Sasha Pivovarova, the supermodel who captivated the world with her ethereal beauty, is making a mark on the art world from her Hampton studio with work that’s as mesmerizing as its creator.
Pink heart gown, $9,800, at Valentino, Americana Manhasset; Mahe ring, $525, at pascalemonvoisin.com; vintage belt, stylist’s own.
To fashion fans, Sasha Pivovarova is the Russian supernova whose catlike eyes and angelic features ushered in an era, some years ago, of otherworldly beauty that strongly defined a fashion moment. Few knew that behind her fashion facade was an artist in the making, one who favored the work of Niki de Saint Phalle and Cindy Sherman and studied art history way before the cameras of the world’s top photographers caught her hypnotizing glare. Over time, this global citizen who calls the Hamptons home dedicated herself to her creative voice, expressing it often through graphic black drawings (Pivovarova’s trademark) executed in free form with gusto and body-shaped sculptures made of colorful tape manipulated into a mosaic-like formation. Christian Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri took notice of Pivovarova’s art and engaged not only the model, but also her work, in the maison’s spring 2018 campaign that celebrated women artists. Today encouraged by Igor Vishnyakov, the renowned photographer who happens to be her husband, the talented Pivovarova is more committed than ever to her craft, which may one day rival her supermodel status.
What is your first memory involving the arts? I remember my mom bringing me to museums back in Moscow when I was a child. I was impressed with this perfect and precise world of the masters. I always created and drew as long as I can remember. I would invent my own characters for stories and fairy tales. I even went to school for art history to learn about the masters, but I never wanted to learn techniques how to paint. That felt like it would kill my own expression and emotions.
Long cotton and lace embroidered dress, $6,900, L’amour surrealism layered necklace, $710, and bracelet, $490, all at Dior, Americana Manhasset.
What informs your work? Feelings play a huge role in my art. It’s important for me to convey intense emotion from each character. The faces I paint are like notes in a symphony; they are all meant to create a composition of different feelings and emotions. It’s like music that speaks directly to my heart.
What is your preferred method of working? I enjoy working with a big scale in an expressive manner. It gives me a lot of freedom. I love working on drawings and sculptures especially during a calm moment in my life. But I’m not limited in any way by the media or technique. I use oil, acrylic, synthetic plastic materials, ink, pencils, Scotch tape, basically anything that leaves a mark. I wake up in the morning and draw. Before I go to bed, I draw. I identify as an artist; the method is just the means.
Has this identification influenced you as a model? I always used creativity a lot during my career. You have to imagine a character and play into it. It’s like a theater of your mind. I would carry my sketchbook everywhere and often sketched backstage at fashion shows. From early on everyone in fashion knew I had this other world.
Is that how Maria Grazia Chiuri discovered your artistic side and used it in Dior’s spring 2018 collection? I was so honored to work simultaneously as an artist and a model on Dior’s campaign and have an exhibition of my works for the launch of the campaign in New York. I curated my own show from 50 works that included paintings, works on paper, sculptures, video art and interactive installations envisioned as a room the audience could walk into and be a part of. Collaborating with Dior on this project was a very important and happy moment for me for many reasons.
Embroidered sleeveless heart card evening gown, $22,000, Amulette d’amour choker, $650, Amulette d’amour layered necklace, $650, and bracelets, price upon request, all at Dior, Americana Manhasset; Mahe ring, $525, at pascalemonvoisin.com.
What are you working on next? I’d like to show my art more often and am dreaming about organizing live art sessions, a kind of performance art experience.
With your success as a model and an artist, what is your idea of happiness today? Holding my daughter’s hand. Becoming a mother has brought me so much joy. We paint together and play with arts and crafts. It’s my very special universe with her that gives me incredible amounts of happiness.