From Russia With Paint Brush

Elena Bulatova's creative freedom flourishes in her new American home



Elena Bulatova will stage the grand opening of her art gallery as part of the Backstreet Art District's 'Art Walk' from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday (April 3) in South Palm Springs.

Jim Powers

Her claim to fame growing up in Alexandrov, Russia, about two hours outside of Moscow, is that Ivan the Terrible lived there at one time.

Chances are, Elena Bulatova will have plenty to brag about her new home in Palm Springs.

The emerging artist is coming off a blockbuster year in which she sold more than 100 paintings, creating a springboard to open her own gallery in the Backstreet Art District of South Palm Springs.

Bulatova will piggyback on the Backstreet Art District’s monthly “Art Walk” with the grand opening of her gallery from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday (April 3) at 2652 S. Cherokee Way. The “Art Walk” allows patrons to peruse all of the galleries during the first Wednesday of each month.

“I really enjoy painting,” Bulatova said. “It gives me an opportunity to meet all kinds of people. I think the main reason is that I want to make something I love. When you love something, you enjoy it and you never work a day in your life.”

Her paintings explode with vibrant colors featuring significant splashes of metallic paint and the use of mixed media. She has enjoyed this past season of art shows because it gave her a chance to interact with potential customers and reveal the motivations behind her work.

“I think it’s good to bring a young vibe and something fresh,” said Bulatova, 30. “All of my work is very bright, very colorful and very positive. I like to bring energy and positive message in my paintings.”

Bulatova began painting at a young age, and the arts were an integral part of her childhood. She sang in the choir, played violin and piano in music school, and the violin in chamber orchestra.

“In Russia, it’s important that arts be part of your education,” Bulatova said. “Russia is big in the arts. We have a lot of museums, so when we traveled the first thing we see is art everywhere. I was close to art all my life.”

As she grew older, Bulatova began incorporating other interests in public administration and economics. After graduating from Moscow State University in 2006, she was the only Russian student to receive the prestigious Fox fellowship in 2007 to attend Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Bulatova had been outside the country once before on a visit to France, and she wasn’t sure American culture would offer anything new to her.

“I was not so excited to go,” she said. “What is there left to see? This pop culture is everywhere. I know everything about America. I was amazed at what I saw. I was at one of the best schools. I was really lucky to be there. It really changed my life.”

What Bulatova found was a country which embraced her desire to engage, offered an open door of endless opportunities and didn’t judge her by her gender.

“I feel much happier here, more free than I did in Russia,” Bulatova said. “I feel there is a different attitude toward women, and more opportunities. Now I understand why so many people from all over the world come to America because it’s not just because they want a better life, but because they have special skills they want to apply. America gives them that chance.

Since arriving in Palm Springs last year, Bulatova has split her time between painting and helping to run a related business called Artisto Fine Art with Efraim Mashiah. Artisto Fine Art is a mobile art gallery that supplies art to galleries and consignment stores in the Coachella Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Artisto has more than 600 paintings in its collection, and offers free interior design consultation to help choose affordable art pieces for a home. Bulatova noted the service is particularly helpful to snowbirds setting up a new or vacation home.

“If they want to decorate their home, they have to go through all of the galleries which takes time, and you have to understand what you want,” Bulatova said. “We help simplify the process.”

To view her portfolio, visit Bulatova's website.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Eight LA Designers Return to Saxony Group Fashion Week El Paseo 2015

Saxony Group Fashion Week El Paseo 2015 will feature eight returning L.A.-based designers for an unprecedented show March 21 celebrating the event’s 10th anniversary.

Getting Married in a Ballpark, Palm Springs Style

When you’re watching Super Bowl XLIX this weekend, think wedding venue. At least that’s what Amanda and Kyle Carnine might suggest after the couple wed inside Palm Springs Stadium.

Bill Clinton Outlines Community Health Initiatives in Palm Springs

Former President Bill Clinton spoke on the importance of special initiatives to improve the health and wellness of the Coachella Valley as part of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Blueprint for Action.

Wondrous Waters

The naturally hot mineral waters beneath Desert Hot Springs offer pure magic. Here’s where you can soak in the benefits.

La Quinta Artist Creates Colorful Splash for Southwest Arts Festival Poster

Dennis Nagatani’s cascade of colors falling from different directions will be the eye-catching cover for the 29th Annual Southwest Arts Festival, Jan. 23-25, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2015 Grand Experience
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags