I got acquainted with the Russian-American artist, Anna Slonim, twelve years ago, it can be said quite by accident. At that time, I was in Moscow, where I had about a year to be the chief editor and publisher of Hecho A Mano, a magazine about cigars and beautiful life. I liked my position, especially since I was rather young, compared with the industry masters, the chief editor.
And here I am sitting in my office, and suddenly the secretary transfers the call to my phone. I pick up the phone and hear a ringing and energetic female voice, which, after a long rant, invites me for tea.
– You will come?
“Yes, of course,” I blurted out unexpectedly.
And after twenty minutes the driver drove me towards the mysterious voice, and, as I hoped, to the promised tea. And neither tea, nor a voice disappointed me. Anna Slonim turned out to be a bright personality, a hospitable hostess and a talented artist, whose paintings depicted strong, sensual and mysterious women.
We drank tea, talked, and I promised Anya a publication in a magazine. But the article was not approved by the owner of the magazine, Gleb Basmanov. For reasons, then, a mystery to me, and now, after years have become more understandable, strong women do not always find a response in the minds and hearts of ‘power holders’.
After my first meeting with Anya Slonim, two years passed. I went to London, and Anna continued to paint in her studio in Arizona. Without forgetting about each other, we, nevertheless, did not actively maintain communication. Moreover, Anya is a completely alien person to the Internet and modern communications. She loves to call only by landline phone, and to communicate face to face. Perhaps because of this traditional character, it was exhibited more and more at exhibitions and galleries, as they say live, and was not at all presented in a virtual-digital format.
I am an advanced person in the sense of technology, despite the fact that I also love personal communication, I still realize the importance of virtual worlds and modern means of communication.
The next time I met with Anya in London. She came to visit me. We walked a lot, talked about life, visited exhibitions, discussed art and made plans. Anya drew new pictures by then, and I launched my own digital format magazine, Avantoure – life is a game. Being a lover of digital technology and fast-growing 3D mobile communications, I tried to persuade Anya to buy a mobile phone and be ‘in the subject’, but she denied it and said that she would live without this theme.
– Well, at least post pictures of your paintings on the Saatchi Gallery online platform – I persuaded her.
And she only dismissed me. However, by the end of her visit I still managed to throw a couple of her works on the Internet.
“Well, at least something,” I thought. After all, I wanted so much that people could admire her paintings not only in the galleries of Tucson, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, but anywhere in the world.
We broke up again, but this time for a long time. Since then, having changed several countries, I settled in Geneva, and Anya, without moving anywhere from Tucson, Arizona, continued to draw and exhibit at exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, and Moscow.
And one sunny autumn day the virtual world brought me news from Ani. Her letter fell into my e-mail box, and our connection resumed again, as if there had not been several years of separation. This time, our worlds have joined together in order to, by interacting, create an artistic-writing symbiosis. In our new collaboration, we each found something that we lacked. Anya no longer denies the virtual space, and I am attracted by her rootedness in the real world. I find inspiration in her paintings for my stories, and she in my approach to life. She is glad to inspire, and I am glad to be inspired, and vice versa.