Alex Mikhailau wants you to know that it doesn’t take much to try your hand at art.
Subtle Beauty of Kitimat is Mikhailau’s second ever full exhibit, being hosted at the Smithers Art Gallery (SAG) until June 15.
As Mikhailau explains, his own entrance into painting was through a bit of a coincidence.
“In school [my daughter] was drawing and painting different things … one of our friends, they gave her a french field easel as a gift on her birthday but she never used it and it was sitting there for almost a year,” he said.
“[It was] completely out of my world because I never painted, my parents never painted — [so] I tried to use it.
“Now I can’t stop.”
Born in Belarus in 1981, Mikhailau immigrated to Canada in 2013 when he first moved to Calgary.
His favourite medium is oil and he said he tends to paint landscapes and other scenes around him that bring him happiness.
“I was lucky enough to have beauty in various forms surround me all my life… at some point quantity transformed into quality and I started painting,” he says in a description of the exhibit at SAG.
When asked about his decision to leave Belarus for Canada, he said it was one him and his wife took mostly out of curiosity and a desire for a change of scenery.
With Canada being one of the few countries that offered a federal program for skilled workers (Mikhailau holds a master’s degree in biotechnology) they chose it as their destination.
Pointing to his own unconventional jump into the world of art, he said that the medium doesn’t take as much commitment as you’d think — at least to get started.
“I think the whole difference between the human world and animal world is actually that we can imagine, we can create and these two things [are] so tied together … basically anybody who imagines something is already an artist in a way.”
Subtle Beauty of Kitimat runs until June 15 at SAG.
In 2018 Mikhailau presented his art at the Kitimat Museum as part of the “Northwest Artists” exhibition.
He has also had his work displayed in museums in Prince Rupert, with solo exhibitions scheduled in Terrace and Kitimat for this year.