From Russia with love

Svetlana K-Lie

Of all the places she has lived, all the massive success she has achieved, why has she chosen to move to Lewes? A place she once spent a day, somewhere she is not known as a successful artist and her native tongue is not spoken.

You can tell there is something special about Svetlana even before she begins to tell her tale in her accented voice – her quirky style and carefully chosen word draw you into her fascinating life. Born in Moscow, it was apparent from a young age that she had a gift for art, something that did not make school life easy. Regardless of the difficulties and social ostracization, she maintained her passion for art, eventually completing an MA in Design in 2000, (Faculty of Facility Design, Moscow, Russia). Over the next four years Svetlana had two children and continued her studies at the LI Nevinsky Etching Art Studio, Moscow and the Moscow Babushkinski Ceramic Studio as well as participating in exhibitions in Saint Petersburg, Paris and London. The hard work and undoubtable talent was recognized in 2004 when Svetlana was awarded ‘Best woman sculptor of Russia’ and a year later ‘Best young sculptor of Russia’ and then at just 26 years old The Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg selected several of her etchings for exhibition. After two years Svetlana felt that she had achieved all she could in Saint Petersburg and started to look further afield to continue her career.

The road to Sussex started in 2006 when Svetlana was chosen to represent The Russian Union of Artists on a residency at Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris and even though it meant she would have to leave her children at home in Russia, she headed for her 3 month stay in France. Svetlana enjoyed the culture and artisan way of life in Paris but she missed her homeland and children terribly and so, needing a break she decided to visit friends in London. The distance gave her the perspective she needed to realise that although she wanted to move out of Russia, Paris was not the answer. The criteria: somewhere that has culture, art, inspiration and most importantly somewhere that her children could have an education that, unlike her own, nurtured creativity. One of her friends happened to have ties to Lewes New School and suggested a chat with the Head teacher. The next day Svetlana took the train down to Lewes and by the time she returned had fallen in love with the place, found somewhere to live and enrolled her children in the school! In September 2006 the family moved into their new home and three and a half years children are thriving, Svetlana has become involved with Brighton Independent Printmakers and has a show planned for May (details below) has been accepted as one of Harwood King Fine artists where you can buy a selection of her prints online ( Expect to see a lot more from Svetlana K-Lie! |



When did your art first get noticed and what was it?

It was in Russia, in 2004, when two of my etchings were included in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. I was only 27.


When did you decide to make a career out of art?

Since the very beginning. I knew art was my essence. Making a career out of art is something I never questioned.


What inspires you?

People. Relationships. You could also be inspired by “little things”, you never know exactly where your inspiration comes from.


What do you like about living in Lewes?

It's rural, classical, and there is definitely a Spirit.


How long do you plan to live here?

I would like to stay forever, but things don't always depend on you – I have a family, children.


Where is your favourite haunt?

To look at swans somewhere along the river.


Where is your dream exhibition space?

Tate Modern in the near future.


Which artist would you most like to collaborate with?

It should be a man. We will see who will be on stage when I decide to collaborate.


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I really love England but still miss the summer sun over the year. Hope to be here but with long holidays on a warm sea coast.


What is next?

The first exhibitions are part of the Open House project which takes place within the context of the Brighton Festival.

I will show my prints and collages in my own home:

2, The River House, South Street, Lewes BN7 2BS

Opening dates: 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd May.

Opening hours: 12am – 6pm

Refreshments & Easy Parking


And she is exhibiting her sculptures in a group show with the artists Sue Haseltine, Sharifa Brooks and Jane Sampson.

Cherry Tree Bungalow, 30 Greenfield Crescent, Brighton BN1 8HJ

Opening dates: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd May

Opening hours: 12am – 6pm

Tea and Cakes will be available


The second exhibition to come is in London on the occasion of the Russian Art Fair.

Dates: 9th - 12th June 2010

Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BX (Ballroom Entrance)

Private view: Wednesday 9th June: 6pm to 9:30pm (Tickets in Advance Only)


The third exhibition of my work will also be organised within the context of my upcoming summer residency in Paris.


Interview by Sophie Boulderstone, Sussex Style Magazine, Spring 2010.