The Barnes Foundation feature

Photo of Olya in galllery

Ahhh, so Barnes Foundation  in Philadelphia (only my most favourite museum in the world) found this illegal picture of me. I posted it on Instagram, because I have no shame, photography is not really allowed in the museum. But I did because I am so in love with this lady…so they found it, and read my story and asked if they can feature me on their blog. WHAT!? YES!!!

After moments of hyperventilating, I got myself together and few weeks later this happened! Read it on Barnes Foundation website at this link.

Thank you Barnes Foundation for inspiring me to keep going!

Anxiety washed over me as I rushed from room to room. It was overwhelming, realizing how much there was to discover. I found myself wondering, can I possibly take it all in?

How can it be that there are thousands of paintings on the walls and each one is my favorite? I was astonished by the artistic greatness that surrounded me—greatness that I had spent my whole life admiring from a distance. Now I was face to face with these masterpieces, and I wanted to know everything about each one. But is one life enough?

My mind was racing, I thought how amazing it would be to just move in at the Barnes, to see and draw inspiration from these works of art every day. And then I saw her. . . the beautiful girl with fiery red hair, sitting on a chair and wearing a black evening dress. My heart stopped, tears streamed down my face, and all I could do was stare. It was there that I found an incredible sense of peace and home. I just had to remind myself to breathe.


I first knew that I wanted to be an artist when I was 5 years old. My first art memory is a vision of welcoming guests into a gallery exhibiting my work.

I was born in Moscow (at that time, the Soviet Union) and immigrated to the United States with my family in 1997. We settled in Philadelphia. After studying graphic design, I moved to New York City to work in the fashion industry. Through the years, I never stopped painting. I kept paintbrushes in the fridge, canvases under the bed, and paints on the dinner table in my tiny studio apartment. If I wasn’t making art, I didn’t feel right.

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In early 2015 I decided that I just can’t not paint anymore, and I transitioned to pursuing art full-time.

It has been a rollercoaster year, with exciting highs and discouraging lows, but I am doing it! I am living my dream and doing what I love every day.


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Upon moving to Montreal, I couldn’t help but include in my paintings the orange traffic cones that appeared everywhere in the beautiful city.

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Eventually sketches turned into paintings, and paintings turned into an exhibition. In August 2015, the dream—the wish that always seemed out of reach—came true. I finally exhibited my work in a gallery and welcomed guests to see my art.

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A few days after the opening, I was invited to be on Breakfast Television Montreal. The following week, I was interviewed on CJAD Montreal, a morning radio show.

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