Jesus is a frequent guest in Konstantin's paintings. Not certain where this sighting was, but the wall in the background looks like the one around the Kremlin. Konstantin is not much of a church-goer, but he identifies with Jesus' asceticism. To him, art and nature are daily miracles and a direct link to the spiritual.



Konstantine loves fishing. If you run into him and want a good topic for smalltalk (forget about sports!) you can reliably get him started on fishing. He'll tell you about how, when he was young, he would get up before dawn with his father and brother to go fishing. The whole time they would be super quiet, barely even saying a word to each other, so they wouldn't scare off the fish. This is why they'd actually catch some, unlike certain loud idiots who never caught anything. It's been a while since I've heard him tell it, but you get the idea. Before he found art, fishing was his great love.



© 1973   Konstantin Bokov
A typical town in Russia during the 1970s. I'm once again amazed at the sheer variety of styles Konstantin has explored during his long and prolific career as an artist. The delicate, dreamy painting you see here was made by the same artist who makes space aliens out of plastic bottles and playful, folksy paintings of birds watering flowers.

Sorry, no Google Streetview for this one ;-)


Old Folks

© 1972 Konstantin Bokov
A few days ago, my mother came to visit and brought a family photo album. Among photos that are treasures just to us, I found a few that you might enjoy. The original paintings are still in Russia because he created them before he immigrated to the US. These must be among the oldest Bokov paintings findable on the web. I have three more, which will be the subject of the next three posts.


Bird, watering flowers.

What kind of bird? Nobody knows. Maybe a penguin wearing a Hussar uniform? Maybe a crow? Like a number of other pieces from his Recycling Art series, this one hung for a while on a wrought iron fence in a tiny, nameless park at the corner of Pinehurst and West 181st Street in Washington Heights. If it had been hanging there at the time the Google van passed by, you would have seen it somewhere near the middle of the StreetView image (below), to the right of the landing on the stone staircase. Washington Heights was Konstantin Bokov's haunt for a long time, and now I can talk more freely about specific places because he has moved.

By the way, funny story about his guerilla park exhibits-- according to him, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation has started securing the art he has hung on some of their fences with special wire in order to discourage theft and vandalism. Does this mean that the Parks and Recreation people no longer consider his art itself to be vandalism? If so, this is a small victory for the respectability of street art. And the writing is on the wall, so to speak, for you collectors of street art-- keep your eyes open and grab it while you can because it's only a matter of time before they bring out the plexiglass and motion detectors!

Update: smaginnis11565 on Flickr has posted a few photos of Konstantin's art at that very spot.

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Bridge Cafe

© 2009 Konstantin Bokov
The Bridge Cafe, Water Street, New York. By the way, a while ago the Russian-American art site Ycrop ran an article about him (here is the English translation) with a number of works that are not on this blog. Have a look!

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Pantheon, Paris

In 1983 Konstantin Bokov stayed at Cite Internationale des Arts and while there created many paintings and sketches of Paris and its inhabitants. This one is of the Pantheon, but I don't know which building the tower in front of it belongs to, couldn't find the corresponding Google Street View, and for now will have to settle for an overhead view. Does anybody recognize this specific location? Please post. It's an art scavenger hunt!

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Peppers and red mug.

A still-life. We ate a lot of vegetables, and my father painted a lot of vegetables. In a corner of the room we shared there was usually an arrangement of the next day's meal with some artful drapery and utensils around it.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

© 1980 Konstantin Bokov

Wow, now this is a blast from the past. I haven't seen a collage from this series in years, but back when I was a kid, our house was full of them. My father was still learning English, and he did it by reading voraciously. He would read one magazine after another and look up words he didn't know in the dictionary. At dinner he would tell my mom and me what he read. For a while he went through a science, paranormal, and science-fiction phase, so we got to hear all about UFOs, Isaac Asimov's robot stories, the Loch Ness monster, and more mainstream news from the world of astrophysics and astronomy. His reading inspired his work, because when he was done reading a magazine he would cut it up and make it into a collage like the one you see here. There used to be hundreds of them, I don't know where they all went. I also don't know if he made this one before or after we saw Starwars IV: A New Hope, but it looks familiar, doesn't it?


Subway slumbers.

There is no such thing as downtime for Konstantin. If he's awake and sitting still, he's drawing something. Like many New Yorkers, he spends a lot of time in the subway, and finds there an endless source of models. The sleeping ones are especially good because they hold a pose longer.


Not one day without a picture!

© 1986 Konstantin Bokov

I just got back from visiting Konstantin Bokov in Manhattan, and brought back a TON of photos of him and his art. I am going to try to post a new piece of art here every day from now on. Enjoy!

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.
--John Lennon


Take me to your leader.

© 1990 Konstantin Bokov

Hello, hello. This is a mixed media collage I made. I hope you like it. For more of my works, please have a look at the RO Gallery site. --KB