I‘ve always been surrounded by books, as you know. Since I came to England, I have amassed a darn good collection, too, which was occasionally but generously enriched by my mother. As a result, I’ve got books in English, Russian, and French, plus one or two in Latin, plus Italian, German and Spanish grammar books. Magazines and photocopies are not included. And yet the most wonderful thing to me is the sheer variety of items. There are a few museum catalogues and two Vogue editions, Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography and People in Vogue: A Century of Portraits. Oh, and The Pirelli Calendar: 40 Years Complete.
In the years I’ve been in England people applied the word “random” to describe me. But, having been reading a wonderful book about Picasso recently, I can do nothing better than to quote his words:
When you come to think of it, I’m probably a painter without style. ‘Style’ is often something that ties the artist down and makes him look at things in one particular way, the same technique, the same formulas, year after year, sometimes for a whole lifetime. You recognise him immediately, but he is always in the same suit, or a suit of the same cut. There are, of course, great painters who have a certain style. However, I always thrash about rather wildly. I am a bit of a tramp. You can see me at this moment, but I have already changed, I am already somewhere else. I can never be tied down, and that is why I have no style.
(I photographed this selection in May 2008).