BIO


Irina is the professional watercolor artist.
She is a proud member of AWS (American Watercolor Society) and a Life Member of TWSA (Transparent Watercolor Society of America). In 2013 Irina served as the director of the Outreach Program for CWA (California Watercolor Association).

Her art has been published in Best Of Artists - Watermedia - Volume II, Somatic Psychology magazine, Spirit Seeker magazine, Women Arts magazine, and People magazine online.

She won her first award at age 15 during the Junior Art Show in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since then, she has been recognized by numerous organizations and galleries. In 2012, Irina became an American Art Award Winner in Realism category.

Before coming to the US, she studied art in the St.Petersburg Academy of Art, the Art-Industrial College in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received Bachelor of Arts from The Academy of Culture. While in Russia she was a successful artist  selling her works. She continued her journey through the art world after coming to the U.S., resulting in her exploring the creative process. Even though Irina is an accomplished artist she never stops learning as much as she can about the arts. As the result of that eagerness she earned Fine Art degree while in America.

Her passion is painting with watercolors, her main style is contemporary realism and yet the abstract paintings are not left behind. Most of her original paintings are in private collections throughout the world. To name a few locations, besides the U.S., her artworks are presented in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, Russia, and Spain. These days, Irina Sztukowski continues showing her paintings in local galleries and business offices.

Interview With The Artist



I was quite excited to be asked to join one Art Project where the artists shared about themselves. Various artists throughout the world were asked questions about their artistic influences. It was fun to be a part of this creative project and I decided to share the interview with my followers. 


The Interview

1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?

As a child I can't recall a day without a pencil, a brush, or a book in my hand. My family was encouraging my sister and I to be creative. Due to the Soviet era, and non existence of electronic devices we used our imagination by painting, drawing, making up our own stories in handmade books, cutting out and dressing up the paper-dolls, writing a family newspaper, constructing mini-theaters out of shoe boxes, supplying them with cardboard furniture, and our own mini-artworks.
Irina (left) with her sister Maria

Living in the historical center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Saint Petersburg; we, literally, lived right behind the corner of several National museums:

travel sketches in watercolor
watercolor travel sketch
watercolor painting
My Dad often took my sister and I to the museums where I could see first hand the works of the famous artists.
My first introduction to the Old  Dutch Masters inspired me to paint my own still life paintings. I was stunned when I saw great marine scenes of Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, or portraits of the society and Italian country scenes by the artist Karl Brullov

But the most and the first inspirational group of people in my life were my relatives. Grandma Maria was an exceptional craft artist. Her needlepoint and lace hand crafted artworks were amazing. My Dad, Nikolai, painted, made sculptures and created beautiful ceramics. Both, Dad and Grandma, shared their knowledge with me. My mom, Larisa, worked as an engineer and taught me drafting and perspective. Another Grandma Vera, a famous engineer in metallurgy, in her retirement years got obsessed with gardening, which definitely influenced my love to Nature. 

2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?

My artist’s goal is to achieve a balance and harmony between the beauty provided by Nature and the ability of the artist to convey this beauty on two dimensional surfaces. When this harmony is accomplished it evokes a visual experience and generates the emotions between the viewer and the painting. I believe that watercolor is the medium that can do it all. 
My passion is painting with watercolors, my main style is contemporary realism, yet I am also interested in abstract paintings and illustrations.
realism in watercolor

I do want to try all styles and explore all possibilities in art. 
realism in watercolor


abstraction

realism in watercolor


Only one rule will be followed religiously: it will be beautiful. I know I can do it. I have only one challenge along the way; the shortness of the linear time of this one life on Earth :0)

3. What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I love to see the eyes of my art collectors when they receive the artwork. One look worth thousand words. 
A lot of time I communicate to my customers electronically, and send artworks by mail, so I receive heart warming e-mails. 
All of them are important for me. They melt my artist's soul, they give me wings. 
Here, I want to mention one, that was quite memorable. 

Last year, I completed a commission piece for my customer. The artwork was a reflection of the poem that was given me before the process. The story was written, my job was to paint it:

seascape watercolor art

When the painting was finished and the customer looked at it, she said: Irina, if in your life you painted only ONE painting,THIS one; your life purpose as an artist would be accomplished right there!

4. What is your dream project?

Strangely enough, I have no dream project.
 Maybe because I try to make my dreams come true. 
I trust my intuition, 
I go with the flow. 

The Artist's life do bring me projects by serendipity. A good example was a Jam Label project when a customer from Ireland was contacting me offering a long-term illustration assignment, which reminded me how much I love realistic paintings and botanical art:

realism
I am so grateful to ALL my art collectors and customers! They make me tick. 

5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)

I admire artists that can see the beauty of the world and have the courage to share this beauty with us. 

I kneel before the artists that polish their skill and make their craft better and better year after the year. And if the hand starts shaking and brush might not "listen to" the mind, these artists find the way to continue their shine and pass the knowledge. 

I respect the artists that sell their art without selling their soul. 

I appreciate when the artists help their clients to feel that they are the part of the creative process (in case of commission paintings). And if the customer is purchasing already made artwork or print, I admire the ability of the artist to invite the viewer to "live" the artwork, to be a part of the story, to feel united with the beauty of the art-piece.

If I name a few artists here, the post will not be enough. 
Ok, I'll try:
Fiodor Tolstoy, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilia Repin, Karl Briulov, Pieter Claesz, Rafael, Michelangelo, Nikolai Dudorov, Maria Batkova, Steve Hanks, Artemisia Gentilleschi, Henry Matisse, James Tissot, Patience Brewster, Jacqueline Gnott, Judith Leyster, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Beatrix Potter, Vera Lysenko, August Renoir. Berthe Morisot, John Stuart Ingle, Elena Bazanova, Jan Kunz, Birgit O'Connor, William Turner, Alfredina Nocera, Claude Monet, Tan Chun Chiu, Henrietta Johnston, and many many many more!

Published Art

My watercolor painting Dancing Fire is published on the cover of the booklet of Oncology Symposium that takes place in Kolkata, India ...