

- I am a gallerist, a person who should understand the laws of show business. To promote something, you need to attract attention, you need "hype", and oil gives endless interest. We started painting with oil about four years ago, and interest in it is not waning, but only increasing.

- What do you prefer in painting?

- There is a vase of candy. How can you tell which candy tastes better? You like it or you don't like it. I asked my daughter if candy is unpalatable. She said they do, but rarely. And I also like everything.

- But there are "unpalatable" paintings. What are they for you?

For me, "unpalatable" paintings are those that carry a dark energy. I want to make the world lighter, and to make the world lighter is the task of art.

What is your main achievement?

-My daughter Renata. We were not born to make money. We all came into this world to live a happy life. My life is a happy life, so I am now teaching my daughter to live a happy life.

- What made you happy?

-Every person can be happy if they have identified what it takes to be happy. A person comes from work, lies down, reads a book and is happy. And there are people with three-story houses, but still unhappy, because the jeep is not the same as the girlfriend's. It depends on our desires whether we are ready to kill ourselves at work or work as much as we need to in order to get what we want. My option is the second. When I was young, it was interesting to work for results. I wondered how much I could earn. I had 4 or 5 cars, but these are all material things, and I never prioritized money. I will be happy in a deaf village and if they send me to sea on a ship. Many people don't realize that to be happy you have to be in agreement with yourself. Inside yourself is happiness. You don't have to buy it.

Timofey Zamerov