Siberian-born artist, Valeriy Kagounkin, knew he wanted to be an artist from an early age.
When he was nine, he talked his sister into accompanying him on a bus ride to the nearby town of Krasnoyarsk, so he could see the children's art school. Valeriy's parents were too poor to send him to the school, but he knew in his heart that he belonged there. Fate met Luck one day when one of the school's A. Dovnar art teachers saw Valeriy's shoes peeking out from under a door where he hid outside the classroom. "You there, behind the door...” the teacher's voice rang out. “Why are you hiding? Come here!" Nine-year-old Valeriy's legs shook as he moved to stand in front of the teacher. “What do you do here?" the teacher gruffly questioned. "Why do you hide?" Valeriy found his courage and replied. "I want to be an artist, Sir. I want to learn." The instructor took in Valeriy's appearance and surmised that the boy's family couldn't afford an art education. “Here, he said, as he gave Valeriy some items to place on the students' desks. You come early and help me set up the classroom, and maybe I let you stay and learn, yes?" Valeriy didn't need to be asked again. Even at the age of nine, he knew an opportunity when he saw it.
In the following years he studied the regular school curriculum, and art. Later, he went to two years of technical school to learn farming. Valeriy met his wife, artist Tamara Magdalina, the last year of Junior Academy and knew she was the one for him. They got married after graduation. Valeriy graduated from the Junior Art Academy of Krasnoyarsk with Honors, then set his sights on the prestigious Moscow Art Academy of V. Surikov. The competition was tough with only 15 spots available each year from all of Russia. Valeriy didn't have the money or stature to be able to attend such a school, but hard work, lots of studying, and another bit of luck and he was accepted to the program. His wife, Tamara, also made it into the exclusive school. The odds of a husband and wife both being accepted were almost impossible. Yet, they did it. While at the Moscow Academy, they learned the styles and techniques of still life, portrait, and landscape, by studying and copying the Russian and European Masters.
After graduating, Valeriy, Tamara, and their young son, Anton, returned to Siberia where Valeriy taught art at Krasnoyarsk Art Institute, and Tamara became a Dean of the art department. Over the years, Valeriy and his family traveled to many countries.
In 1998, they decided to venture to America and eventually settled in Sacramento, California, where his second son, Dennis was born. Life in the United States was difficult at first, and the family struggled. Valeriy worked as a janitor for his benefactor, Ernie Gisler, and took on commissioned artwork during his off time. The commission work helped pay the bills, but it wasn't where his heart lay. He yearned to paint what was in his heart. For Valeriy, that meant Siberian History. He also loved to paint the Plain Folk; those who tilled the land, raised the animals and taught the children. “No matter where you go in the world," Valeriy says, "these people are the same. Their labor is what makes things good for everybody. This is what is in my heart to paint. As Valeriy's popularity grew, his paintings were purchased by private collectors in many countries, including Japan, Germany, Cypress, Italy, Spain and the United States. Valeriy has won Silver Medal #193 from the United Nations for his cultural contributions to the art world, and a Gold Medal from the Russian Art Academy. His works hang in the Contemporary Museum of Moscow and Historian Museum of Siberia. He hopes to inspire viewers to great things with his work.
March, Montana, Great Falls, MT 2016-2019
Mini Montana, Great Falls, MT 2016 - 2020
Charles Russell Museum Exhibit and Benefit Sale, Great Falls, MT 2016-2020
Old West Museum Western Spirit Art Show, Cheyenne, WY 2015-2021
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Small works great wonders, Oklahoma City, OK 2017-2021
Cattlemen’s Assoc Art Show & Sale, Paso Robles, CA 2016-2019
Phippen Museum Art Show and Sale, Prescott , AZ 2015-2022
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, NV 2016-2019
Thunderbird Art Show, Tucson, AZ 2017
Draft Horse Classic, Grass Valley, CA 2017-2019
Bosque Art Classic, Clifton, TX 2018, 2021
Mountain Oyster Club, Tucson, AZ 2017-2019
One-Man Show 2017 at Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, Sparks, NV 2017
West Lives On Gallery, JACKSON HOLE, WY 2018
Olaf Wieghorst Museum, El Cajon, CA 2017
The 2016 Slo-Poke Western Art Rodeo, Pismo Beach, CA 2017-2019
Tucson Desert Art Museum, Tucson, AZ 2015
The California State Fair in Sacramento, CA, 2007, 2013-2015
Fort Ross, Sonoma County, CA, 2013-2019
The Russian Art Festival, San Francisco, CA, 2012-2020
The Art Academy in Moscow, Art University in Krasnoyarsk Siberia, and Art School for Youth in Abakan Khakassia, 2014 Exhibition was made possible and special thanks to: Aram Grigoryan, Pavel Arzumanov, Oleg Basaev, Vladimir Cherkashin
he Art Academy in Moscow and Art University in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, 2013 Exhibition was made possible and special thanks to: Aram Grigoryan, Pavel Arzumanov, Oleg Basaev, Vladimir Cherkashin
Valeriy’s works are in private collections in Japan, Germany, Cyprus, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the United States.
2021: Art of the West, "A Promise Kept" by Brandon Rosas
2018: Western Art Collectors, "On the Courthouse Steps" Phippen Museum Art of the West, "Art Shows" Slo-Poke Exhibit and Sale
2017: Western Art Collectors, "Courthouse Creations" Phippen Museum
2014: Tamara and Valeriy artists, Art book, "Vladimir Cherkashin publishing"
2012: Yenisei Governorate Illustrated by Valeriy Kagounkin, "Vladimir Cherkashin publishing"
Painting is the beginning of a story about the people and the land. It is a window that the artist leaves open for the audience to witness and finish the story.