Psychotherapy and art doctor - Alexander Derkach

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Alexander Derkach is an artist from Russia (Kaliningrad). He has been creating art for 35 years now, his artworks were exhibited in Stockholm, Paris, Funchal. Many of those entered private collections in Japan, Germany and the US. Since 2012 Derkach has maintained a private creative studio in Kaliningrad, Russia, cooperated with Kaliningrad Museum of History and Art, and his paintings are sold at international acclaim.

Our ARTE.M association asked Alexander a few questions.

How and when did you start to paint?

Alexsander: I’ve been drawing since childhood. At school I was the one responsible for realising bulletin boards on a weekly basis. Later during my studies at Siberian medical school I prepared some sketches of development anomalies for the Anatomy Department, some information boards for the Social Hygiene Department. The materials and instruments I mostly used back then were paper, ink, gouache, pencil. I also drew for fun and made presents for my friends - some pictures of different genres, cartoons, portraits. After turning 20, I first started to work with oil on canvas, subscribed to thematic literature, learnt painting technologies and techniques, art history. I’ve been painting a lot while serving as a military doctor in Germany (actually my basic education is in Psychotherapy, I’ve devoted 10 years to this profession). After leaving my career at Psychiatry, I worked in Zabajakles Art Salon (Siberia) for 5 years. Later my first personal exhibition was held in Chita Regional Art Museum. Then I moved to Kaliningrad in 1994.

You say you’ve been drawing since childhood, but once you had to choose a career after school you chose to enter medical school. Why?

Alexsander: My father was a military doctor. So I chose medical school to try and develop all of my passions, and to be able to choose later. During my teen age I went to an art school, as well as to a sports school. I was an editor of our school information newspaper - we released a new edition every week with caricatures and pictures for festivals. There was a time when I received money prizes for sport achievements, and later as a student I’ve been playing music at a restaurant for 5 years or so. I’m also fond of languages, and I was certified as a military interpreter. I worked for 17 years as a CEO for pharmaceutical companies, including German ones. While at the same time, I’ve had the title “Artist” on my name card for 35 years now, and have had a pencil or a brush in my hand ever since the age of 10. But as for medicine - it happens so that my wife is a doctor too. And so is my daughter, who lives in Sweden for many years now. Medicine is our family thing.

Why did you go for Psychiatry? Did it have any impact on your art later?

Alexsander: I chose this direction by the end of my medical studies, it seemed most interesting to me. What can possibly be more fascinating than the depth of human subconscious? It might have had an impact on my art, but frankly I don't know in which way. Some of my abstracts might echo that period of my life. I do not regret that time of my life even a little. Moreover, I feel I could go back to Psychiatry today, it seems like it’s has become more peaceful nowadays.

Actually, there are so many examples of doctor-artists: Andrei Bilzho (Psychiatrist), Vladimir Yudin, Alexander Voitsekhovsky, Paul Gachet, Michail Chemodanov. What can I say more, Chekhov -a doctor and a writer. I do not put myself in the same row with them, I just want to illustrate that this phenomenon is quite common.

How did Madeira happen in your life?

Alexsander: I live in Kaliningrad. Madeira was first discovered as a wonderful destination by my daughter, she owns a property there with her husband in Funchal. So it’s been around 5 years since we annually visited this fantastic island with my wife. In 2020 we planned to spend 3 months in Madeira, but the lockdown was in our way. Every time our stay comes to an end, I always feel like I don’t want to leave.

I adore everything about Madeira - paved streets, old houses, doors, cafes, ocean, gardens, the rush of the farmer’s market in the morning, climate, odours of flowers blooming all year long. I would be honored to paint one of the doors on Rua de Santa Maria in Funchal, especially because I already have some ideas. I’m always happy to meet my friends from Art Center Caravel and participate in all of its events. In my spare time and in the evening I love painting near the pool.

Alecia Guseva Veronika Zhezhovska 18.12.2020






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© 2019 by Valeriia S. for ARTE.M cultural and artistic association on Madeira island