A trucker from the southeast is delivering valuable goods, and his own paintings.
Eugene Kabrun, originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, has always loved creating unique one-of-a-kind artwork, and galleries around the world have taken notice of them, and are appreciating his style. And though creating one-of-a-kind 3D paintings is his passion, these days, in order to help 'pay the bills', Kabrun has taken up trucking, which is paying off two-fold. He gets to deliver valuable goods and his artwork.
Kabrun says, he’s been creating art since he was a young boy going to school in Kyiv, Ukraine. He continued studying art, even as his family moved to Israel, and then to Canada in 2007. "All my life. I love to make something in 3D. It's why I make now 3D art.”
Kabrun tells us why he prefers creating 3D art. “Our world it's not 2D like a regular painting. Our world, it's 3D. It's got depth. We have structure in our world. The world has depth, and my paintings show this world with depth. If you look my paintings from left, from right, it depends how you look, it looks different all the time. It looks different like, realistic. It's more realistic than regular painting.”
Kabrun says that he creates different heights in his images by using foam-insulation. "Construction material. Nobody else in the world uses this. It's a different system. I don't put it over the whole painting. Sometimes it's just in one area. This way every painting looks different."
With being on the truck alot, Kabrun says favorite time to paint is at night. Sometimes he’ll start a painting in the evening and will paint for 8 straight hours. But the next time, "It’s after only one week I continue. So, then I just finish like basic artwork, and then after couple days, I leave on a trip, because I’m a truck driver, and when I drive, I don't see my painting. But when I back home, I see it again. And when I see it again, I see some something that I need to replace or something. Maybe something I need to change. And sometimes this continues for a couple of months, and sometimes it's one week. Sometimes I finish painting in two days, three days, one day, it depends.”
Kabrun says what he puts on the canvas depends on what is inspiring him when he steps in front of the easel.
"So, last week when I came home, I worked 6 hours on a new still life. It's now in my home. I didn't bring it to a gallery because it’s not finished yet, I need to put varnish on it, and I prefer to leave this painting in the home. But sometimes I paint (commissioned) portraits using a photo. What I paint? It depends. I love everything. But I find faces are very difficult to paint. It takes a couple weeks to make only the basic portrait, and then after it's been a couple weeks, I check if everything is exact, because it's like mathematics. Everything needs to be exact. It's not still life.”
Where does he get his inspiration from? Kabrun says, he uses photographs he has taken during his trucking trips. “I take pictures myself when I drive in USA and Canada. Then sometimes I make one painting from two or three pictures. But if it's portrait, when I get the order, people give me a good photo and then I create a painting using photo.”
Kabrun says most of his images are three-feet-wide, but he has created some larger pieces, in fact one in particular is hanging in a gallery in Minnesota. "It's 48” by 48”. It's now in another gallery in St Paul Minnesota, in the Dow Art Gallery. It's very, very big gallery where I have 25 or 27 pieces. But normally I like 36”x 48”, although it's a problem to sell, because it’s a problem to send it by mail.”
Since he’s a trucker, Kabrun has solved that issue by delivering the larger paintings himself. “You know, most of the paintings I sell in the USA I take them with me, and I give it to people on my trip. For example, on my trips to Chicago, I leave paintings with my friends, or somebody picks them up when I am in that city.”
Kabrun tells the story of a painting where the buyer met him in Ohio. That person drove two-hours for one of his paintings. He was pleased. He says, he has also sold his work to individuals in Florida as well, to a trucking company in Moscow.
“It was a Facebook group for truckers in Moscow. It's a very big company in Russia moving for dangerous goods, and they were asking me to message them about how much one my paintings would cost. What the price would be to send my painting to Moscow. So, I found somebody from Chicago, this was before war, before they came into Ukraine. Yeah, now it's not possible. But so, somebody from Chicago was flying to Moscow. So I brought this painting to Chicago, and somebody took painting to Moscow, to the head office for this company, and they bought it, yeah.”
Kabrun says making money from being an artist after COVID has been very difficult. “You see, I only started painting on canvas in 2017. I wanted to do more, not like hobby, but to start painting more professionally. And from 2017 to 2020, before everything closed down for COVID I had sold over 100 pieces. But the problem came when galleries closed down for two or three years that my work wasn’t seen. No exhibits. No shows.”
These days, however, you will find an original Kabrun, at the Steinbach Arts Council Gallery Exhibit titled “The World in Structure” until February 23rd. You can also visit the SAC Gallery online here.
Eugene Kabrun and his family lived in Niverville for several years, before moving to Lundar, Manitoba, where they now reside, and he continues painting.