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Rev. 6/1/05

June 2004
By Zak Zaikine and Karin O'Keefe

     In today's tumultuous world it is wonderful to have the art of journalism utilized the way it is in the Upbeat Times.  Hats off to Paul Andrew Doyle for infecting the world of journalism with all of the well wishes and happy thoughts contributed by the writers within these pages.  I hope, in turn, we the readers, give back to our Mother Earth more of this love and sanity in helping to ensure that our lives will co-exist in peace and tranquility.
     I was very fortunate to incarnate into an artistic family.  My father, a Russian immigrant, was a great artist who painted not only beautiful paintings, but also the ceilings of churches, and murals including the Monkey Bar in New York City.  I was so highly influenced, growing up with an artist, that by the time I was 4 years old, I knew what I wanted to do.  Although I have been an artist for my entire life, on April 8, 1969 I made a commitment to be solely an artist and to subsist on the sales of my creations.
     I have created in many different mediums including ceramics, bronzes, paintings, sculptures made from various metals (including discarded wire hangers), and other sculptures from purely organic material.  Some of my sculpture pieces have used only the discards of nature.  This was done mostly during my emotionally environmental period.  At this time I also decided to only use recycled bronze for my bronzes.  There has always been a strong connection in my art involving Mother Nature and I decided I only wanted to use what material was readily available.
     I have also strived to make my art available to everyone at a reasonable price.  To do this I have offered my bronzes in pewter and my paintings in print format or Giclées.  I sell greeting cards of my images which are truly frameable art.  I'm also open to barter with someone who offers items or services needed.
     It is pure joy to create in whatever form my art takes.  As an artist I feel I have a duty to make my paintings, sculptures and ceramics honor our heaven and earth and all of the beauty that resides.  "Best of Friends Forever," my painting on the cover of this issue (and on the left sidebar of this webpage), continues my connections with nature and the many creatures living on our lovely earth.  In the past when I raised chickens for their eggs, my cats and hens were pals.  This might seem like an unlikely match, but when raised together they do really well.  Often on a cold, rainy day, after provided a fresh bed of straw, the hens and cats would frequently nap together.  I also love fruit, especially strawberries, and that is why, on many of my pieces, you will find the scenes surrounded by berries.  Besides, my chickens loved to eat strawberries and I believe that it made their eggs taste even better.
     I have just completed my first children's book, The Magic of Hanalei Bay.  It is a tale about magical chickens  It was written and sketched in Kauai, Hawaii.  Then, the large paintings for this picture book were finished in my studio in Sebastopol.  I am very happy with the way this book turned out and have had only good feedback on the finished product.  This book is available online though my website and I will have copies at my open studio in June.  They may also be purchased at Bodega Landmark Studio, the Quicksilver Mine Company in Forestville, and Galleria in Occidental.  All of these copies are autographed.
     Now and in the next few months, I have been given the opportunity to show a number of my projects that have not yet had the chance to be exhibited.  Currently I have some of my works at The Willow Wood Market Cafe in Graton.  This show was hung by curator Claude Smith who is also an extremely talented artist.  Next, at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, starting May 28th through July 16th, I will have a one-person showing, "Joy and Magic."  This will include my most upbeat images created over the last 12 to 15 years.  Then, during Father's Day weekend, June 19th and 20th, I will join the ranks of other artists at "Festival of the Arts" in Duncan Mills.  I am also participating in "Art at the Source Open Studios" during the first two weekends of June.  This is sponsored by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and offers a behind the scenes look into an artist's life.
     So please come to one of these event and let me share with you, through my imagery, the joy, the magic, and the happiness that can be a part of everyone's life if you will allow it to be.  We all make a difference in the quality of life in some form or fashion and I want to share this with you throughout my art.
     I want to say thank you to each and every person who has loved, purchased or supported my creative endeavors in so many different ways.  For it is you who have kept me creating for over four decades.

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