Katya Kompaneyets was born in Moscow, Russia and lives in Los Angeles, where she has been a working artist for over thirty years.
Her art education began at age eleven under the tutelage of her aunt, a professional artist. Katya went on to graduate from Moscow Fine Arts School and Moscow State Textile University, where she earned a master’s degree in Design and Decorative Arts.
Working in drawing, painting, still life, and watercolor, Katya has been exhibited at galleries and museums across Southern California, and is included in private collections in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Carmel, San Francisco, New York, and Boston. She has worked as a costume designer, and her theater sketches for famed Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky were purchased by the University of Notre Dame in 2017. (More on these banned costume designs here.)
Previously working as a muralist, her large-scale projects can be seen around California, including in Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
I arrived to Los Angeles in 1981 as a refugee. I remember my first views from the airplane: the crisscrossing of city lights and the turquoise rectangles of swimming pools. This city was so different from Moscow — I might as well have landed on the moon.
The culture shock was also very strong. I saw a lot of abstract paintings in museums and galleries. It seemed like representational painting was passé and outdated. It took me a long time to meet a group of artists called “California realists.” In their movement, I have found a new home in the New World.
Russian art is my still major influence. I work from observation, regularly drawing live models and painting landscapes in plein air. For me, these are important classical analytical skills, and ways of thinking and organizing my work.
But California — and Los Angeles specifically — has left an imprint on my artistic style. I encounter new forms of art, from comic strips to pin-ups to abstract to performance. These broaden my understanding of what is considered art. I include elements of abstraction in my representational work, allowing me to integrate new realities and reflect on them.
Immigration was both a big loss and a tremendous gain. I am exposed to the new and diverse, and yet I am still myself: painting and reflecting on the city I live in.
I sell my original work, do commissioned paintings, and help clients build their personal art collections. Email me at katyakompa [at] gmail [dot] com.
© All rights reserved. No images may be reproduced without written permission from the artist.