Sergei Rusakoff exhibits his colorful images of nature deconstructed at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters through Mach 28

By Jane Wheeler

The work of artist Sergei Rusakoff is on exhibit through March 28 at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 5627 La Jolla Blvd. Titled “California: Deconstruct/Simplify/Nature,” it is his latest collection of large-scale original acrylics on canvas.

Hailing from Ukraine, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York (1996), Rusakoff said he worked in the city as a senior graphic designer, but after many winters, he decided to move to California for a “brighter lifestyle.”

Here, he was freed up to see nature, all of its bright colors, and the natural sunlight. He could stop and think about nature, smell it, see it, be immersed in it. His current California-inspired exhibit is heavy, bright, full of life, and full of climate and environment, unlike his art in New York.

This exhibit has taken him out of his comfort zone. He said he would never use such colors in his graphic print designs, since he is unable to reproduce bold, saturated colors. His art is edgy and very colorful, but he is able to find the balance, while at the same time creating tension.

“They are just on the edge of being over the top,” he said.

Rusakoff’s artistic process starts with noticing things and taking a lot of photos. He then reviews the images looking for shapes and details. Next, he breaks it down into its simplest form. All the curves and lines in his work are based on photos. Every line is a line from nature, deconstructed and simplified.

“When you simplify, and color it in an unpredictable way, people can then interpret it in their own way,” he said. “Shapes seem to repeat in nature.”

He works from his home studio in La Jolla, in a corner of his apartment with his computer and canvasses. He relies a lot on his graphic design background, sketching ideas on his computer and then transferring them to canvas.

He then layers paint hour after hour for sometimes more than 30 days. Practicing his art is different from his design career, where he could just click the “undo” button if there was a line he did not like. His art is different from graphic design where thing change so rapidly in this technological world.

To Rusakoff, art is physical, tangible, and stays around to enjoy.

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