California Artist Sasha T. Heading to China to Exhibit His New Works - The Californian
Santee artist heading to China to exhibit his work
Sasha Toporovsky is an artist in rare form. Not only has he carved out a living for himself, supporting his wife, son and daughter, his art has been hand-picked for an exhibit in a gallery in China. In February, Toporovsky’s work will be shown at the art museum in Guangzhou, that country’s third largest city.
Naturally, the Santee resident is ecstatic about the opportunity. He plans on going out to China for the opening of the show.
“They even offered to pay for my accommodations and food while I’m out there, so they really would like to have me there,” he said.
Yet even with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Toporovsky knows his true success.
“The biggest success of all I have had is in becoming a professional artist and actually making a living off of it. Majority of artists work a regular job and do art on the side.
“However, I have had milestones in my career, which include having a painting as part of the Clinton Presidential Library permanent collection. I have paintings in privet collections. And, yes, going to China with my art is defiantly a huge jump onto the international stage.
Toporovsky got his big break in part because of a group of Chinese investors opening up galleries throughout the world. He was introduced to Nimin Chen, one of their representatives, who has a gallery in San Diego called Oil Painting Town.
Chen liked his work asked if he might be interested in showing in China. The art investors had decided to have an exhibit and invite a select number of American artists including Toporovsky to come and show in China.
No doubt that his work caught Nimin’s eye for the play of light in his paintings. His work is done almost exclusively on metal now. Originally, he had painted on traditional surfaces such as canvas, line and board.
When Toporovsky was commissioned to do a koi fish painting, his client stipulated that the painting had to feel ultra-modern, to match all the metal work in his house. Toporovsky met the challenge, choosing distressed stainless steel as the media for his painting. The colors and broad brush stokes that he used, along with allowing much of the metal to gleam though the painting, became his trademark style, as a result of that commissioned piece.
Murals are a specialty of Toporovsky. He has painted for private residences and commercial properties.
The largest mural he has ever painted was for Mira Mesa High School on the side of their gymnasium.
“This is a 30-foot tall, 120-foot long mural and was probably the most challenging and satisfying mural I have ever done. We even had KUSI news come out and do a story on it during its unveiling,” he said.
Using whatever tools are at his disposal, such as photographs, drawings and his own imagination, Toporovsky’s paintings are usually a collection of thoughts and ideas. Typically, he paints from a photograph, unless he is doing a commissioned piece for a client.
Unlike some artists, Toporovsky did not imagine himself as an artist from an early age. It wasn’t until he got into college and took a design class that art became a career choice for him.
“My teacher spotted my ability to draw and suggested I go take an art class. I fell in love with art instantly and continued to study it throughout my college years and still study it today,” he said.
The most daunting challenge for him has been to continue art as a way to earn a living. Most artists today are on the commercial side during computer-related services, he explained.
He realized early on that if he were to earn a living as an artist and not sit in front of the computer, he needed to figure out a way to make a living doing what he loved. So he went into the decorative arts field doing murals, faux finishing, and decorative plasters.
Working on large homes gives Toporovsky access to clients who are also interested in purchasing paintings for their walls. Finding clients who are willing to spend money on art has always been a challenge, but has become easier as his art has grown.
Toporovsky said that artists who have accomplished amazing things in life, even against incredible odds, have always motivated him.
“I love seeing people succeed and sharing their gifts with the world such as scientists, athletes and other artists no matter what their discipline is. I feel that people can accomplish incredible things and inspire others to do the same.
“Money is just the by-product of sharing your gifts with the world,” he said.
When Toporovsky isn’t working on a painting, he enjoys hiking in Mission Trails Park, which is very close to where he lives in Santee.
“Hiking is where I always do my best thinking and it recharges my batteries,” he said.
Sometimes his wife of 18 years, Rebecca, will join him on hikes, as well as his 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.