was born in Queens, New York in 1941. As the
son of the noted Russian muralist, Eugene Zaikine (pronounced zay-EE-kin), my earliest memory of my father was to see him
upon the scaffolding of churches like Michelangelo, painting mystical Marys and stern St. Peters. Following this early
exposure to my father's high standards of aesthetics and craftsmanship, I went on to gain national recognition with works of
art which are currently owned by collectors throughout the world. I have also been fortunate to have participated
in a large number of major exhibits and received numerous awards of which I am very proud.
I have been painting ever since the
age of 4, and I've never known a day in which art was not a part of my life.
The ability to shape molten metal led to my experimenting with
metal sculpting and I became one of the world's earliest recyclers, giving all
types of discarded metal objects, even coat hangers, a new life.
As a sculptor of bronzes, I believe my sense of design and technique give my pieces a fluid
illusion of buoyancy and lightness rarely found among many other works. I try to
capture the purest inner essence whether the subject is a
lean, supple nude from my contemplation series, or the spiritual self-encounter
of "The Uniting," or the whimsical creatures I simply call "Wood Fairies."
My work is mythological and archetypal, but also reflects my own personal reality as a man
and an artist.
I've also told stories and created fairy tales for as long as I can remember, many that now
relate to experiences I've had as an artist. I came from the folk art tradition of oral
storytelling, but when asked by an editor of a major publishing house to write them down, I
hedged. However, after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, I felt compelled to focus on
something I could do to lift the situation and I recorded Pearls of Wisdom, Points of Light, and
the Magical Golden Fish on my first CD on the first take.
Then in January, 2003, I was invited to spend 10 days at the Gift House on the island
of Kauai, Hawaii by a private foundation that offers people involved in charitable, spiritual
or artistic work, and who give generously of their time and energy to support others, a space
for renewal in the land of rainbows and waterfalls. There I became an author and my
first children's book, The Magic of Hanalei Bay, was born.
My life, of course, is not just about the art I have created. I also brought two wonderful
daughters into this world, Lynda and Anastasia. When she was only 2-1/2
years old, Anastasia had her first showing at Art Ovations Gallery
in the Presidio area of San Francisco, and she was selling her miniature clay
sculptures at shows right along with mine by the time she was 6. In fact,
at many exhibits, she outsold me! Today, her work still is still
reasonably priced and sells out at all of her exhibits and showings. The
photo that you see on the right is me with my lovely Anastasia at our first
father and daughter exhibit on May 23, 2002.
And closest to my heart is Karin O'Keefe of Karin O'Keefe Fine Arts who is my agent, my artist
representative, my friend, and my companion with whom I am so fortunate to share my life. The
photo on the left is Karin with a wonderful creature slowly making it's way back from where it came. . . we were so fortunate to encounter its strangeness and beauty at that moment
I have always had a deep sense of sincerity and dedication to my art. I feel I am assuming
quite a responsibility when I create a new painting or construct a new object that fills the
seemingly empty space. If it can't be as beautiful and meaningful as that space itself, then
it's just another neon light blocking our vision of the sky. It should be recycled.
Actually, I'm not sure any artist could constantly live with such a statement,
or very little would be produced. But it's a standard I all too often torture
"To know Zak Zaikine is to know his work. Both resonate with the
same warmth, creative energy and buoyancy. He greets you with a radiant smile,
the kindest of words and the warmest of hugs. In the same way, his work, whether
in bronze or steel, on paper or canvas, in clay or fiber or poetry reaches
out to embrace you with a conviction that life is essentially good and full of
wonders waiting to be enjoyed. Few workers in the arts can combine their living
and their work until the two become one. But when that happens, we can expect
the kind of explosion of creativity we recognize in Zak."
- Alf Evers, Writer, Historian, Lecturer
"Zak Zaikine's present activity in art, all of which is quite new and
exciting and very Russian, suggests the colorful patterned icons
to me put into the context of the late 20th century."
- Dorothy Dehner
"Zak's work is, on one hand, mythological and archetypal, and on the other,
steeped in his own personal reality, as both a man and an artist."
- Bernard X. Bovasso, Writer, Poet and Artist
"Drawing on his deep repertoire of narrative elements he utilizes them in
an extremely expressive link between text and imagery, awakening in us our hidden
impulses and childhood fantasies. He is able to take the viewer on a
journey imaginable only in art...."
- Marijo Dougherty, Director, University Art Gallery, The University of Albany
"Zaikine's sculptures strip away man's culture and sophistication and
reveal instead, his naked, primal roots. While the works are physically
small, the impressions they leave are spacious indeed."
- Rosemary Jette, The Transcript
"Zak Zaikine...approaches the entwined intricacies of existence with magical
and reverential care...and through his art and words, personal as they may be,
he shares his findings with us."
- Sandy Thompson, Freelance Writer and Art Critic