Where most artists realize their talents and passions at a young age, this year’s Encore Arts and Celebration of Creative Expression featured artist did not realize his talents until he was almost an adult.
Merv Krivoshein of Rocky Mountain House dabbled in the arts for a short time in his youth, but when faced with the realization that his small town did not hold the means of developing art, his passion turned to archaeology when he was seven-years-old; despite his Grade 2 teacher saying to watch his art skills in his report cards.
After joining a university with the intention of studying archaeology, Krivoshein found he had some time to kill and could always use some more class time, he joined an art class, where his teachers immediately saw his talents.
“I left home at 18 to go to a city school so I got good enough marks to go to university and then I studied anthropology and archaeology for three years in university. I needed to take some electives so I thought I’d take an art class and see if there’s any talent there and so when I went to the art instructor after I had taken one class, I had really enjoyed it and wanted to know if I could take another. He asked me what I was majoring in and he said ‘I think you should be an artist.’”
From there, Krivoshein took hold of his talents and continued to work on his skill, presentation and technique in the arts, specializing in woodworking after testing out metal designs.
His professors constantly told him he should be an art teacher, due to his creative expression and technique in talking about art. So, while taking art classes, Krivoshein also broadened his education and earned a Bachelor of Education.
“As I was taking studio classes, I felt that I wanted to be a studio artist and so when I left university, that was my goal, to continue making art and teaching art. Actually, in my art class, my professor suggested to me that I should be an art teacher. So I took art education classes so I could teach art and learned how to teach other people.
“Teaching allowed me to make a living, because I knew that you pretty much couldn’t make a living on your art alone.”
Krivoshein has been the art teacher at Central West High School in Rocky Mountain House for many years, and finds that it’s easy to balance work and continuing his art throughout the years.
“It’s not a difficulty because the day is divided, in the morning I do my studio work and then I get ready and I go teach at the school in the afternoon and then I come home and go back into my studio to work.”
Krivoshein has been a part of art/woodworking guilds all across Alberta for many years from the Woodworkers Guild for Central Alberta to the Lacombe Woodworkers Guild to the Southern Alberta Woodworkers Society.
Despite his main passion of woodworking and sculpting, Krivoshein also dabbled in steel sculpting, he explained, as Alberta at the time was very much into the steel scene when it came to sculptures. But knew that if he wanted to become an original artist, he would have to adapt to different ideas and mediums.
“I realized I had to have the understanding of a cabinet maker to work with the ideas that I had and so I started sculpting furniture which is actually called studio art, and you make one of a kind pieces in furniture and so that was my introduction with getting back into woodworking.”
Despite being a talented artist, Krivoshein explained that it was hard for him to become invested in the art community.
“When I first started out I submitted a bunch of work to art galleries and they would refuse me because they felt I was too much of a traditional artist. I started to pull away from some of the art community for a while,” he said.
Krivoshein began doing major commission pieces for cities and schools because it was where the money was and allowed him to do his art. But he soon realized that he wanted to do art because he loved it, not because it paid the bills.
“I tried that for about 10 years and then just withdrew and I said my enjoyment is just making art so I just focused on that, and then that’s when I eventually got into my woodworking and abstract work.”
Now a seasoned professional woodworking artist, whose work has been showcased at many of the trade fairs (he was one of the artists at the Encore Art Show last year); his talents are now being showcased to all of Lacombe as this year’s featured artist.
“I felt very honoured because the successes that you have are very few and far between so this was a big success for me, and a real honour,” Krivoshein said.
The Encore Celebration will begin on April 15th with general admission of $5 per person from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. and then from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. admission will be $15 for the Redneck Gala.
Saturday doors will open again at 11 a.m. with a general admission of $5 until 5 p.m. with beer and wine being sold from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.