That’s my friend Vladimir Grigorenko, a professional iconographer. Here’s his website. He and his wife Olga, and their daughter Katya, stayed with us for a couple of days this week on their way back home to the Dallas area after exhibiting at an Orthodox conference in Florida. He had with him some of his icons, which I asked him to show us. Above he’s pictured with a large icon he did of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. On the shelf behind him, you can see an icon of Christ Pantokrator (the Ruler Of All) I commissioned from him back in 2005, when we first met.
I’m crazy about his work. Julie and I bought a small icon of St. Basil the Great from him this week. I told him I wanted to post something on the blog showcasing his work, in case readers want to order or commission an icon from him, or if an Orthodox (or even Catholic) parish would like to commission some liturgical art from him. He modestly said no, don’t worry about it, but I say no, people should know what an extraordinary artist he is, and that they can have his art as part of their devotional lives.
This guy, let me tell you something about him. Some years back, he called me to say that Time magazine had called him. Before he called them back, he wanted to know what they might possibly want from him. It was November. I told him that my guess is that they were going to name Vladimir Putin as Man Of The Year, and they wanted to commission a cover from him.
“Impossible!” he said. He explained that iconography is holy art, not to be used for profane purposes, like making an image of a politician.
I was still fairly new to Orthodoxy, and didn’t quite get it. “But this would make your career internationally,” I said.
Didn’t matter to Vladimir. Holy things are for the holy. This wasn’t about Putin himself; he would have rejected any iconographic commission for someone not a saint or a Biblical figure. It’s a matter of integrity.
Here is a video of him talking about his work at an Orthodox parish in
North South Carolina. Watch, listen, admire:
See more of Vladimir Grigorenko’s iconography, and get in touch with him about commissioning work from him, at his website.