November 27, 2016

Collective of conscripts, Sculptures for Teykovo

Approaching the Russian city Teykovo around 2010, one could come across a set-up of some five wooden sculptures made in a naive style, a set not installed to regulate traffic, but to beautify the town.

It looks somewhat like Charles Pecqueur's decorated roundabout in Ruitz, France: a set of sculptures meant to beautify his hometown, however in his case also with a traffic regulating character.

Teykovo is city of around 35.000 inhabitants, located some 300 kms north-east of Moscow. From old a town with textile industry, it currently houses the strategic missile division of the Russian army.

The idea of doing a project to the benefit of the town -and especially its children- around 2010 originated in the leadership of the military garrison. 

The project would include the construction of playgrounds. These sites as well as many other spots of the town would be embellished with sculptures, all with the deployment of the creative skills of young conscripts. 

And then these playgrounds and sculptures were realised indeed.

The pictures above and below show some playgrounds (as around 2010). The picture below has partly dugged in multicolored vehicle tyres and a variety of sculptures, including Sponge Bob.

Other playgrounds are surrounded by partly dugged-in tree trunks, as in the picture below.


The most suprising aspect of the project is the large number of stand-alone mainly wooden sculptures. It's truly an open air festival of naive/outsider art.

The three-headed character below is just one example of the numerous sculptures created in the context of this project.

In general most sculptures are more conventional than the one above. They portray all kinds of animals, such as elephants, rabbits, pigs, snails and giraffes, children's favorites such as Sponge Bob and Humpty Dumpty and a variety of (mainly) male characters such as a police man, a knight, a Don Quichotte and a soldier.


The internet has a number of (Russian) websites that show these sculptures, mainly as they were in the early 2010's, for example:
(These pictures have been re-published on the Facebook page Outsider Art february 2014)

Actual situation

To my knowledge there are no recent (Russian) websites with information about the actual (nov 2016) situation of this large series of sculptures (a mega art environment) in Teykovo.

Collective of conscripts
Sculptures for the city
Teykovo, Ivanov region, Russian Federation
if still extant, sculptures ar visible in public space

November 22, 2016

Vladimir Chaika, Decorated stairwell

pictures by Andrey Chaika

This art environment in a flat in a suburb of Kiev, Ukraine, early november this year (2016) first gained publicity when it was seen by a medical doctor who payed a home visit and informed the press about what he had seen. 

Life and works

Vladimir Chaika (born around 1951), who made this creation, worked as a foreman at Kiev's subway, eventually at the depot in the city's Obolons'kyi district, where he was involved in the maintenance of the buildings and other structures.

Chaika was very interested in architecture and visual art and when he met a colleague who teached him how to work with molds in order to make plaster models, this inspired him to undertake such activities himself.

Especially after in 1997 he had an accident and recovered from being clinically dead, he wanted to realise his lifelong dream: to do something that others don't do.

So in 2001 he began an art project that indeed only is undertaken by very few non-professionals: decorating the stairwell of the flat where he lives in a classical style ¹.

"My own style", he says. The mostly in green or blue tones painted walls feature moldings, rosettes and pilasters. The stucco plaster is mostly golden painted. Oval frames contain mirrors or (photocopied) portraits of personalities from former centuries. Chaika added images of landscapes and there is a Mona Lisa. The ceilings display angels and the sun.

The garbage chute, a standard device in this flat (pictured below), has been transformed into a gilded column.

Chaika's neighbours in the flat in general reacted very positively to his activities. And Chaika himself, he is quite happy with what he calls his hobby: "When I'm doing this, I forget everything, including all problems. It's a delight"

Occasionaly helped by his son Andrey, Chaika currently (2016) has completed three floors of the stairwell of the nine-story building. Now at age 65 and retired, he intends to continue the project untill all floors are decorated, provided that as a pensioner he can continu to bear the cost of the materials. 

* Documentation
* Article in local newspaper Kiev-Segodnya (november 8, 2016)
* Video by Awakening Morality (1'12", Youtube, uploaded november 12, 2016)

¹ This blog already documents just a few non-professionals who decorated their house in a classical style, i.e. Robert Burns and Dennis NelemsGary Bevans decorated the roof of the local church with a replica of the Sistine Chapel. All three are from the United Kingdom

Vladimir Chaika
Decorated stairwell
Raiduzhna Street 11-a
Kiev, Ukraine
no public visits

November 11, 2016

Eighth anniversary of this blog

Bonjour aux promeneurs, Hello walkers
picture of Chatelain's sculpture 

With the idea to raise awareness of the at that time little known phenomenon of art environments on november 11, 2008 I published the first post in a weblog I entitled Outsider Environments Europe.

So today this blog has its eighth anniversary and as in previous years, I will relate here some data (as of november 10) as provided by Blogger's statistics "behind the scenes".

Number of visitors

On november 10, 2015 the all time number of page views was 420.277. On november 10, 2015 it was 583.287 an increase of 163.010 during  last year, or on the average 446 visitors a day.

All time pageviews by country

As in previous years here is the all time rank of top ten countries as regards pageviews:

 1.  United States 177030 (rank 2015: idem)
 2   Netherlands 63517 (rank 2015: idem)
 3.  France 57951 (rank 2015: idem)
 4.  Germany 46971 (rank 2015: idem)
 5   United Kingdom 41398 (rank 2015: idem)
 6.  Ukraine 20171 (rank 2015: idem)
 7.  Russia 18496 (rank 2015 idem)
8.  Spain 12020 (rank 2015: 9th)
9.  Italy 11366 (rank 2015: 8th)
10.  Poland 4619 (rank 2015: idem)

As in previous years, the top is rather stable: the same countries appear, almost all in the same order, except Italy and Spain which changed places.

The last time I paid close attention to the phenomenon of art environments in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation and I feel happy that the interest from people in these countries remains at the same level

Most viewed sites all time

 2. Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, Palais Idéal 5401 (rank 2015: 4)
3. Robert Garcet, Tour Eben-Ezer 4901 (rank 2015: 1)
 4. Abbé Fouré, Rochers sculptés 4782 (rank 2015: 2)
 5. Robert Tatin, Musée  4341 (rank 2015: 3)
 6. José María Garrido, Museo  4226 (rank 2015: idem)
 7. Bodan Litnianski, Jardin  3931 (rank 2015: 5)
 8  Joseph Pujiula i Vila, Labyrinth  3636 (rank 2015: 9)
 9. Chomo, Preludian art  3500 (rank 2015:7)
10. Karl Junker, Junkerhaus 3469 (rank 2015: 8)
The first place for Bill and Elisabeth Charge is without any doubt due to a one time event. End october 2016 the husband of a granddaughter of Bill and Elisabeth posted a message on the Watford Memories and History page on Facebook, asking -with a link to the relevant post in this blog- if anyone remembered the decorated garden. Well, thousands of people did and this resulted in over 5000 hits of the post in a few days time.

This year the top ten of most viewed sites once more is rather stable, with Garcet (from Belgium), Abbé Fouré, Robert Tatin, Facteur Cheval, Bodan Litnianski and Chomo (all from France), Josep Pujiula i Vila en José Maria Garrido (both from Spain) and Karl Junker (from Germany).

On the 11th place is Francisco González Grajera, El Capricho de Cotrina (3203 views), Willem van Genk, Arnhem bus station, who left the top ten, this year is on the 12th place (2923 views), and Erich Bödeker, Garten mit Skulpturen is on the 13th place (2908 views). 

Other creators of sites that rank high in terms of number of times viewed are: Robert Vasseur (2799 views), Yves Floc’h (2596 views, Raymond Isidore (Picassiette)  (2493 views, Oreste Fernando Nannetti   (2378 views) and Stephen Wright (2309 views)


The weblog also has some pages. Most popular is the Index by country/region, consulted over 98000 times, followed by the Index of names, consulted over 5000 times.

The General introduction attracted around 2200 viewers, the page about sources etc had some 1000 viewers  and the one about expositions over 1900.

October 25, 2016

Yevgeny M. Malakhin (artist name Bukashkin), Краска мусора/Paint the garbage

the artist on a mural in a pink dress
(no names of photographers listed)

This is the story of a very special non-conformist outsider artist, who in the 1990's brightened the center of Yekaterinburg with music and a lot of colorful murals he painted on buildings and fences.

Yektarinburg is a large city in the Russian Federation, located at the eastern edge of what in geographical terms in general is considered as Europe.

Life and works

Born in Irkutsk on september 16, 1938, Yevgeny Mikhailovich Malakhin studied in Izhevsk, where he graduated as an engineer in energy supplies. After his studies, in 1961 he went to live in Sverdlovsk (as Yekaterinburg was called from 1924 to 1991), a city where he would stay for  the rest of his life. 

He got a job as senior engineer at the electricity company Uralenergo. In 1965 he married Valerie Petrovka and the couple would have a daughter, Nastya. In 1971 he and his wife made a long journey, visiting Senegal and various European countries.

Development as an artist

Malakhin was rather interested in philosophy and music. The 1970's became for him a period to try out all kinds of artistic activities. In the early 1970's he was active in experimental photography. Later he  worked with wood, made paintings as a self-taught painter and wrote poetry and published books.

In the mid 1980's he had a first exposition and from that time his need to present himself as an artist was growing.

So he equipped himself with an artist name, first Kakiem Akahievich Kashkin, also K.A. Kashkin, which later would become B.U. Kashkin or Bukashkin. He also rented his own studio, a small room in the basement of a building on Tolmachev Street in the center of the city and began to live more and more on his own.

picture from website
(no name of photographer listed)

In 1992 Malakhin ended his job at Uralenergo and fully devoted himself to a sober, but pronounced existence as an artist.

As Bukashkin he would become Yekaterinburg’s major non-conformist artist of the 1990’s. He was also quite recognizable as such, a bearded man, walking around in the city with a balalaika, a large tambourine on his neck and bells on his hat.

In his artwork he promoted family relations and love for one’s country as important values and he urged citizens not to drink or smoke, to love others, enjoy life and do good deeds. One will find these these themes in the some twenty educative and ecological books he wrote and published himself and also in his paintings and drawings, he often handed out to onlookers for free.

He became rather well known in his country and was also named  Russian people's janitor (for a short period he worked as janitor at a bank).

Paint the garbage, paint the town 

In the early 1990’s Bukashkin began a campaign with the slogan Paint the garbage.

He developed a theory about garbage to the effect that waste can be seen as art or as a basis of an artwork, probably a fairly unusual opinion in Bukashkin's society of that time, but then already prevalent in the field of art environments elsewhere in Europe.

In his view even the ugliest places in town could be made pretty to look at. So he began making paintings on concrete fences, garages, walls of buildings, garbage bins and so on. It has been said the whole city was his canvas.

In the city of Yekaterinburg as it was in the 1990's, Bukashkin probably was the first to do such murals and he can be seen as a pioneer of what later would be considered as street art.

The idiom which is reflected in his wall decorations marks him as an artist in the field of outsider art. The totality of his murals, situated in the center of the city, can be regarded as a mega art environment ¹.

Bukashkin has made over thirty murals, which meanwhile partly have faded away or have gone lost. An association of friends has ensured that some were restored and that on various spots replicas have been placed.

At the end of 2004 Bukashkin had to leave his studio at Tolmachev Street, beacuse the building would be demolished and replaced by new construction. Some months later, the artist died of an acute asthma attack on March 13, 2005.

 An association of friends 

To keep the memory of Bukashkin alive on January 8, 2008 a group of friends founded an association named Old Man Bukashkin, presided by Yevgeny Artyukh, well-known in political and business circles in Yeketarinburg. One of their activities was to make a Bukashkin Trail, a walk along the spots where the artist had put up his wall paintings. The association also has contributed to the realization of a museum in Yekaterinburg devoted to Bukashkin.

B.U. Kashkina Museum 

Initiated by professors and students of the Ural Federal University the B.U. Kashkina Museum opened on december 19th 2008.

portrait of Bukashkin on a wall of the museum
(screenprint from a tv-video of the opening of the museum)

The museum, located at Lenin Avenue 51 in Yekaterinburg, aims to present and study non-standard modern urban culture in its various forms in order to understand its creative role in shaping a positive image of the urban environment.

It holds works and documents of and about Bukashkin and it also documents other non-conformistic movements and naive artists in the Ural.

* B.U.Kashkin (1938–2005): Life and Art of Ural Punk Skomorokh, Edited by Aleksandr Shaburov This book, a first collection and review of Bukashkin’s creative work, was published at the occasion of the exhibition in 2015  I’ve Lived My Life, I’m Not Dead Yet. A Tribute to B.U.Kashkin

cover of the book

* Website of the association of friends (with various details of Malakhin's life, such as that in 1978 he told his wife that there was another woman in his life with whom he had a child; in the early 1980's he would start a new family with her)
* The internet has a lot of videos about the artist. Here is a link to a list of mainly Russian spoken videos
* Just for a first introduction, here is a recent video (by MrMediaProduction) that even if you do not understand russian, gives a good idea of Bukashkin's varies activities (11'56", Youtube, uploaded january 2014)

 ¹ The concept “mega art environment” has recently been introduced by Alexander Emelyanov, creator of an art environment in Samara, Russian Federation. It is a proper term to refer to the totality of related creations located in a rather extensive territory near the artist's living place. Examples are the creations made by Danièle Aubin, François Michaud, Pierre Rapeau and Juan Garcia Naveira.

Yevgeny M. Malakhin
also known as Bukashkin
Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation
to see what is left of the murals there is a walking trail
(starts at Lenin Avenue 5b, see a tourist guide or get info at a tourist office)

October 02, 2016

Boguslawa Iwanowskiego, Quo Vadis sculpture garden

 pictures (2014) courtesy of Sophie Lepetit

Tyrawie Woloskiej (Tyrawa Woloska) is a small community in the south of Poland, not far from the border with Ukraine. It is known from Quo Vadis, an exhibition of numerous wooden sculptures in the garden of a private house 

Life and works

Boguslawa Iwanoskiego (Boguslav Ivanovski), who created this art environment, was born in 1934 in Dorhun (district Grodno), a community that currently is part of Belarus but which before World War II belonged to Poland.

The shift of the border between Poland and Belarus, which took place after World War II, resulted in the russification of Ivanovski's birthplace, such as collectivisation of agriculture. Opposition of villagers was brutally oppressed, Ivanovski's father was imprisoned, his brother was executed and he himself, although rather young was deported to Russia, where he for a number of years had to work in a labor camp.

In later years while still staying in Russia, he succeeded in doing a training as a car mechanic.

Ín the early 1960's Ivanovski returned to Poland. In 1961 he settled in Szczecin, a harbour town located along the Oder river and near the Baltic Sea in the north of the country. He got a job as a service technician at the local public transport company.

A career as folk artist

In the course of the 1960's Ivanovski as an amateur artist began to develop his artistic talent, initially in the fields of poetry and painting, but soon turning to making wooden sculptures, which would become his lifelong passion.

He became a member of the Klubu Plastyków-Amatorów i Twórców Ludowych (Club of amateur painters and folk artists) that would meet in the provincial House of Culture. He took part in various expositions, including one in the context of the in Poland well known Centralne Dożynki (Central Harvest Festival).

In 1986 Ivanovski moved from Szczecin to Tyrawa Woloska, a village that reminded him very much of his native region.

Here he would stay for the rest of his life, fully devoting himself to making wooden sculptures and setting up an open-air exhibition area.

Ivanovski in 2014

Ivanovski has created an imposing amount of artwork since in the mid 1960's he began making folk art. His wooden sculptures, made in several sizes, including a number that are larger than life, have a naturalistic character and are sculpted in a classical folk art style.

His work reflects his attachment to his native Poland. The collection, divided between the house and the outdoor exhibition area, includes sculptures and sculpted reliefs which refer to important personalities and happenings in the history of Poland, such as Polish kings and princes, the statesman Józef Pilsudski (a series of works depicting various stages in his life) and the Katyn Massacre

Another series of sculptures is devoted to Pope John Paul II, altogether some 24 monumental sculptures.

But one can also see  characters derived from fairy tales and all kinds of portrayals of common people, such as the one of a young lady with a cat in her arms.

Ivanovski currently (2016) is in his early eighties and processing wood is becoming rather hard for him to do, so he is considering switching to other artistic approaches, such as making ceramics or working with concrete.

The garden is open to the public

Ivanovski's sculpture garden can be visited by the public. It attracts a lot of visitors and when at home the artist is gladly willing to inform visitors about his work. 

Ivanosvski was awarded a bronze medal

In march 2016 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his artistic calling, the chairman of the parliament of the Podkarpackie voivodeship (province) awarded Ivanovski with a bronze medal Gloria Artis.

* Article by Wieslaw Hop on weblog Opowiadania współczesne (Contemporary stories), june 12, 2016 (with a  variety of pictures)
* Website of Tyrawa Woloska with a page devoted to Ivanovski and the sculpture garden
* Article on weblog Na Pogórzu (Foothills) october 2013 (illustrated)
* French author of a weblog about french outsider art and art environments Sophie Lepetit in 2014 made a trip to Poland and published a large series of pictures of the Quo Vadis sculpture garden on her weblog

Boguslawa Iwanowskiego
Quo Vadis sculpture garden
Tyrawie Wołoskiej (Tyrawa Woloska) 38-535 
Podkarpackie voivodeship, Poland
can be visited by the public

Petr Leonidovich Zhurilenko, скульптуры в саду/sculpture garden

picture courtesy of  Sergey Chegra 
 Museum of Russian lubok and naive art, Moscow

Petr Leonidovich Zhurilenko (born in august 1929) is a folk art artist who lives in the small community of Sudbodarovka in the Oldenburg region in the Russian Federation ¹. 

He has made a variety of naive paintings, which were exposed in the region, but also in Moscow, where he took part with a single painting in the large exhibition of naive and outsider art in 2013.

The catalogue of this exposition (p.194) says that Zhurilenko meanwhile had switched from making paintings to making sculptures.

picture by unknown photographer

Above picture also has the scene as in the first picture, but then with added signs, that say the sculptures have been made in 2014.

The sign on the left indicates that the three characters are Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov with his adjutant and a guard as in 1812. The sign on the right, insofar readable, says that the queen is in Moscow because of negotiations.

Kutuzov (1745-1813)  was a famous Russian army commander, who in 1812 repelled Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The queen must be Queen Elizabeth, who, accompanied by Prince Philip, in  october 1994 was the first british monarch to visit Moscow, where she met former president Boris Yeltsin.

picture by unknown photographer

The in my opinion rather impressive scene with general Kutuzov and Queen Elizabeth is undoubtedly part of a recently started and gradually expanding art environment in Zhurilenko's garden, because another picture of a creation by Zhurilenko is available, that shows two monkey's (?) with in the background a barn and another construction, which might be the residential house.

Up to now the internet has no descriptions of Zhurilenko's art environment. but further research has begun and this will hopefully bring more information ².

¹   I am grateful to Alexander Emelyanov (creator of an art evironment in Samara, Russian Federation) who contacted the museum in Moscow about the first photo in this post and is actively engaged in collecting more information about this art environment
²  I would like to get in touch with the unknown photographer(s) of some pictures in this post

Petr Leonidovich Zhurilenko
скульптуры в саду (sculpture garden)
Sudbodarovka, Oldenburg region, Russian Federation

September 24, 2016

Philip Mussprat, Can House

view from the street (may 2016)

Facing the North Sea, Hartlepool is an industrial and harbour town of some 92.000 inhabitants  in the far north west of England, known from its now gone, once very numerous shipbuilding companies.

In terms of outsider art environments the town can boast a very special site: a house with exterior walls decorated with thousands of beer cans, as well as separate beer can structures in the back yard.

To my knowledge, such a site is a unique kind of art environment, not alone in the United Kingdom, but also throughout Western Europe.

Philip Mussprat (2011)
this picture and the next four are screenprints from the 
Can House movie/trailer (see documentation)
published here in agreement with Maxy Neil Bianco

Life and works

This Can House was created by Philip Mussprat (1952-2015). A married man with four children, he worked as a bus driver, but had to prematurely retire because of a disability.

As it occurs in retirement, he had need "to do something" and in 2005 he began decorating a wall in his backyard with empty beer cans. It became a construction some 10 m (33 ft) long and 1,5 m (5 ft) high.

Apparently enthused by this activity, Mussprat decided to continue, partly because he thought that in this way he could raise money for the restoration of a local church.

decorations at the frontside (2011)

So he began decorating front and side wall of the house with beer cans, gluing these together and to the wall with waterproof adhesive and arranging them in geometrical patterns.

And then Mussprat also made stand alone creations, such as a barbecue installation and the pyramidal structure pictured below which is a fountain that actually sprays a jet of water.

fountain in the backyard (2011)

Some ten years after he started, Mussprat had processed 75.000 beer cans. Family and friends helped to gather these. As Mussprat said in an interview: We've all done our fair share of drinking to get the cans, but people come and donate their empties once they hear what I'm doing.

detail (2011)

Can House, the movie

Filmmaker Maxy Neil Bianco, who lives in Hartlepool, valued the Can House and its creator as a good subject for a documentary film, a topic he not just viewed in terms of contemporary folk art, but also as an act of defiance, a two fingers up to the hand of fate, to a world slowly degenerating and disappearing.
Mussprat and his family and friends were gladly willing to participate in the film and in 2011 its footage was shot.

It became a great documentary. Against the background of the transience of the old port town it gives a picture of people at the edge of society who in their own way create a thing of beauty which somehow gives sense to their lives. Indeed, that's what art environments might be about.

Actual situation

Maxy Neil Bianco's movie may also be of historical significance because it documents an art environment which for some time already is at risk with decomposition because of plans of the authorities to renovate the district where it is located.

The neighbouring house, at the corner of the street, still extant in 2014, already has been demolished.

Phillip Mussprat will not experience any disappearnce of his creation. He died september 20, 2015 at age 63.

* Peter Wilson, "The Can House. Embellished property in north of England", in Raw Visison nr 91 (october 2016)
* Article on Mail Online, nov 2015
* Article Meet our very own Can Gogh on Hartlepool Mail, nov 2010
* Trailer of the Can House movie below (3'25", Youtube, uploaded november 2011)

* Maxy Neil Bianco, Can House, film first screened 2012, 51'56". available on Vimeo

Can House from Maxy Neil Bianco on Vimeo.

Philip Mussprat
Can House
Corner Raby Road/Raby Gardens
Hartlepool, North East England, UK
still extant in 2016, can be seen from the street