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Life & Work with Irina Koren

Today we’d like to introduce you to Irina Koren.  

Hi Irina, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
When I was 6 years old, my parents took me to the museum. I remember seeing my first Van Gogh painting. Standing under the painting and looking up I could see brushstrokes weaving through the canvas; as I moved further away, I saw a horse-drawn carriage materialize. The painting had so many different perspectives and possibilities all on one canvas. I knew then that art was magic, and I wanted to create that magic. I wanted to create art that would make people feel the way I did that day at the museum. This notion still drives my work today. I want the viewer to feel the wonder, beauty, and the element of surprise when they look at my work. This drives me to use different textures, mixed media, and found objects. Art truly makes you feel alive, and it is a language that can bring different cultures together. Living in the Soviet Union, I couldn’t have my own business as an artist. That dream came true in America. I came to the US when I was 22; through hard work and dedication, I was able to open Irina’s Art Studio. I started my own business the same year my daughter was born, my first mural was in her room. I continued painting murals, giving art workshops and art classes as well as exhibiting work at art galleries around the world. In August of 2020, I drove across the country to continue my artistic journey on the west coast. It’s been challenging with the pandemic and taking care of my elderly parents but also very rewarding. The beauty of coastal San Diego inspired me to create more vibrant work. I love the diverse art community of SD. I’m grateful for the support of local art lovers as well as the tourists. I exhibited my work at Las Laguna Art Gallery, Hugo Rivera Gallery, and Art on 30th Gallery. I also teach at the Bravo School of art and give private lessons. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Coming to America, it was my dream to start my own business, but it was not easy. All I had was my paintbrush and a dream. I had to let people know what I can do, and enough local businesses believed in me; it is thanks to their support I’m able to do what I love. I started painting murals at restaurants and giving art lessons, and my business flourished. But then the pandemic hit! I could not paint inside people’s houses or businesses, all galleries closed, so I had to find another way to keep my business afloat. I started painting custom art and sending it to people as well as teaching art classes online. Looking back, I think this experience made me stronger as an artist and as a businesswoman 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a contemporary artist; I create custom art for home and office, Such as landscapes, portraits, murals, and more. I also am a live event artist, painting at weddings and corporate events. My absolute favorite is painting portraits of people and their pets. There is no better feeling than giving someone my painting and seeing tears of joy in their eyes. I remember a customer giving me an old photograph of his grandmother and I was able to paint a portrait of her that he and his family can cherish for generations to come. The joy it gives me is indescribable. Every painting I create is unique and one of a kind, 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I believe that art is what people need to get through hard times; it sure helped me stay positive and keep going. 

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