An Interview with Roman Gulman.
Who and where are you from?
My name is Roman Gulman. I’m originally from Kiev, Ukraine and I moved to Israel when I was 17.
What brought you to Art?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My mom is an architecture engineer and my dad is an art enthusiast and both have always supported my passion for art. By the time I turned 13, my dad had noticed I am not interested in anything but art and has somehow managed to buy a book collection of all the major museums worldwide (Louvre, Versailles, Hermitage, Metropolitan, etc.) – an impossible achievement in the Soviet Union of that time. Shortly after, I started collecting stamps with famous art works of museums, renowned painters, art periods and movements. I would research, ask and trade my stamps with others, in order to complete my collection and as a result, my fascination with art has grown stronger. The images I saw in those stamps inspired me to learn more and continue drawing. In Israel, I enlisted to the “Ascola” High School of Design.
What is your driving force?
After school, I worked as art director on many fashion productions with the leading fashion brands in Israel. Collaborating with top fashion photographers and working with fashion sketches, I learned to look for that moment, that pause, when something deep from the model’s character, his/her personality, suddenly emerges and there is this spark that makes him/her look even better than in reality.
It is that exact expression that I am trying to capture in my paintings today. This is the message I want to deliver.
What kind of work you do and why?
My work focuses on portraits. On people. When I paint, I sometimes take my glasses off and see spots and blurs rather than nuances, trying to convey a certain feeling, mood or sensation. My goal is to extract that sincere emotion from within the person I’m painting. That’s why I focus on lines, light and shadows – the way they work together and the composition they create. I also usually add design elements in the background to enhance the character in the center.
In terms of style, you could say my work is influenced by Russian and French impressionists in the color pallet and expressive delivery using layers of paint.
Tell us more about your thought process.
I’ve been working in design for 20 years.
During that time, I’ve accumulated a lot of experiences and memories. My mind is a collection of images, snap shots, frames, colors, faces, flashes and movie clips that constantly flicker in my head as inspiration. Slowly, I focus on a certain group and pick the image I am going to create. The goal is to deliver that image to a new medium of painting adding layers of expression and depth.
I find people to be the most interesting subject. The face. The changes in expression. Those little movements that render the face completely different.
My strength is in color. When I paint, I feel like I enter a state of trance. I sit close to the canvas and focus to feel the perspective, first drawing without glasses and doing the final accurate additions at the end.
When it feels right, my endorphins run wild. I get nervous and excited like a teenager waiting for a date, with butterflies in my stomach.
The world of canvas is often too polite to fully express what I feel, so I often also use pastels and graffiti spray to convey my emotions.
Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?
There are a few modern painters who influence my work. I’ll mention these four:
The Austrian impressionist Egon Schiele – and how he grasps lines, distortions, sexuality. How he deforms his characters, drawing “incorrectly” but it feels so right.
Dominik Jasinski from Poland, and the way he captures faces and uses colors.
Ryan Hewett from South Africa and the way he uses stains.