There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.
PAVEL SOKOV (b. 1990) — a young Russian painter currently based in Montreal — offers the art world an impressive array of talents and services, including commissioned portraits, ﬁgurative works of his own composition, and a weekly podcast titled The Creative Mastermind Show. This energetic artist also travels extensively, bringing an array of cultural inﬂuences back to his studio to inform these and other projects.
Sokov spends most of his time these days working on commissioned portraits, with such recent clients as the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, leaders of industry and government, and a well-known rapper. He is also involved as a portraitist in the 350 Visionary Project, which highlights 350 innovative women across multiple disciplines and vocations. Sokov is quite vested in this initiative and sees it as a way to visualize examples of aspiration for girls and younger women.
In his studio, where he tackles subjects of his own choosing, Sokov is eager to express through paint the stories of the distinctive characters he encounters during his travels abroad. One example is his painting “Jackie,” which shows a man with a legendary-musician-like look lighting a cigarette in a café.
Beyond the sitter’s intriguing appearance, we get the sense he has a story to tell. As Sokov explains, Jackie was a “bad boy” who fought for the Americans in the Vietnam War and today is a popular tour guide in Ho Chi Minh City. The artist met Jackie there this year as Jackie was explaining how merchants along the Mekong River Delta trade goods and services.
Having graduated from a business school in Montreal prior to his art training, Sokov is not afraid to marry painting and marketing. He chooses to remain without gallery representation, as he has managed to attract and retain his own clients and followers. Although he does exhibit in group shows and currently has an agent who has brokered two major assignments, Sokov plans to remain independent.
Considering he only started painting a few years ago and has already achieved several milestones — including a commission from Time to paint Vladimir Putin’s portrait for the cover of its 2014 Person of the Year issue — Sokov will surely do just ﬁne marching to his own drum.