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Live magazine interview

See the Sweet Life lollipops sculptures in #elenabulatovafineart #lasvegas and #palmsprings locations

From Russia with Art!
Make way for Elena Bulatova! Through her business sense and knowledge of art, this Palm Springs based Russian beauty is attracting year-round modern and contemporary art addicts who flock to the Coachella Valley.

By Sean Borg
Art history is built on a foundation of unforgettable stories; fascinating, bold, sometimes tragic, full of romance, and most of all over owing with mesmerizing personalities.
There is a reason why we say, “That’s a Picasso.” as if we are in the presence of the artist himself. Part of that history is due to the monumental role art dealers play in an artist’s life. Elena Bulatova does both.

Please join us for tomorrow's party!We have opened a new Elena Bulatova Fine Art gallery in Las Vegas at The Shops at Crystals (housing some of the best work available in contemporary art); prominent placement at the Southwest Arts Festival saw great sales and countless new fans of Elena's work; and our recent selection for the cover of Live Magazine has prompted an amazing night of cocktails, catered appetizers (by Trio Restaurant and 360 North), and great conversation for our collectors, friends and neighbors. That's right, we will be hosting an event here in Palm Springs in our renowned outdoor art garden on February 10th! The event is scheduled to take place from 5-8pm, but, as always, we will be open until 10pm.We hope you'll be able to make it to this great event tomorrow! Friends and guests are welcome. Our in-home design services, obligation-free home demos, and stress-free commissions still set us apart in the art world. Please join us for tomorrow's party!We have opened a new Elena Bulatova Fine Art gallery in Las Vegas at The Shops at Crystals (housing some of the best work available in contemporary art); prominent placement at the Southwest Arts Festival saw great sales and countless new fans of Elena's work; and our recent selection for the cover of Live Magazine has prompted an amazing night of cocktails, catered appetizers (by Trio Restaurant and 360 North), and great conversation for our collectors, friends and neighbors. That's right, we will be hosting an event here in Palm Springs in our renowned outdoor art garden on February 10th! The event is scheduled to take place from 5-8pm, but, as always, we will be open until 10pm.We hope you'll be able to make it to this great event tomorrow! Friends and guests are welcome. Our in-home design services, obligation-free home demos, and stress-free commissions still set us apart in the art world.


Picasso, for example, would not be a household name without Ambroise Vollard, a brilliant individual in his own right who helped with exposure, nances and, most importantly, emotional support for an array of now historically signficant artists.
However, today, when I think about my taste in art I am not focused so much on the “old-school” contemporaries as I used to be. I’m not vying for a Warhol, a Lichtenstein, a Basquiat or even a Baldessari, just to say, “Oh I have one of those hanging on my wall!” (shame on me, I hear you all scream...) But my true belief is that we have to keep moving forward and discov- er the new and talented creatives of our day.
Nowadays when I’m thinking of buying eye-popping, drama for my walls I turn to a new type of neo-expressionist artist — and what springs to mind are the likes of Elena Bulatova and her partner Efi Mashiah at the Elena Bulatova Fine Art gallery.
Since arriving in Palm Springs few years ago, Bulatova has split her time between painting, and working in her gallery that she co-owns with Israel born artist, Mashiah in the heart of downtown.
Even though Bulatova was trained in the most well known Russian art schools for over seven years, music was her rst freedom of expression, and the arts were an integral part of her childhood.
A born natural, Bulatova played the piano and sang in the school choir. She even played the violin in the Chamber Orchestra. “In Russia, it’s important that Arts be part of your education.” Elena told LIVE Magazine. “Russia is big in the arts. We have a lot of museums. So when we traveled the first thing we see is art everywhere. I was close to art all my life.”
She graduated from Moscow State University with honors and a golden medal in 2006. In 2007, she was the only Russian student to receive the prestigious Fox International Fellowship, a graduate student exchange program between Yale University and thirteen world-renowned academic partners, to attend Yale University.
For some time I’ve been intrigued by the expansion of the colorful shows at Elena and E ’s space that has recently seen them expanding their brand to the Las Vegas Strip. So I was excited to learn more about their approach to exhibiting their works, curating their shows and about the sort of works by other artists that make an impact on them.
I initially decided to interview them because I wanted to share with you the perspective and experience of unconventional entrepreneurs. What follows is our exchange and why the Bulatova story was even more interesting and educational than I had originally expected!
I first met Elena and Efi well over a year ago, and in that time, not only have I seen Palm Springs grow as a city, but the Elena Bulatova Fine Art gallery itself has become one of the most sought after galleries. Snowbirds, sun seekers, art lovers, new home buyers and interior designers to boot to the Coachella Valley during Season looking for new directions in art and design.
It is a known fact that exceptional art dealers must be intelligent, knowledgeable, intuitive, educated, and business oriented – and that’s just scratching the surface. As artists, art dealers and gallerists, Elena and Efi , fit the role on all accounts.
This modern and glamorous couple graciously sat down for a LIVE Magazine Q&A to discuss the inner workings of their job at the gallery, their working relationship, their art passions, and just how vital a good artist and art dealer is to any other great artist as the word “Inspiration” comes into play!

Sean: Borg: Elena, what makes the whole process so exciting for you? Elena: Creative part of it, making new things that didn’t exist before and can last for decades.
Sean: What kind of artists are you drawn to? Is there a thread to your favorite artists?
Elena: My favorite are Picasso and Jeff Koons.
Sean: How did you meet Efi?
Elena: We used to live in Miami in the same building together and had common friends. At some point we decided that we will go to California to be in the art business.
Sean: How did you get into business together?
Elena: Efi was an art dealer already for 10 years when I met him. So he played an important role guiding me in the beginning as an artist. Later on we changed our roles as Efi started to do his screw art and I gave him advice from the point of view of another artist.
Sean: Efi, tell about your “Screw-Art” collection.
Efi : I am working to make recycled materials into sculptures, incorporating used Coca-Cola cans to build bikes and screws as the main medium to create the three-dimensional artworks. I don’t rely on a computer to pixelate my works, I just make a grid and drill in screws at certain key points (like the tip of the nose) to establish the depth of the artwork. I consider these paintings as sculptures and all my screws are at different depths. There’s nothing planned out. I draw out a figure on the board and figure out the depths. The screw holes have to be drilled beforehand, to make sure the screws go in straight. I love the unpredictability of found materials and enjoy the inventiveness necessary to transform them into a sculpture.


Sean: Why art? Why do you do what you do?
Elena: I need to express myself. I do what I like. Creating paintings and running the art galleries covers two of my passions; art and business.

Sean: What role does the artist have in society?
Efi : Art can help us understand our humanity and the historical conditions we live in.
Sean: How has your practice changed over time?
Elena: I started with making abstract paintings and moved to pop art. I am making sculptures now as well. I want to progress to large installations. As an artist you always want to grow and change.
Sean: What’s your favorite art work and what themes do you pursue now?

Elena: My latest series are lollipop sculptures, “The Sweet Life”. The bright colors of the sculptures celebrate life. I overstate candies that lure, charm, tease, disarm and surprise. Through the use of scale, color, and intensity in the forms, the lollipops we take for granted become aesthetically pleasing and seductive in atypical ways. They activate the cravings people have for the things that give them pleasure and force them to surrender. The sensual nature of the works stimulates basic human needs that generate desires and passion. They show society’s striving to fulfillment and happiness through possession of things that ends in dependency.
Sean: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Elena: I had been working in a bank and investment fund. I have a business education, in addition to seven years in art school in Russia. Also I played violin in chamber orchestra while in Moscow State University.
Sean: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Elena: It happened to me several times that people come to gallery and say that they had walls for ten years and couldn’t find art that they like. Then they choose my abstracts. I didn’t even paint full time ten years ago! And for me it means a lot.
Sean: Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Elena: Not at all. Sometimes there are too many people in it. So you have to get away to concentrate on making art. Otherwise E and I are in our galleries all the time meeting collectors and visitors and introducing them to our paintings and sculptures.

Sean: What do you like about your work?
Efi : The feedback from the people. How they get surprised with my art
or discuss or guess the process of making it. Sean: Name something you love, and why.
Efi : I love to travel as it opens horizons. And I can’t sit in one place. I need to be on the move and do something; create art, meet people.
Sean: What is your dream project?
Efi : I studied architecture and it can be seen in my work which is very structural with direct lines. My dream project is to build my own house. Sean: Tell me about your new gallery in Las Vegas. That must be exciting.

E : My Palm Springs studio is a pretty close drive to Las Vegas. There are not so many galleries there compared to traditional big US cities. The city is growing from a gambling-only destination to a place where you can find best chefs, great nightclubs and even family entertainment with kids. I believe the art scene is very promising there, as people who visit have appreciation for fine things. We are located within Gallery Row of the Shops at Crystals in Aria within the ultra modern CityCenter.
Elena: It has been a year in the making; from idea, to finding and securing the place, creating artwork and moving to Las Vegas! Elena Bulatova Fine Art is located next to big names like world-renowned artists whose careers span for decades, Dale Chihuly and sculptor Richard Mac- Donald. I am proud it is on Gallery Row and part of Shops at Crystals at CityCenter. It is a 500,000 square foot shopping mall and entertainment district that features fashionable clubs, gourmet restaurants, retailers, and galleries located on the Las Vegas Strip. In the neighborhood of retail shops, dining and entertainment venues, it forms the core of the CityCenter complex.

Sean: How perfect for you! Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Efi : I don’t want to be compared to anybody really.
Sean: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Elena: You may have it tough. But there’s always someone out there who has it worse. So just be appreciative and be grateful for everything you have.
Sean: Give me your top three tips you would give to young artists who wants to make a living through their art.
Elena: 1. Paint a lot to perfect your technique. 2. Get out from the studio and do multiple shows so your art gets seen. And, 3. Be always positive and optimistic. Believe in yourself!

Sean: Professionally, what’s your goal?
Elena: To engage individuals in a deep and personal way, To draw them into thinking whether our reality needs to be changed.

Sean: What’s next for Elena Bulatova?
Elena: What’s next is very interesting as Las Vegas presents so many opportunities! I received an offer to do a solo exhibit in Mexico and will be traveling there in February. Another offer came from a gallery in New York to showcase my art. In addition to my gallery in Palm Springs, my available paintings hang in the luxury office suites, The Five Hundred, and in the restaurant, 360 North. We will be putting around thirty of my paintings in Hyatt Palm Springs next month. That will add to a lively art scene in town!
Sean: What wouldn’t you do without? Efi and Elena: Love!

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Алена Булатова
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