Copyright Vladimir Kagan, Augusst 31, 2012
We have the misfortune of coming from an artistic family.. There were no fledgling doctors, bankers, lawyer, or a mathematical genius that might have ended up at MIT with an advanced degree in something useful. Of course that’s not all bad; it makes us a bit bohemian, “laissez-faire” and easy to get along with and on rare occasions, the envy of the high achievers.
My Maternal grandfather, Julius Wallach was one of Bavaria’s iconic dealers in folk-art and hand blocked textiles, (even Hitler had his Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden decorated with grandfather’s textiles… little did he know that he was Jewish) My mother, as a young woman, was beautiful and gregarious and didn’t have to be an artist but carried the family genes in her veins. Dad was a master cabinetmaker and latched onto the Bauhaus mentality making practical modern furniture, in addition he opened two Art Galleries, one in Worms the other in Heidelberg where he pioneered German and Austrian avant-garde crafts and graphics…. My sister and I were doomed; we both went to the School of Industrial Art (later rechristened as the School of Art and Design), I developed a niche as a furniture designer, while Tanya as a fledgling fashion designer was swept off to Europe by her husband where she became a gifted painter - her daughter Cathy followed in her footsteps. On Erica’s side of the family the artsy streak was not that clearly defined, though Erica’s mother was an assistant to Austin Brown, a well-known English printmaker, her artistic skills remained dormant. Erica was not going to cut it in the usual female profession of secretary – (she never learned to type, do short-hand or mathematics on anything but her ten finger) Her mother saw the pretty blond child diligently drawing everything in sight, often interpreting it in stitches. Her career track was preordained; she went to the Royal School of Needlework in London and became Erica Wilson, the world-renowned artist with her crewel and needlepoint designs.
With such a heavy burden to bear, how could our son escape – he was destined to become an artist. We did hold out hope that perhaps one day he might take to the pen. To give him a head’s up in either career, we gave him four suitable names: Illya Kagan if he chose the rout of the brush and Ian Hamilton were he to succeed with words… The brush won out and we had a budding artist on our hands by the time he went off to boarding school. His passion for painting intensified as he went to college. Having studied a year in Lacoste, France. He developed a zeal for painting en plein aire in the footprints of the great Impressionist painters whose Ghosts inhabited every corner of Province.
Illya Kagan just had his 23rd one-man show in Nantucket. As every year, it is one of the “Les must” of the Island’s August social events. He is a prolific painter; obsessed with the urge to create. This show featured four walls of a gymnasium-sized gallery with paintings hung two and three high. By the end of the day a large percentage had red dots.
The gallery hung floor to ceiling with Illya's prodigous output of paintings
Illya's discerning eye of the Nantucket landscape
He frequently revisits the same site two or three times to catch the light and mood at different times of the day
Illya never travels without his easel and a roll of canvases ready to be stretched at moment’s notice when a scene stops him in his tracks. His travels often take him to very picturesque places. This show included paintings from Costa Rica, Paris, and Annecy in the French Alps, Province, Boston, New York and his favorite Nantucket.
On a surfing visit to Costa Rica, Illya produced a collection amazing beach scenes
Accompanying me on a business trip to Paris, Illya was inspired by the Sein
Illya showing a client the painting of Annecy in the French Alp. (She bought the painting!)
Most of his old school friend’s careers took a different track becoming investment bankers, venture capitalists, or real estate developers making fortunes working their tedious nine to five jobs, Illya, when he is not painting, skis, sails, surfs and plays ice hockey with all the locals on Nantucket. He is the father of two adorable girls who worship him. Illya wouldn’t change his lifestyle for that of his mogul friends… On the other hand, he is the envy of his all buddies… they all want to be Illya!
to see more pictures of Illya’s painting please go to his Website