I'm not going to say I know the man, but I knew the man, you know? Sure there were others closer, and I'm sure that they all knew things about him that I don't. But here goes. What I know, and what I saw in that man, was the soul of an artist. Artist in the soul, that's different than an artist with the hands, or artist of the heart, or the arm chair artist that looks and talks about how he could have done it so much better. It's deeper than all of that. No, when Zhenya talked, he breathed art. He saw it in everything, he admired it from every angle in every type of light. There aren't many people that make me feel like my own vision is small and insignificant compared to their own, but Zhenya did. Not because it was better or more refined, I don't know that it was or wasn't, all I have to compare are a few photos and his words. But I know that his talent, and his insight, poured out of him with an intensity that was as magical as Stonehenge, as awesome as the pyramids. It was fluid and natural in a way that makes Michaelangelo look forceful and strained (much less me). He was truely a powerful presence.
His eyes told the whole story. They were bright and joyful -alive with that artistic vision, and when they looked at you, you could see the fire. His smile was warm and full, it spoke in soft subtle gestures about the intensity of the person behind it. I only ever met him once, and only once got to speak with him. In that moment he shared more than a lot of people share in a lifetime. He was warm and insightful, and shared a curiosity and enthusiasm for life and art that was infectious. He was wise beyond his years and took an absolute joy in living. The fact that all of this came out in a single conversation can only emphasis how extraordinary he was.
I hope someone keeps his photos, and that they display them. I hope that the many people that knew him carry a bit of that intensity and joy with them. In a time where the world needs as many bright eyed intelligent people that have the soul and rational of artists as it can get, it's a shame that this man was robbed from us so tragically and suddenly. I pray that the people who stole that light from the world suffer every day of their existence -until they are no more, and can do no more harm.