By Artists For Artists

Oleg Dou: Haunted and Provocative

Whether in stories or art, the extraordinary and mythical has always drawn people in. The possibility these otherworldly creatures present creates an absent reflection of the viewer’s abilities and thoughts. A young Russian visionary Oleg Dou skilfully uses this nature of human beings in a series of artworks and sculptures depicting peculiar characters and scenes.

Growing up in an artistic household, Dou started drawing and experimenting with photo editing and manipulation from a very young age. A striking talent, he was discovered by a gallery representative within a year of purchasing his first camera. His work is essentially a mirror for humanity, a way to recognize both outer beauty and hidden monsters in a provocative yet fascinating way by exploring themes of social interaction, conflict, death, and beauty.

Today, represented by galleries all around the world, Oleg Dou is one of the most promising contemporary artists of his generation. Characterized by anomalous subjects and provocative themes, the artist and his vision remain extremely relevant on the current art scene. As MINUS37, we could not pass the opportunity to dive deeper into the psyche of Oleg Dou.

"Now I Know" by Oleg Dou, 2017

Tell us a little bit about your life. Was art always present?

As a child, I remember myself being fascinated by the technology and process of image production. This included everything from classical paintings to computer graphics and design. I was always drawing, retouching photos with Photoshop, or trying my hand at 3D design. It all started as a hobby and turned into a career for me. 

"Mysterious Cave" by Oleg Dou, 2018

What is your artistic background, when and how did you start? How did you end up with the style you currently work in?

I worked as a Graphic Designer while studying Economics and Programming at the university. Then, at 23, I got my first camera and my love for photography blossomed. While I didn’t intend to develop a certain style, that’s precisely what happened over a lot of time and experiments at work.

How do you usually work? Walk us through the process.

Currently, I’m working on a series of new works, creating both images and objects. My idea for this project is to mix contemporary with archaic and antic. I like having a tradition and seeing how it can work with modern materials, how it can translate into new ideas. Creating something relevant and timeless at the same time is one of the main goals of my work. With the images, I start with the sketch, then I find a model or an object, take studio photos, and then retouch.

"Miracle of Lactation" by Oleg Dou, 2018

What are the sources of your inspiration and ideas?

I love art, architecture, philosophy, music, cinema, traveling.

Tell us about the journey to your first gallery show/exhibition. How was your work discovered?

I have a few galleries I work with. Two of them found me over the Internet portfolio websites. I won a few photography prizes ten years ago (2007 International Color Awards, 2008 International Photography Awards, 2009 Arte Laguna Art Prize), which also helped me to find people who wanted work with me.

"Strange Year" by Oleg Dou, 2017

What is the main message behind what you do?

It doesn’t have a ‘message’. I want to concoct a situation that happens, for example, in European films: there doesn’t seem to be a specific message, but the situation plays with our head and makes us wonder ‘what is this?’ and ‘what is this for?’

"Impossible Love" by Oleg Dou, 2018

Could you give any tips or tricks for young emerging artists?

Never be satisfied with what you do.

All images and text courtesy of Oleg Dou

You can view more work by Oleg on his Instagram and website.

Intro written by Natalie Kotok

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