As is the tradition at the Artists of America Show, the Master of Ceremony and drum corps moved through the halls of the Colorado Historical Museum poised to present the coveted Artists’ Choice Award. Reaching the gallery where Aleksander Titovets’ three paintings were exhibited, art patrons gathered to see the priceless look of surprise on the Russian artist’s face when the announcement was made.
The prestigious award was one of two presented to an individual artist at the 1998 18th Annual Artist of America Show in Denver. As the title suggests, the recipient of the Artists’ Choice Award is selected by a vote of participating artists. Being singled out by one’s peers is a high honor for any artist. For Titovets, it is a recognition he cherishes.
“It means a great deal to me because the selection was based on professional judgment, and artists are sometimes very picky with one another,” Titovets said of the award. “Ego is like a fuel to the artist, burning to produce something … when they can step over that personal ego and select another artist’s work, then this is a great compliment.”
Aleksander’s three works for the 18th annual show sponsored by the Rotary Club of Denver were Russian in flavor but universal in themes of love, serenity and courage. The most impressive of the trio was his interpretation of the story of Judith and the Holofernes. The narrative work, rich in subtle yet jewel-like color, was a departure for the classically-trained painter who likes to create what he calls “quiet paintings”. “I hate action. Also, I don’t want to do bright colors which remind me of big signs in the supermarket saying ‘sale’. Life is so intense and so speedy now, you need time to reflect on who you are and what is your purpose.”
At the presentation, Titovets, flanked by his wife Lyuba, was visibly overwhelmed by the award. rightly so, indicated Rotarian Perry Nissler, a member of the organization’s selection committee. It is especially unusual for a young artist who is somewhat of a newcomer to the prestigious show to be selected in the company of so many nationally ranked artists. “We had a number of AOA masters exhibiting this year…Chen Chi, Ron Riddick, artists whose work has been a part of the show for ten years or more. Aleksander Titovets was judged against some of the best!”