The smooth, white bark of birch trees is a source of comfort for artist Maya Eventov. “When we came to Ontario from Russia in 1990, everything was unfamiliar,” says Eventov from her home studio. “It was difficult, but the one familiar thing was the birch tree. I grew up with them at home, and I saw them at my grandparents' cottage. It's a Canadian item that spoke to me of home on so many different levels.”
Art has always been of interest to Eventov. At a young age she received recognition for her work when a painting of three soldiers on a tank was displayed in the art school window. However, it wasn't until later in life that she chose to pursue art as a career. “I had always thought I would do something with math or astronomy. I am grateful to my mother who recognized that I liked to draw and as a result signed me up for every available art class.”
Growing up, Eventov was exposed to some of the finest art in St. Petersburg. “I lived behind the iron curtain, but we had rich collections of works available for viewing at the Hermitage Museum or in any of the St. Petersburg
museums.” It was here that Eventov began to develop an understanding of the technical side of artwork as well as a growing appreciation for the works of some of Europe's masters.
Eventov chose to continue her education at the St. Petersburg State Academy of Industrial and Applied Art, where she graduated with a Masters Degree in Graphic Design.
“When I was developing as an artist in Russia, it was the style to be tortured and tormented. That was the art scene at the time. Everyone painted something tragic; clowns with tears streaming down their faces. It was almost a must to be tormented from within, and the surroundings didn't help either,” recalls Eventov,
“we lived in a very oppressed society.”
Moving to Canada gave Eventov freedom of expression, to explore and create. “I'm a happy person, I enjoy beautiful flowers and landscapes. I am captivated by smells and sounds that can convey strength of emotion in a happy painting.”
These days Eventov spends most of her time doing what she loves: painting. Her studio is located in her home and she wouldn't have it any other way. Family has always been important, in days past her children were often found at the kitchen counter doing homework while she was working nearby in her studio. “I feel very connected to my family. When I paint, my children know they can come talk to me. It's a very integral part of my creative process and I never want to separate family from work completely.”
Eventov's love of nature is clear in her birch tree series, a collection of paintings with intense colours and textures that leap off the canvas. When painting, she retreats into a world of her own creation. “I create a window into an idyllic escape, like a scene from the Mediterranean or a field of flowers. As I paint, I create,” she says.
Eventov's work can be found on display at Crescent Hill Gallery in Mississauga. “It's been a partnership with them from the start and it's been a fantastic opportunity,” she says. Eventov found support for her career through Crescent Hill Gallery from the very beginning. They worked with her and showcased her work in the gallery, in effect launching her work into the Canadian spotlight.
This year with the support of Crescent Hill Gallery, Eventov generously donated artwork that helped raise more than $3,600 at the Darling Home for Kids gala. Works have also been donated to the Hospital for Sick Children as well as various other charities around the country.
Eventov's work is also part of several private collections including the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien's private collection and in the Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce corporate collection, located in their Toronto headquarters.
Eventov loves when people make special requests for her paintings, like inscribing initials into tree bark, or using birch trees to portray families with large and small trees. “Trees do represent people,” admits the artist. “These paintings become their story!”