Though having arrived only a week ago, this dynamic pair’s creative verve is in full throttle
Paducah Art’s Alliance’s (PAA) March artists-in-residence
Vlada Soshkina, who was born in the Ukraine, is a book illustrator with a Masters Degree in Fine Art. She is the co-founder of Red Wooden Flag, a multi-disciplinary studio that focuses on illustration and book design. Vlada recently returned from a visit to her home country to oversee the printing of “Soldier,” a beautiful children’s book featuring her illustrations.
Dmitry Gomberg moved to New York in 2000 along with his parents and family members, who soon became citizens of the United States. After completing a course in photography at the International Center of Photography in New York, Dmitry traveled to the Republic of Georgia where he was introduced to the life of high mountain shepherds in Tusheti. This 5-year journey resulted in hundreds of photographs for a project known as The Shepherd Way, which earned him the distinction of being one of 50 photographers (representing 21 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa) named as LensCulture’s Emerging Talents in 2014.
A creative collaboration was already awaiting Vlada, who wanted to use her time in Paducah to focus on painting, a discipline she rarely has time for with her studio schedule as a book illustrator. She was hoping to create a mural on a public building and Kijsa Housman, owner of MAKE (628 Broadway), presented the perfect opportunity.
“I had discussed my public art plans with various artists throughout the year while I was prepping the building, and the timing for Vlada and the wall is where the story comes full circle,” notes Kijsa. “Vlada is our introductory mural artist, so her work will be up for several months, as we work through the planning stages and excitement of scheduling the future ones for the coming year. We will be including PAA artists, as well as local talent, to accomplish this beautiful concept. With public art, everyone can be involved…watching the process develop, the painting come to life, interacting with the image in all types of daylight and weather.”
With her computer-generated mural design in hand on her cell phone, Vlada collaborated with Steve Koonce, manager of Painters Supply located at 705 Kentucky Avenue across from the project site, who is donating the paint supplies for the mural. Vlada matched color swatches to the image on her phone and Koonce consulted with her on the ideal paints for the project. MAKE will host a reception for the muralist upon completion of the mural. (Date/time to be determined by progress.)
While Valda is publicly busy painting her mural, Dmitry is working on two projects. He is currently teaming up with the Paducah School of Art & Design to prepare his award-winning photos from Tusheti for exhibition. The Shepherds Way will be open to the public at StudioMars, 418 N 7th Street in the Lowertown Arts District this Saturday, March 19, from 5-7 pm.
“We are starting a new project which is about finding a home as a family that migrated to the US. We will be traveling to experience different angles of this country,” notes Dmitry. “Paducah will be one of the main chapters for the story.” A second exhibit, America Through the Eyes of an Immigrant: The Paducah Chapter featuring his recent work will be held at the same location on Saturday, April 2, 5-7 pm.