DOLPHIN FRESCO  by iLia Anossov

iLia Anossov - fresco artist

Biophot1.jpgMr. iLia Anossov is one of the very few artists in the world who can be considered masters of the art of fresco painting. Among his most important works is the recently completed and the largest contemporary buon (true) fresco project in the Western United States since Diego Rivera and the WPA, measuring 20x26 feet. His creation of the “Albuquerque Fresco” has become the subject of a documentary film by Amy Bowers about the process and technique of fresco painting. His knowledge of the techniques of this most difficult, important, yet endangered art form is sought out by his contemporaries at great art institutes and museums. Museums and collectors have sought his input on large-scale restoration projects and his expertise in helping them refine their technique. Mr. Anossov has responded to all inquiries with great generosity, believing the resurrection and proliferation of fresco art to be his true mission in life.

iLia Anossov was born in Moscow in 1966, attended official art schools and explored various media including cinematography, architecture and visual arts. However his true education came through classic-style apprenticeships to master artists, between 1983 and 1996, he served three 4-year long apprenticeships in Russia and United States.

Not interested in participating in the dogma of the official art unions which was mandatory for any artist trying to get notoriety in Soviet Union, in 1990 he founded the first Russian not for profit state independent art project “Non Commercial Exhibitions” oriented to support non union artists in Moscow. The project included a gallery within sight of the Kremlin which became so successful that the unions could no longer hold him back. Almost immediately the Springfield Museum of Art held a one-man exhibition of his work (45 pieces). In 1992 he took his 3rd and final apprenticeship at the prestigious art project “ARK” (Teranova Art Foundation, Watermill, New York) founded by artist Mihai Popa. He also became a board member of the New York-based art league “Truth”, dedicated to employ the classic art heritage in the modern art concept. As a board member iLia organized exhibitions of important invited artists including Carnegie Art Award winner Petri Hytonen with whom he had collaborated on various international art exchange programs when iLia was still in Russia. iLia also judged the work of artists seeking admission to the art league.

He has been widely exhibited in Russia, Europe and the United States including 9 Museum Exhibitions. In addition, iLia Anossov had over 50 Solo and Group exhibitions around the World Publications iLia's work and articles has been featured/published in a number of catalogs, news papers, Internet art portals including Los Angeles Times, Dan's Paper, Downtown News, Springfield News and more.

1996 - "Cultural Center Opens" - Museum of Integral Art, The Ark Project (Terranova
Art Foundation) Watermill (Southampton), New York.

1994 - "Second Collection" - Tretiacov Gallery State Museum and "Literary Gazette",
Moscow. Catalog

1992 - "One Person Show" - Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio, USA
"One Person Show" - Kalinin Museum, Moscow
"Non for Profit Project" - Kalinin Museum, Moscow. Catalog

1991 - "Three Man Show" - "Octiabrskaia 25" Exhibition Hall, Moscow
"Ilia Anossov - Recent Paintings" CMSA (Central Museum of the Soviet Army), Moscow, Russia
"Non Commercial Exhibitions I" - "Author" Gallery & Kalinin Museum, Moscow
"Non Commercial Exhibitions II" - "Author" Gallery & Kalinin Museum, Moscow

In 1996 a private showing of his sculptures in Beverly Hills resulted in a sale of all pieces and led to commissions for more sculptures and frescoes. He was commissioned by Revelry Inc. to produce the 2500 square feet of trompe l’oeil frescoes for the 2001 Academy awards and his work was also on display for the 50th Emmy awards. For the 9th SAG Awards in 2003 he created over 3000 square feet “trompe l’oeil fresco” decorations hand-painted on fabric as commissioned by Michael Venedicto and People magazine. His other commissions include murals for Beverly Hills corporate headquarters of West World Productions, Inc.; large-scale murals for Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles; Gladstones 4 Fish in Malibu, California and numerous murals in private homes.

It was in the United States that he began to perfect his fresco technique and to resurrect this endangered art form. Having studied the ancient frescos in Russia and Cairo, Egypt he gradually mastered the difficult process involved in true fresco painting.

Most of the knowledge we have of ancient cultures is preserved through the frescoes. We find monumental fresco works in every civilization, country, era. Frescoes were painted by the Aztec, Maya, Egyptians, Hindus, Chinese, Europeans and Modern Americans alike. Unfortunately, Fresco has experienced a devastating decline through the turbulent 20th Century leaving us with only a few masters – two in Italy, one in Brazil, one in Sweden and four in America. Mr. Anossov is considered one of these. His web site TrueFresco Art Network (trueFresco.Org,,,, a forum for artists and others to explore the modern possibilities of this ancient medium is now considered the authority on fresco painting and incorporates a virtual gallery presenting works of past and current fresco artists and Contemporary Fresco Gazette. Its importance is reflected by its inclusion in the International Counsel of Museums list of California’s Virtual Museums. Mark W. Stone, producer of documentaries and shows for television, as well as an art connoisseur who has produced a documentary devoted to frescoes said: “Those familiar with the art form will recognize that, while there is a growing number of painters who attempt fresco, iLia stands amidst the very few talents who are actually breathing life back into the medium…Ilia goes a step further than his colleagues though; he had made generous strides in uniting growing Internet communities interested in fresco. His web site is nothing short of amazing in its depth and breadth; and it’s become a major forum…perhaps the forum on the subject.”

Mr. Anossov has established a national workshop ( for fresco artists. He conceived the idea in 1999 and response has been overwhelming. Representatives across the Nation schedule workshops featuring his expertise in fresco painting techniques. The workshop was established in the fall of 2000 designed to teach students of various levels and is advertised as a “systematic tutorial on the technique of fresco painting” and grew to be the only year-around fresco program in the country.

“It is curious that although fresco is a method of painting that has been practiced for thousands of years the technique is generally not taught in universities or art schools (yours is the only program I am aware of in the United States). In fact, one of my long-term goals is to introduce a course in fresco painting here at Western Washington University.” – Sharron Antholt, Department of Art, MS.

Students include professional artists, art professionals, educators, owners of art schools, and designers as well as interested non-professional artists living in the United States as well as coming from other countries. Mr. Petri Hytonen, the Finnish painter recipient of Carnegie Art Award with whom iLia has collaborated on various international art exchange programs says: “At the time when fresco, the art of Michelangelo, Rafael and Diego Rivera represented only by a few artists in the world with iLia as an outstanding one. His extraordinary technique of the buon fresco, remarkable talent and dedication to share his knowledge are the invaluable assets for the culture of any country. His fresco workshop program is the unique contribution to the American art education and the preservation and multiplication of the tradition in the international cultural heritage.”

Hours of video records of iLia Anossov fresco workshops as well as the video project titled “Albuquerque Fresco—Inside Look”, a collaborative effort undertaken with Emmy award winning filmmaker Amy Bowers, is a close-up look at the painting process which produced the Albuquerque fresco and carries powerful educational value for anyone interested in learning the techniques of fresco painting.

As Ralph Mayer in his well-known Handbook of Materials and Techniques first printed in 1940 sagely advised: “It is impossible to gain even a good understanding of the complete fresco process without a close study and examination of the work in progress.” Ilia Anossov’s workshops and video project have provided the solution.

Throughout history fresco artists have worked with architects to produce some of the most monumental works. The greatest artworks in history are frescoes, including those produced by the masters Michelangelo, Rafael and Diego Rivera. iLia believes that if every architect could work with a fresco artist the world would be a vastly more beautiful place. Through his own fresco painting and his workshops, iLia Anossov has taken steps toward realizing this dream. To establish Los Angeles as the World Center for Contemporary Fresco Painting, Mr. Anossov has teamed up with leading fresco restorer and art conservator Mr. Nathan Zakheim of Nathan Zakheim Associates – art conservation firm which recently won 1.4 million contract for restoration of 11 landmark “Freeway Murals” in Los Angeles. Mr. Anossov and Mr. Zakheim plan to create a similar to WPA Era San Francisco’s Coit Tower project ( organized by Mr. Zakheim’s father fresco artist Bernard Zakheim in 1932. During this project 30+ artists have painted over 30 buon (true) frescoes in Coit Tower building in San Francisco which is now a National landmark and Museum. To offer wider options for fresco workshops, related art classes and fresco programs and to facilitate the initial project needs to train artists, Mr. Anossov operates a large studio in Los Angeles.

Due to his nationally recognized expertise in the art of fresco painting, iLia Anossov has been invited to the 2004 Fauxcadamy Awards in Las Vegas this summer to speak on the revitalization of the art of fresco painting and to judge the awards.

The demand for iLia's creative mind and artistic excellence has been also in high demand for the most prestigious events and productions. Most recent nationally recognized commissions was for the design and creation of the interior of this year’s 76th Annual Academy Awards® Governor’s Ball. The entire interior of the Ball (over 27,000 sq. feet) was handpainted in Trompe L'oel Frescoes. In addition to this event iLia's work has graced such events as the Governor’s Ball for the 9th Annual SAG Awards, 73rd Academy Awards®, the 50th Annual Emmy Awards, and the 11th Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.

Albuquerque fresco by iLia Anossov
Albuquerque Fresco by iLia Anossov

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