As El Paso’s art scene continues to grow with young emerging artists – which is evident in the city’s monthly art crawls and locally-owned galleries – one couple manages to be both internationally acclaimed yet humbly subtle in their El Paso presence.
Russian expats Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets have been painting in El Paso for 25 years, and they’re having an exhibit this Saturday and Sunday to celebrate that milestone. With a deep appreciation for the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, they’re donating the proceeds from this weekend’s sales to the nonprofit.
“Everything that’s happening in El Paso is great – the murals, the music festivals,” said Aleksander when asked about the growing creative community. “Life is not like, ‘go to the job, make money, then go to sleep.’ Art gives people a chance to see other dimensions of their lives.”
While the Titovets mostly sell their art in other cities, they do find ways to be a part of special projects in the Sun City. In 2014, for instance, they teamed up with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and had their paintings projected behind the group as they performed St. Petersburg native Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Chamber Symphony for Strings.” Much of their collection, which is largely of landscapes and portraits, provides lively depictions of joyous, innocent times in Russia.
“That’s why I came up with the idea of having images of our work go with the music,” Lyuba said. “They were of sceneries from childhood in the winter, and then the summer. The show was well received.”
As world travelers, the Titovets have also accumulated an impressive list of clients. Iconic Italian actress Sophia Loren, for instance, has a painting of theirs, and Aleksander was commissioned to paint First Lady Laura Bush’s portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2008. This was learned through a press release, however, because they don’t like to brag about it. But Lyuba did have some words to share about the esteemed people they’ve met throughout their careers.
“Whenever you meet some kind of famous person, they have this incredible energy about them,” she said. “It’s unbelievable how beautiful inside and out they are and how much inner strength they have regardless of how old they are and what they do.”
And as esteemed as they are, the Titovets have a warm presence that melts away any nervousness people might have about asking them for artistic advice. In fact, they affirm that they, too, are constantly learning.
“You need to study all of your life – because as soon as you feel that you’re completely satisfied, that you’re a genius – you’re done,” Lyuba said.
Aleksander had something to add to that sentiment:
“You’re always learning. We’re always standing on the shoulders of the generations before us. And embrace El Paso! The south is only the beginning of the United States, not the end.”
For those itching to try their hand at painting, the Titovets also teach classes at $15 an hour for those ages 15 and up. The next semester starts in January, and interested creatives can learn more about it by visiting TitovetsArt.com.