Viktor Safonkin

Viktor Safonkin

Country: Russia

Biography of Viktor Safonkin

An Unconventional Path

Viktor Safonkin is a self-taught artist whose paintings now sell for tens of thousands of euros. He embarked on an unconventional journey, leaving behind his life as a Soviet engineer to pursue his dream of becoming a surrealist artist in Europe. At the age of 30, with his wife and son, he ventured into a new world without any formal art education and with paintings that were far from the traditional themes of cats or bouquets of lilacs. Although this decision may have seemed foolish at the time, the tens of thousands of euros that his art now commands prove otherwise. Viktor Safonkin is truly an extraordinary individual.

A Journey into Surrealism

When asked about his artistic education, Viktor Safonkin admits that he has only a basic technical education and no formal artistic training. Painting started as a hobby for him, something he did for himself while serving in the army. However, his paintings caught the attention of a cunning sergeant who traded one of Safonkin's works for a Japanese cassette recorder. Despite his lack of formal education, his unique style, which he describes as "phantasmagoric," emerged. His paintings depicted a fisherman sitting in a boat, observing a world below him, while the fish observed him. These works became popular, with fragments of the plaster even being stolen.

A Serious Pursuit

Safonkin's passion for art grew while working in a gas boiler room. He would often find himself lost in his thoughts and would fill notebook after notebook with his drawings. Eventually, his paintings started gaining attention from various individuals, including drug addicts and successful businessmen. One of his paintings titled "Shepherd" was sold for 800 dollars, a significant sum for him at the time. Safonkin used the money to buy his wife a gift, deviating from the original plan to use it for his own comfort.

A Leap of Faith

Despite the stability of his job and personal life, Safonkin felt that he was not in the right place. The word "artist" scared him, but he knew that he didn't belong in the boiler room either. With the support of his wife, he made the bold decision to leave everything behind and relocate to Prague. His family was initially bewildered by his choice, but Safonkin believed in his instincts and the need to follow his artistic calling. With his wife's understanding and acceptance, they packed their bags and embarked on a new journey.

A Road to Success

Life in Prague was not easy for Safonkin. He found shelter with a friend and spent six months in seclusion, painting and honing his craft. Despite the challenges, his dedication paid off, and his paintings started selling. However, the desire to return home remained strong. Safonkin credits his wife's unwavering support as the reason he stayed in Prague, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right partner. He believes that women are the leaders and that choosing the right woman is essential for a man's success. Safonkin and his wife have since built a strong foundation, and their son has grown up to become a musician.

Recognition and Collaboration

Safonkin's artwork has garnered attention from various musicians, actors, and directors. His paintings have been purchased by artists such as the vocalist of Killing Joke, who saw his music reflected in Safonkin's works. His paintings have also been featured on album covers and were even considered for an album by Russian musician Egor Letov, but unfortunately, the project did not come to fruition. Safonkin's talent has also caught the eye of renowned filmmakers Guillermo del Toro and Terry Gilliam, who have acquired his works and collaborated with him on film projects.

A Life of Dedication

Today, Safonkin continues to dedicate himself to his craft, working tirelessly every day. He wakes up early, paints all day, and goes to the gym three times a week for health reasons. He values his solitude and avoids socializing, believing that gatherings dampen one's true essence. Safonkin finds fulfillment in creating art and believes in self-restraint and discipline to achieve success. His work ethic and talent have resulted in an impressive portfolio of over 500 paintings.

A Lasting Legacy

Viktor Safonkin, born in 1967 in Saransk, Russia, is considered a prominent figure in contemporary European symbolism. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Salvador Dalí International Alliance Prize. Safonkin currently resides in Prague, where he owns the "Parnas" gallery. He is married and has a son who is pursuing a career in music. Safonkin's ongoing exhibitions in Prague, St. Petersburg, and Kyiv showcase his incredible talent and artistic energy.