The pre-eminent Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson’s research from the study of extended deliberate practice was often referenced in Malcolm Gladwell’s celebrated book Outliers: The Story of Success. You may know the research summed up as the “10,000 hours” rule and while it is not just practice that makes perfect, 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert is something that autodidact artist Tatyana Grenvitch takes to heart and seeks to complete in her creative future.
It is absolutely fair to say that it is previous work experience that shores up this attitude that Nike expresses so well with their ‘Just Do It’ motto. Newly landed in Kuwait and thrown in at the deep end with a small team for an emerging fashion retailer, getting things done was the only way they could operate if success was the goal. Tatyana found herself immersed in buying, marketing, advertising, retail planning, business projections and budgeting. Call this on-the-job learning to the extreme.
A woman of action by nature, Tatyana grew up in Belarus at a time when the politics of the region was at its most unstable. The Soviet Union broke up in 1991 and the Commonwealth of Independent States was born, the old Belorussia lying at the geographical edge of it all with Europe flanking the west side.
Luckily the one good thing about the old bloc was the standard of tertiary education delivered. This meant an influx of international students, and the tall Lebanese one called Jamil becoming her husband after graduation. From there, they left to settle in Kuwait in 2001, two working parents growing their family to include three children.
Of course, for Tatyana, who always pushes herself to do more with the few hours left in the day, a Master’s degree was what she felt would truly underpin her experience. And so, (while heavily pregnant!) she embarked on the journey towards attaining an online Masters, which she gained with Distinction. This triumphant achievement led her to becoming highly successful in her chosen professional field with a premier retailer in Kuwait.
It must be said that, initially, the paint brush was picked up because of Tatyana’s slight indignation at the prices being charged for art pieces, which she really felt she could produce herself. So she read up on techniques, studiously followed various art channels on YouTube and taught herself to paint.
She even found a fan base whose regular patronage she realized would finance the occupational therapy needed for one of her children. So while her starting to paint may have come from a place of frustration paired with admirable determination, there were noble reasons for the development of her art to continue.
With a strong sense of style, and while the subject matter of her work may cross different themes from portraiture to still life, the brave use of color clearly defines Tatyana’s work and is instantly recognizable. This veritable stalwart at life and all its challenges stops at nothing.
TRUTH OR DARE QUESTIONNAIRE
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
Once, a long time ago, I was asked if I could play the piano. To which I answered “Yes, I can.” The next question was “With how many fingers?”
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
I talked to a stranger in the elevator because she was crying. This girl is now my best friend of 20 years!
What is your theme song?
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Frankly, I do not know. I’ve never wished to have invented a word. I wish I had invented an idea or a saying. Especially something like, “Behind every great man there is a woman rolling up her eyes!”
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
I love Italy and Spain… Sun, beach, vast green spaces to rest the eyes upon.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
Albert Einstein said, “You never fail until you stop trying” or another [Einstein quote] in the same spirit: “I am not so smart, it’s just that I stay with a problem longer.” These two are my own mottos.
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
A bit cheeky when one already has a partner… The entire animal kingdom would be needed to cover the ideal.
What do you miss about your childhood?
I miss the feeling of fearlessness and of absolute belief that life is long and full of wonders and that you will live happily ever after… even if your dream job at the time was a train ticket controller.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Well, my name is challenging for some people. I have been called Titanic and Titanium… Tatiana comes from Ancient Greek and means a king, a ruler… Why would I want to change it? Besides, in my country, I even have a name day! It’s like having two birthdays.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
I am afraid of staying still, not evolving and wasting time. As a result, I am often tough on myself, and very self-critical.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
I do not have a favorite, really. But the first that came to my mind is Leonardo da Vinci. Not exactly for his genius, but for his perpetual motion. I think being a genius is not enough. You need to have determination and persistence. The guy never stopped… he painted, invented, created and wrote… Admirable energy and an enviable life!
What in the world do you least desire?
Being a witness to some horrific event and seeing suffering, while not being able to offer help. Cowardly, I know, but that’s me.
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of would make the world a better place?
Awareness that life is short and precious. Instead of wasting it on negative emotions and imposing your own opinions and truths on others, people should learn acceptance, love themselves, and simply celebrate life.
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
Most? Not sure about that, and frankly do not much care for why. Each person has his/her own interpretation of ‘me’, which is not necessarily true. Some like me for my strengths, others for my weaknesses.
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”
Poor memory and good health. Well, that is Mark Twain’s version, which I think is very true. My concept of happiness is not static. It evolves as I grow older. Now, I think happiness is loving yourself.
Tatyana’s work can be seen in ArtSpace in Salmiya. Follow Tatyana’s work on Instagram @tga164 and @artspaceq8. If you and your friends would like to learn how to paint in a similar style, Tatyana is partnering with ArtSpace to teach acrylics for portraiture and florals. Contact 9777 5273 to register your interest in classes and 6500 5657 for artwork enquiries. First class is Pop Art Portraits starting March 4th.
Photos by bazaar staff.