Val Vaniakin is a multimedia artist from Tashkent, Uzbekistan (former USSR). One of the great ancient cities of the Orient, Tashkent is famous for its unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures. This blend shapes Val’s distinctive artistic perspective and techniques, which can be experienced through his watercolor creations.
After studying art for five years, Val had earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 at the Uzbekistan Institute of Arts. Over the next few years, he demonstrated his range of techniques in Uzbekistan, working with murals, frescoes, sgraffito, and mosaics. In 1991, Val relocated to Paris, where he began his work as a freelance portrait artist in Montmartre. Along with portraiture, he was commissioned to paint copies of artists such as Salvador Dali and Tamara de Lempicka for private collections.
In 1993, Val had moved to the U.S., where he resumed his art career as a muralist. Combining his knowledge of classical and abstract painting with supergraphics and techniques of trompe l’oeil, he had completed murals for companies such as Harley Davidson, Mike’s Place Irish Pub, Hampton Roads’ Americano Restaurant, and WPEN TV in Newport News. After fulfilling these projects, he was hired by Evergreen Studios for the production of an oil on canvas mural in the Venetian Hotel of Las Vegas. In 2000, Val had moved back to Richmond, VA, where he began displaying his oil landscape paintings in shows such as Neptune and Art in the Park, along with the Kudos and Chasen galleries. Currently, he is continuing his art career with wet on wet watercolor landscape paintings that explore the concepts of ephemerality and spontaneous emotional expression.
As a former solo guitarist, Val had gained a great love for creating the powerful exchange of energy between his audience and himself through improvisation. The freedom to share this raw emotion was always an important part of his life, and through his desire to rediscover the thrill of improvisation, he formed his recent passion for wet on wet watercolor painting. Unlike other forms of painting, watercolor allowed Val to depict a single layer of emotion within a short span of time, just like in music. Being able to work through different thoughts as the water guided him, he took advantage of the unique factor of working with water, where you cannot fully predict what will happen next. The spontaneous decisions and adjustments allowed him to depict feelings of fiery passion or moody solitude at a greater depth through his vibrant landscapes.