Russian born Alex Jawdokimov has achieved not one, but three, careers in his life; he has acted alongside Sean Connery, danced professionally and is now an internationally recognised artist with his eclectic designs and paintings featured all over the world as prints and posters.
He was born on a farm in Smolensk before spending his childhood years in concentration camps across Europe. Having survived the holocaust, Jawdokimov and his mother, who had entertained British troops in refugee camps during the war, moved to England in 1947, when she found work as a housekeeper in a stately home in Somerset. He managed to learn English within two weeks and can also speak German, Polish and Ukrainian.
He went on to train at Somerset College of Art in Taunton and then went on to become an illustrator, designing book jackets for the likes of Collins and Corgi, as well as numerous record covers for Pan Records, EMI and Decca.
Despite his many successes, painting is evidently his first and most enduring love. His exceptional draftsmanship is evident in each and every piece, from his earlier city scenes to the more recent birch tree series for which he has become best known. "Just as the oak tree is a symbol of Great Britain, the birch tree is the national tree of Russia," explains Alex. "I was brought up amongst birch trees. It is a very moody tree. The branches are used to make woven bark shoes with criss-cross laces that go up the leg and last a lifetime. And the sap from the birch is drinkable – very fragrant and healthy. The birch, therefore, has many properties."
Using a combination of oils and acrylics, the artist embellishes each piece with gold or silver leaf, capturing the luminescent quality of trees in the sunlight. At the age of 77, the artist shows no signs of slowing down and continues to exhibit his stunning works internationally to this day.