How a Russian artist lives in Switzerland

Switzerland was a beloved country for many Russian writers and artists. Its fabulous landscapes inspired Dostoevsky and Nabokov, Kiprensky, Surikov and Savrasov. SUISSEPIC discovers modern talents, who also could not resist in front of the Swiss beauty and changed their place of living continuing their artistic vocation.

Meet Viktoria, a Russian artist who now lives in Biel.


SUISSEPIC: You come from Russia and now live in Switzerland. What were the most difficult / the easiest things of moving?  

Viktoria: I live in Biel. I like this city for his central location and urbanity of a medium Swiss town. I already captured its landscapes as well as the other cities of Jura region on my paintings. Previously I lived in Italy performing my studies in Milan. It made my moving to Switzerland easier than it could be if I came directly from Russia. By that time, I visited the country several times.

The most difficult and the most necessary about changing the place of living is the language. I believe that many life factors depend on social communication. To speak a local language is truly essential. I knew some Italian and in Switzerland I started learning French – another language of the Latin group. However, my clients are still mostly the ones from the Slavic language group. For them I either draw family portraits or make a wall painting in a kid’s bedroom, etc.

SUISSEPIC: Do you remember your first day of coming to Switzerland?

Viktoria: Sure. That day and many others later were full of fear and of joy at the same time. I was in front of new challenges as well as new opportunities.


SUISSEPIC: For how long have you been in involved in the art?

Viktoria: No matter how banal it may sound, especially for artists, but for as long as I can remember myself, I was always drawing or creating something.

SUISSEPIC: Is art your main occupation?

Viktoria: Yes and no. Artistic activity is my work and my hobby at the same time. I work as an urbanist or an architect-urban planner (following my professional education); and also as a freelance painter and a graphic designer. In both fields, I use my artistic skills, ability to draw both by hand and on computer. Moreover, I organize painting workshops and art lessons for kids and adults. I also was teaching at “Russisches Seeland/Seeland russe”, a Russian speaking association in Biel. Just for fun, I make body and face paintings.

SUISSEPIC: How did you start painting? Is there a story behind?

Viktoria: I started my artistic activities in a very childhood. When I was 2 or 3 years old, I always needed something to draw. To find a pen or a pencil at home was not a problem, but some paper – yes. My artworks were abstract and quite rapid, so I used a great number of sheets. It was the moment that all the paper at home was over (even the wallpaper). Then I found my mom’s passport and marked each of its page by my innocent signatures… Reaction of my mum? We still laugh about it! She was always open to my ideas and creativity. Now she is quite often is the first spectator…


SUISSEPIC: Your works are full of colors and emotions. What do you want to tell through them?

Viktoria: My special love and attention to colors come from the time when I studied coloristic at St. Petersburg State University. The professor’s lectures were amazing. I learned a lot about to speak the audience appealing to their minds and hearts through the color.

SUISSEPIC: What do you find the most inspiring in art?

Viktoria: The power of art is that it is a unified language for people living in the different parts of the world. Every person can bring some creativity in his or her daily actions or work. However, “True Art” is a hard work, in terms of reflection and technical skills. As an artist, I analyze works of others in 3 stages. At first, I get impressed as a spectator. Secondly, I get inspired as a creative soul. Finally, I take a challenge as a creator trying to reach their level, to be better, higher…

SUISSEPIC: Where do you exhibit? When are you planning the next exhibition?

Viktoria: Everywhere, where it is possible. Today the possibilities to exhibit increased a lot and the artists are no more restricted only by the size of halls at the art galleries. My home, for instance, is already a small gallery. It is full of paintings and my guests are spectators.

My artworks usually become presents for weddings or birthdays. So many of them are now in private collections. The recent gift I made to the Department of Urbanism in city of Biel – my ex-working place. It is very symbolic. I am an urbanist living in Biel. I had a chance to work for urban planning department so now I am proud that my painting is there, inside its building.

As a freelancer I am quite active on Internet. I have my art Instagram account (@victoriart13), a web-page with my portfolio and a blog “Victoria-Art”. Recently I created Facebook group, where I gather Russian-speaking painters, immigrants who now live and work in Switzerland.

My idea is to share experience online and arrange an exposition together. So, I encourage everyone interested to contact me and to join our group “Художники в Швейцарии”.

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