Pavel Sokov is a representational painter, oil painting mentor, and podcaster. He focuses on celebrating the heroes of science via his project Gravitas which consists of portraits of accomplished scientists.
The goal of this project is to shed light on the many contributions of science to our daily lives and celebrate the unsung heroes of science. He also paints the various traditional cultures of the Earth that he encountered during his travels as well as commissioned portraiture, and figurative fine art.
Through working with Time Magazine, the Bahrain Royal Family, Saudi Royal family, the Jordan Royal Family, and many well known entrepreneurs such as Grant Cardone, his work is found in private collections across the world as well as institutional collections. He founded the Creative Mastermind Show, a weekly podcast that empowers artists to be successful in their careers and life.
1990 | Born, Moscow, Russia
2000 | Immigrated, Montreal, Canada
2011 | Graduated, John Molson School of Business, Montreal
2014 | Attended, Watts Atelier of the Arts, California
2016 | Teaching, Syn Studios, Montreal
CIRCLE FOUNDATION | Artist of the Year Award 1st place
BOLDBRUSH | November 2018, 1st place, Best In Show
BOLDBRUSH | April 2018, 3rd place
EXPOSÉ 12 | Award For Painted Portrait of King Salman
PORTRAIT SOCIETY OF AMERICA | Select 50
SCOTTSDALE ARTISTS’ SCHOOL | Full Scholarship to Joseph Todorovitch Workshop
HEARTLAND ART CLUB | Signature Jury Member
OIL PAINTERS OF AMERICA
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My grandfather's black and white photos always fascinated me, particularly a beautiful photo of my mom at the age of 12. When considering what I could paint for my grandma as a gift, nothing seemed more perfect than a painting of her daughter, done from a photo of my grandpa. An inter-generational collaboration of sorts. The super smooth #Artefex Lead Primed panel lent this painting the soft edged quality it needed to convey youth and beauty. The smoothness is also to thank for the textures found in the transparent parts of the paint. The perfect panel for the subject at hand. The color harmony was intuitive and came to me naturally with no thought. I am pleased that this painting brought memories back for my grandma. You can watch the entire process of its creation in this short video. #artvideo #art #artisticprocess #Arttv #arttutorial #artdemo #pavelsokov #mum #retrophoto #vintagephoto #familyphoto #Artprocess #paintingmom #paintingofmom #gift #giftofart #howtopaint #howtodraw #artpanels #oilpainting #oils #leadprimed #colorharmony #colortheory
13 Steps To Actually Make Your Career Dream A Reality
Pavel Sokov’s life changed forever the day he quit his stable job in marketing and moved to California to attend an art program.
In less than a year, he went from a predictable career in a field he didn’t like, to getting a commission from Time to paint Vladimir Putin for the Person of the Year issue. Sokov spoke to BuzzFeed Life about what it took for him to finally quit his day job.
1. Recognize when a hobby is really your passion.
“I have always been drawing, as all kids tend to do, but never really stopped,” Sokov told BuzzFeed Life. “When I was around 13 I discovered digital painting and have been digitally painting in my free time ever since.”
2. Don’t be discouraged by early failures.
While he was in his marketing job, Sokov was trying to paint on the side but it just wasn’t enough.
“I would sell an adorable amount of prints to people on Reddit of my Louis C.K. painting, and would do sadly paid commissions for friends. Unfortunately, by the time I got home from work, made food, ate it, washed the dishes it was usually 9:45 to 10 p.m., which left me with an hour of painting at home a day.”
3. Stop waiting for contentment to find you.
“I spent two years working in marketing, waiting for the moment when the amount of money I was getting would somehow offset the reality of not doing what I love. That moment never came, of course, because you can’t get enough of what you don’t really want.”
4. Reconsider your assumptions.
“I have always wanted to be an artist but I fell for several mainstream narratives: that artists cannot make money, a job should not be enjoyable, and that having security/money will make me happy.”
5. Take risks, and know that they are risks.
“Last year, with more fear and trepidation than I care to admit I put in a two-month notice (right before I was supposed to get a raise), and moved near San Diego to attend Watts Atelier, where I learned traditional oil painting and drawing.”
6. Take the biggest risks while you are still young.
“As a young person you have not only crazy amounts of energy (I haven’t taken a day off in over three months, and am still alive; this probably isn’t doable when I’m 50) but also a really high risk tolerance because not a lot depends on you. ”
7. Work really, really hard.
“I took 16 different classes a week, which amounted to 48 hours a week of class, plus work at home if we could manage it. [At first] everything I made looked like a child made it.”
8. Work long hours.
“All I really did was do art, come home, spend time with a girl I met if I could manage it, sleep a little bit on the floor on a way expired mattress (my spinal column became crooked as a result of that terrible mattress, haha, I had to get it realigned when I got back to Montreal after), and go back to class the next day. No days off.”
9. Don’t expect results right away.
“Being upset that your first oil paintings aren’t turning out is almost rude in a way, because it is saying that you don’t think you need to put in the work to get your teacher’s results.”
10. With success comes even more work.
When he got the email about the Time portrait, Sokov was still at the Atelier so he had to complete the portrait in addition to his course load.
“I think at one point I hallucinated from being too tired. It took 40 to 45 hours or so, and most of my dreams during that period were about painting Putin’s pores. I finished it a day early, sent it in, and they loved it. Somehow I went from painting Reddit’s dogs to a Time Person of the Year.”
11. Know that success doesn’t (usually) mean stability.
In any freelance career, work (which also means money) can come in waves.
“You can no longer expect a steady stream,” Sokov said. “It is very feast or famine. Right now is amazing, two months from now may be crickets.”
12. Learn from later failures.
When Sokov first started oil painting in school, he wasn’t any good.
“I remember looking at what I made and thinking, Holy shit, I quit my job to produce this? We went home that day and were too sad to attend the next class. And that is how I learned the most important skill at the Atelier: how to make terrible work and be OK with it, because you don’t deserve to make good stuff yet.”
13. Prepare for your whole life to change.
“My entire brain is rewired completely and I am an entirely new person. I have developed understandings that would probably have eluded me my whole life if it wasn’t for this. Life now feels like an adventure with a mission, and not the stale boring routine it was before. I determine the outcomes in my life now, and that is terribly exciting.”
Art & Life with Pavel Sokov
SEPTEMBER 18, 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Pavel Sokov.
Pavel, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am known as the portrait painter of royal families. After completing a well-known illustration of Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine in 2014’s Time Person of the Year issue, I have been the choice of the Saudi Royal family for portrait painting as well as the Queen of Jordan. I have worked with some well-known entrepreneurs as well as visionary women as part of a new project that I got involved with. This project highlights and showcases 350 visionary women in a variety of fields in order to inspire young girls all over the world. I also paint original fine art of my own subject matter, as well as provide mentorships in art.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I paint portraits for my clients. This is often from life, but also often from photos, including old black and white references that I bring to full color and detail. As for my original fine art, it is figurative in nature. A lot of it are scenes from my travels across Asia and Europe.
Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
I advise to acquire business savvy by studying books and to think bigger. Target and brand yourself intelligently. Stop trying to sell art for cheap to people that can’t afford it. Have a strong online presence. Work with big names. Failure is not an option.