China Academy of Art
Home > News > International
Hangzhoufeel: Intl teenage artist sees renaissance in Hangzhou
WeChat: Share
WeChat dot discovery,Sweep Two dimensional code can share this article to the circle of friends。
Edited BY:Feng Zicheng

"Do I truly love what I do? Would I want my lifelong passion to turn into my job?" 

These questions usually cross most people's minds as they navigate through adulthood. However, Elisabeth Anisimow, a well-known Russian visual performance artist, currently studying Chinese landscape painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, didn't have the time to ponder them. Aged 17, she began her career as an artist at 9, when she started selling her "living paintings" for thousands of dollars.

Born in Los Angeles to Russian parents, Elisabeth displayed a knack for creativity early on, as her mother Ekaterina recalls, "Even at 10 months old, she already knew how to hold a pen." She started to draw and make paper clothes early. Luckily, her parents always supported her expressions of creativity and cultivated in her a profound love for classical art through visits to museums in St. Petersburg.

Also, in the American tradition where many success stories start, Elisabeth crafted her "living paintings" right in her dad's garage. Her initial models were relatives, friends, and neighbors, all of whom showed immense interest and support for her work. She painted on people, self-made costumes, and various props, creating a captivating 'alive 3D painting. Observing fantastical characters or realistic scenes from literature, art, and history, one would never guess that small Elisabeth created them in three dimensions by drawing on actual people and objects.

Elisabeth's artworks have already been making their way across continents. Recognized brands have sought out her for collaborations in theaters, fashion shows, auctions, festivals, exhibitions, and art performances in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China.

In 2019, she received an invitation to take part in a crucial project - a large living art installation titled "Christmas Muse Garden" for K11 MUSEA in Hong Kong, China. Achieving tremendous success in her debut in Asia, it was there that she discovered the beauty of traditional Chinese art. "It was very different from what I used to see before, and I loved it, so I decided to come to China again to study the secrets of Chinese art one day," Elisabeth described her initial impression of Chinese art.

It might be surprising that, with her rich background and already established styles, she chose to come here and study a completely different form of art from what people know her for. Elisabeth explained, "I am greatly drawn to China, as it is a unique and mysterious country. It is the homeland of paper and printing, silk and porcelain, and many other things that greatly attract and inspire me as an artist."

Chinese art as well as Elisabeth's paintings often convey stories, ranging from folklore fairytales to historical events. She was particularly captivated by traditional Chinese clothing, exclaiming, "In one costume, there are so many different details and themes from legends and fairy tales. You can practically read an entire story on one piece of clothing."

Inspired by Chinese culture, she began merging traditional Russian and Chinese myth and fairytale characters in her graphics, breathing new life into her artistic style. Moreover, her choice to come to Hangzhou was also based on its deep connection with Chinese traditional myths, notably the famous legend of the White Snake.

Whether painting scenes from a myth or anything else, drawing involves a lot of reading and self-study for Elisabeth. "In Russia, there are no books about Chinese costumes at all. When I came to Hangzhou and got access to Taobao, I bought 47 books about Chinese costumes from different eras, thinking they would be thin. I remember when the first batch arrived, I opened the door and saw these tall packages," Elisabeth spread her long, slender arms wide, indicating the height, "each containing only 12 books, and they were all incredibly heavy. And I have no shelves in my new house at all," Elisabeth laughed.

"Her room is impassable; it's cluttered with books in different languages like English, Chinese, Russian, German, and French (she uses a translator to read them)", confirmed her mother. Elisabeth also confessed with a hint of pride, "I only have a clear path from the bed to the table where I draw, and that's it."

Throughout the day, Elisabeth attends classes at the China Academy of Art and takes extracurricular Chinese lessons at Chinese Surfing language school. She finds joy in studying and building friendships with her Chinese classmates; they teach her Chinese, and in return, she teaches them English through playful language games. In the evening, she dedicates time to her projects, drawing in her room with closed curtains, surrounded by mountains of books.

Five hours of sleep has become a sufficient amount of rest for her, as when she has strong inspiration to draw, she stays up all night. “Sometimes, I open the curtain and realize, 'Oh! People are out on the street, it's already morning!’ when I thought it was still evening, and I drew just for an hour." Elisabeth shared.

Then Elisabeth added, "But don’t think that it’s a burden for me at all. Though physically it might not be easy to sit in one place and draw, I immerse myself in a trance and mentally relax.”These words make one realize the profound joy that comes with being passionately in love with one's does.

Currently, Elisabeth is diligently preparing her new exhibition, weaving dreams onto canvas, and she eagerly anticipates sharing the results with Hangzhou soon.