Leonid Afremov

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Regarded as the best palette knife and oil painting maestro, Russian–Israeli artist Leonid Afremov is one of the most unique artists working today. Known for his individualistic style and unconventional approach to showcasing his work to the public – Afremov doesn’t believe in the concept of art exhibitions, dealers or art galleries. He in fact sells his work online as he likes the notion of his work being accessible for all. For Afremov art is not exclusive just for the elite – it is a beauty that is meant to be for everyone.  The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) calls Leonid Afremov as one of the greatest and well-known modern impressionists of our time.  His paintings have made their way into countless homes and private galleries across the globe.

Born on July 12, 1955 into a traditional Jewish family in Belarus, Afremov excelled in his academics and developed an ardent interest in art and history from a young age. His love for art was encouraged by his parents, this propelled Afremov to take extra art classes and learn as much as he could from local artists. Due to their strong Jewish roots and Russia’s growing anti-Semitism, Afremov’s family struggled to live freely in Russia. This didn’t deter Afremov from focusing on art, during his university years he discovered and was fascinated by the works of Picasso, Dali and Modigliani. Marriage soon followed and the birth of his son, due to growing tension in Russia Afremov decided to move to Israel with his young family in 1991. The move wasn’t easy as Afremov struggled to settle in with his family, they faced oppression due to their Russian heritage. Afremov worked various jobs to make ends meet and continued to paint in his free time. He faced backlash in Israel when he tried to sell his paintings to art galleries as they considered his work had zero value since he was a ‘Russian immigrant’. If anything this fuelled his desire to never work with art galleries again in the future, a stance he still follows to this day.

It was son who gave him the idea of selling his paintings via different means – discouraged by the lack of paintings his father was selling, Afremov’s son Dmitry went door to door in his neighbourhood to sell one of the paintings and finally succeeded. This is how Afremov developed a knack for selling his paintings directly to people without getting involved with art galleries or dealers. Afremov started selling many paintings this way and saving up more money. He also began working exclusively with just oil and the palette knife thus carving his own unique artistic identity. A subsequent move to America and the advent of ebay is what really put Afremov on the map. With the help of his son Afremov started selling his paintings in bulk and at very good price rates.

Despite the struggles and political tensions he has faced Afremov’s paintings depict a vibrancy of a mind that is eager to explore. His work never has any hidden meanings or messages, but rather they are there to be accepted and for people to make their own stories from them. For Leonid Afremov, his paintings are all about evoking emotions rather than a narrative. It is a world within a world, every paintings has a passion, a feeling and a mood to it. It is after all, Afemov’s own inner sanctuary which anyone across the world can have a glimpse of when they purchase his work.

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