Graduate of VSUES, famous artist and founder of the DWYL brand from Miami Sergey Gordienko: the university greatly influenced who I am and where I am now

8 October 2020Students’ life

Sergey Gordienko graduated from VSUES in 2005 with a degree in Graphic Design, moved to Moscow, where at first  he worked as a designer and art director, then founded his own studio. At the age of 29, Sergey left for the USA, continuing to work as a designer and art director, at first in San Diego, then in Miami, where he founded his own brand DWYL (Do what you love). Today Sergey's works of art and sculptures are kept by collectors all over the world, even in Japan and Australia, he is invited to participate in all major exhibitions of contemporary art in Florida, and even Forbes magazine made a separate mention of him. The plans of the former student of the University of Vladivostok are to conquer the whole world, and in his heart VSUES still occupies a very important place.

- Sergey, have you chosen a universal language of professional communication - graphic symbols, because you originally planned to go international level and go abroad?

- Everything was a little different. Immediately after school, I entered the FESTU as a programmer, at the same time I created websites using the graphic packages available then. But when I saw that it was possible to get a higher education in web design at VSUES, I immediately realized that this was my story, since I always had creative, visual accentuation and programming was difficult for me. I took the documents from the Far Eastern State Technical University and, having lost six months, entered the VSUES, already for a fee. But I understood that if I was going to make money from website building, I must do it professionally, not be self-taught.

- The fact that you now live and work in Miami was in the plans or did the circumstances of your life happen?

- Miami was not in my plans. After graduating from university, I moved to Moscow, where I worked in graphic design as an art director or creative director. Then I opened my own design studio in Moscow. The studio existed successfully for three years, but I decided that I needed to develop further, try something else, for example, work in the USA. I moved to San Diego, where I started a creative agency. Three and a half years later, I moved to San Francisco with a startup idea, where I looked for opportunities to implement it. From San Francisco, I went with friends to the largest exhibition of contemporary art in the USA Art Basel Miami Beach, where I realized that I no longer want to work in digital, but I want to work with my hands, I want to create, I want to be a full-time artist and exhibit at Art Basel. So five years ago I ended up in Miami.

- How many years did it take to adapt to the United States and acquire your current social status? What was the hardest part?

- The most difficult thing was overcoming the language barrier. It took me about the first year and a half just to start talking and not think what the Americans would think of me. I had a pretty big block on this one. And only with time, thanks to communication with friends, confidence began to appear. It was also difficult not to see my parents - the first five years after the move, it was physically impossible. Another difficulty was that I came to the United States at the age of 29 and I had to start all over again, from scratch. In general, everything was not easy, but everything was interesting!

- In your case, the factor of success - character, talent or luck?

- As in other similar cases, rather, a combination of factors. Every day I went to be where I want to be. And everything influenced this: the character, and the environment in which I grew up, and the films that I watched, and the cultural background, and perseverance, well, and an approximate understanding of where I want to be and what I want to do.

- How was your own unique handwriting formed? How did the DWYL concept come about?

- All my life I lived in the paradigm that you need to do what you love and get high from what you do. Therefore, when the question of my own branding, message, art mission and art manifesto arose, I had no doubts. I clearly realized that I have to convey to people a simple idea that the most important thing in life is to do what you love through your paintings, through visual communication.

- It is believed that being an artist means having a special type of thinking and a special way of perceiving the world, which are poorly assembled with financial planning. How do you manage to combine both?

- In my case, it helps that I have been worked with branding, graphic design, website building for 15 years, was the head of my own studio, so the techniques that I use now, as an artist, came from the experience that I gained earlier. I understand how to package beautifully, provide, sell, how to make a product delicious. But I do not change myself and my paintings are as I would like to see them.

- Do you feel realized now, or is there still an untapped potential?

- Now I feel that I am in a productive state and everything is happening as it should. Although, according to my feelings, I am only at the very beginning of the journey, only gaining momentum. The plans include the whole world, world fame and love.

- Can you call yourself a happy person?

 - Yes, I can.

- Now, looking back, can you say that you made the right choice of university and specialty? Has your study formed the foundation for further growth?

- I have always been grateful to VSUES, my teachers and my student years in general, when I was surrounded by talented people with whom it was interesting to interact, watch, listen to, for example, Professor Olga Georgievna Obertas. I have the warmest memories of VSUES. And when a few years ago I found Olga Georgievna's phone and called her, I had an insane feeling of gratitude for what she taught me. Of course, VSUES greatly influenced where I am now and who I am now. And I remember how interesting, especially in contrast to studying at FESTU, the educational process seemed, where there were only interesting and important subjects that developed our creative perception of the world. It was really cool! Thank you, VSUES. I invite my Primorsky compatriots, future designers, artists and everyone who is interested in contemporary art and visual communications to subscribe to my instagram and visit the site.