Boris Tyomkin was born in Moscow in 1970. His first experience with art came from his grandfather, Ilya Tyomkin, who was an artist in the Soviet Union. His landscapes and portraits were the first paintings Tyomkin saw and they made a deep impact on his work.
Boris’s family emigrated to Los Angeles in 1980. Due to difficult times, his parents stressed financial independence. At UCLA, he studied biology to prepare for medical school; however, the calling of art was stronger and after graduation, he rented his first studio.
Tyomkin worked independently for two years in Los Angeles, painting large scale symbolist figurative compositions, still lives, and portraits. In 1994, he met his first art teacher, Leonid Steele, a Soviet, classically trained artist. Tyomkin spent four years studying with Steele, who trained at the Repin Academy in Leningrad and was a direct descendant of the Russian school of painting formed in the last half of the nineteenth century. Tyomkin is deeply influenced by the artists of this period to this day.
Beginning in 1998, Tyomkin worked independently in Santa Cruz, California and became an integral part of the art community of the Bay Area. He participated in shows at art galleries in Carmel, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. He also had work exhibited at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz and the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. During this period, Tyomkin became inspired by the natural beauty of Santa Cruz and began to seriously pursue landscape painting.
In 2009, he moved to New York City and received an MFA from the New York Academy of Art (NYAA) in 2011. It was during his time at the NYAA that he fell in love with the works of Watteau, Tiepolo, and Fragonard and discovered a hidden link between Rococo and our time. Tyomkin’s recent work points toward a theatricality of life itself and the thin line between reality and illusion. He also began exploring his Jewish heritage through works on Jewish themes, especially Jewish life in the Russian shtetl at the turn of the 20th century. These works have been popular with the Orthodox community of Brooklyn. Living in Brooklyn was also instrumental in the creation of many cityscapes.
After starting a family a few years ago, Tyomkin and his wife decided to move back to Los Angeles to raise their children close to his large, extended family. Tyomkin currently lives and works in Sherman Oaks, CA.