I was born in the U.S. in 1971 of an American father and a Russian mother. While growing up I spent several summers in Moscow visiting my grandmother and perfecting my cello playing. In 2001 I moved to Russia and spent the next seven years studying art.
I started at one of Moscow's art academies, but found the approach to be very unsatisfactory. They were still carrying on with the tradition of Socialist Realism. A year and a half into my stay I met a remarkable teacher, Igor Ivanovich Omel'chenko. He became my mentor for the rest of my stay in Russia.
The remarkable side of his teaching was his ability to foster my growth without hampering me with rigid preconceived ideas. Instead of forcing me into some mold he allowed the artist in me to come out, grow its wings and soar. Like a shrewd gardener he simply pruned away undesirable growth.