Six Questions for the Creative Family Behind Downtown Basalt’s New Art Fusion Studio
RFL: Your studio is a true family operation. Tell us more.
Yanika Chemerisov: “We are Alex, a photographer; Yelena, a visual artist; and I’m their daughter Yanika, a visual and performing artist. We immigrated to Los Angeles from the former Soviet Union, and after thirty years, recently moved to Basalt, which is my husband’s hometown.”
What’s it like to work so closely together?
Chemerisov: “Both rewarding and challenging. My mother has taught art classes from home for decades, and with my father’s clients coming over for photo shoots, we were used to business being done at home. Because we are so close, we aren’t immune to butting heads. This usually motivates us to find new approaches to communication and respect, with our love always at the center.”
Yanika, what is your arts background?
Chemerisov: Starting with ballet at age three and continuing dancing through childhood, I then found theater at Hollywood Performing Arts High School. I went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from UC Santa Barbara, and moved home to Hollywood to work in the entertainment industry. I fell in love with folk dance and world music, studied bellydancing, and spent a year in Egypt. I now teach acting, yoga, and dance from various cultures.
What do you love about the artistic spirit of the Roaring Fork Valley?
Chemerisov: “People here are very supportive of the arts. We love that there are so many galleries, sip-and-paint events, and thriving community theaters.”
If someone has never taken a class at the studio before, what’s your first recommendation?
Chemerisov: “Definitely a group art class or one-on-one with Yelena, open to all ages. Teens and adults can come to bellydance classes starting in late spring (I’m taking some time off right now with my new baby), or to our Thursday evening gatherings, originally meant as a women’s group but now open to everyone for casual conversation, tea, a book club, sharing stories, drawing, crafting, etc.”
What’s next for you in 2020?
Chemerisov: “We are excited to offer theatrical recitals and gallery openings, oil portrait and mural commissions, and to bring in more people for photo shoots. The space is set up for professional studio lighting, but we have the lovely Fryingpan River just outside, providing wonderful scenery for photos in nature. We want to explore the relationship between the abundant natural beauty here, and people’s instinctual pull toward creativity and expression.”
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Social media: @ArtFusionBasalt