Feature Article

Opening Gallery Doors

Professor Vladimir Zimakov

Zimakov in the Wedeman Gallery.

Vladimir Zimakov brings a global perspective to his new role as Diane Heath Beever '49 Associate Professor of Art and director of the Wedeman Gallery. The printmaker/illustrator/graphic designer, who works in a variety of traditional and digital media, has illustrated books and designed covers for novels by Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Herman Melville and others, working with leading publishers including Penguin and Random House. He has an MA in Communication Design from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London and a BFA in Illustration from the Kansas City Art Institute. Prior to his Lasell appointment, Zimakov was chair of the Graphic Design department at the Art Institute of California in Los Angeles. The Moscow native lives in Newton Upper Falls with his wife, economist Katya Fonkych, and their two young daughters. Leaves met with the energetic professor in his eclectic Yamawaki Art and Cultural Center office, where the music-typically jazz or underground Russian rock, with some Tom Waits or Nick Cave thrown in-is often on.

What attracted you to Lasell? Its unique environment and location. From my first visit, I fell in love with the campus and felt a great sense of community. The school is close enough to the energy of Boston and New York but far enough from the hectic pace of those cities.

Comment on your plans to make Wedeman Gallery "more than just a physical space." Our focus is no longer limited solely to visual art. We want to reach out to the wider artistic community, locally and globally. Having the gallery open on Saturdays and holding opening receptions on weekends are both ways of doing that. We've established a Gallery blog and plan to showcase artist talks, interviews, workshops and guest lectures. The goal is to explore some of the amazing things happening in music, theater, book publishing and digital media and how those disciplines interact with one another.

What artist has most influenced you? Flemish Renaissance painter/printmaker Pieter Breughel the Elder, without a doubt!

How has your country of origin shaped your visual aesthetic? Moscow continues to have a tremendous influence on my work. When my family moved to the US, I began drawing the Soviet style buildings I grew up around, perhaps as a way to keep the connection. Those images are part of my design vocabulary.

Your hobbies and passions? I'm an avid collector of all things printed: books, stamps, postcards, print ephemera. You can also often find me looking for jazz and rock albums on vinyl.

How would you define your educational philosophy? Education is a constant process and should never be limited to classroom time. The one-to-one connection between student and teacher that Lasell fosters is critical.

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