January 08, 2017

Anatoly Lobanov, Украшенный Дом и сад/Decorated house and garden

Above art environment, a decorated house and garden, is located in the small community of Leskhovo, some 43 km west of Moscow in Russia.

Life and works

The site was created by Anatoly Mikhailovich Lobanov, about whom little biographical information is available.

He probably was born in the 1940's or 1950's and he had a job as mechanic at a plastic factory, maybe the one in Golygino, north of Moscow.

decorated entrance

In the production of plastic items residual material is left and Lobanov got the idea to use this colorful scrap to embellish his house. He thus began in the early 1970's, a project he continued in the following decades.

Currently the house, the outbuildings, the garden and the fence are almost completely decorated with symmetrically arranged geometrical cut colorful pieces of plastic, such as circles, polygons, stars.....  

Although in the field of european art environments some sites partially include plastic items, to my knowledge there are no sites which are exclusively decorated with this material. This makes Lobanov's creation rather unique. 

Trees in the garden are adorned with circular ornaments and decorated birdhouses. Comparable arrangements are on top of poles.

Although most decorative items have a geometric pattern, some of the decorations show depictions of animals, such as a rooster on a roof, two storks on their nest or an eagle (?) as in below picture.

A pinnacle on one of the rooftops has two symmetricaly placed side views of black horse heads around stylized flowers.

Less stylized is a stork in free flight, delivering a newborn (the stork attached to a line running from a roof to a tree).

this picture is a screenprint from Bezgodov's video 
see documentation

This art environment, which occasionaly is visited by tourists on guided tours, can be seen from the road.

* Article and series of pictures (2016) on Sergey Bezgodov's website bezphoto.net

¹ A quite interesting website about beautiful Russian architecture, streetart, storefront decorations and so on.

Anatoly Lobanov
Decorated house and garden
Leshkovo, Istra district, Russian Federation
can be seen from the street

December 13, 2016

Egor Federovich Utrobin, сад скульптур/sculpture garden

Located in a small Russian community, the house pictured above was built by it's occupant. The site has become known in Russia for the wooden sculptures displayed in the garden near the house.

Life and works

Born april 1st 1952 in the small comunity of Parmalayvo in the Kochyovsky district (Perm region, Russia), Egor Federovich Utrobin at an early age already showed an artistic talent. When he was still in elementary school he already made his first wooden sculpture.

He went to high school but, although talented, subsequently he wouldn't go to an art school. Maybe he was a bit shy and too modest about his artistic aptitude.

Anyhow, Utrobin got a job on a farm. Later he was conscripted in the army and when returned to his natal villlage he resumed his activities in farmwork.

He married, built the family home, got children, and then in the late 1980's when he was in his mid-thirties, he regained his original creative spirit and began making sculptures he displayed near his house.

Utrobin uses large tree stumps which are  left in the woods, regarded as unusable by loggers. Like so many sculptors who work with stumps, he already sees in the raw tree the character to depict.

Currently (2016) there are almost fifty sculptures in the garden. One can see demons, dragons, knights and legendary russian folk heroes like Kudym-Osh, but als depictions of ordinary people.

Occasionally villagers think they recognize themselves and Utrobin admits this sometimes is rightly.

Gradually the display of wooden sculptures became known in Russia and gradually also the number of visitors increased. In agreement with the local authorities, in 1993 Utrobin decided to denote the site as a museum. However, formally the site isn't part of the Perm region's cultural infrastructure.

Last but not least: Utrobin's house itself, with it's specific structure and the four minaret-like towers, may also be seen as a successful example of singular architecture.

* Entry (september 2014) by Lora Kroft on Maxpark, illustrated
* Article on Nash Ural website, illustrated
* Article on Kamwa website, illustrated
* Article (july 2012) on Optusk21 website, illustrated
* Article (january 2011) by Alexander Belenkiy on Livejournal, illustrated
* Video by Rifey TV (Youtube, 2'38", uploaded july 2013)

Egor Federovich Utrobin
Museum/Sculpture garden
Parmalayvo, Kochyovsky district, Perm region, Russian Federation
can be visited as a museum
small entrance fee for maintenance of the sculptures

December 11, 2016

Eugène Bornet, Trois-mâts sur la terre ferme/Three-masted ship on dry land

In the field of french art environments, Eugène Bornet's three-masted ship is a classic. Begun in the early 1980's, the construction in the front garden of his house in Tréglamur, Britanny, currently is over thirty years old and it still attracts interested visitors.

Life and works 

Born in 1933, Eugéne Bornet worked as a mason and a stonecutter. In the late 1970's when he was in his mid forties, he got a disease that paralyzed his arms. Recovered after prolonged treatment his doctor advised him to take a manual activity.

So Bornet got the idea to build a ship in the garden of his house, an idea that was partly inspired by the place of origin of his wife (✝ dec 2009), Audierne, a port town in the extreme west of Britanny.

He began to pick up pebbles in the fields around his community and when he had a good stock he began constructing the three-masted ship that made him known as an outsider artist.

An early review of his creation, writtten in 2002 by Paskal Larsen, was published in 2006 by the internet magazine Foutraque. Years later (june 2014) Sophie Lepetit published a series of pictures on her weblog and in the same year an artice about the site appeared on the weblog Animula Vagula.

a seagull

In addition to the three-masted ship, Bornet also created smaller items, in general using pebbles and cement. Above pictured seagull is an example of such a small scale creation.

shrine for the Holy Vierge

Other creations include a lighthouse, a small replica of his living house functioning as letter box, a shrine with the Holy Vierge, as pictured above.

view from the street

On above general view of the site one can see that the low wall surrounding the garden is decorated with a number of cement dices.

Actual situation

Bornet, who currently (2016) is in his early eighties, is no longer active in making new creations.

Documentation/more pictures
* Article (2006) by Paskal Larsen in webmagazine Foutraque
* Article (jan 2011) in regional newspaper Ouest France
* Various pictures (2014) on Sophie Lepetit's weblog
* Article (2014) on weblog Animula Vagula

Eugène Bornet
14 rue de la Mairie
22540 Tréglamus, Côtes d' Armor, Britanny, France

November 27, 2016

Collective of conscripts, Sculptures for Teykovo

Approaching the Russian city Teykovo around 2010, one could come across a set-up of some five wooden sculptures made in a naive style, a set not installed to regulate traffic, but to beautify the town.

It looks somewhat like Charles Pecqueur's decorated roundabout in Ruitz, France: a set of sculptures meant to beautify his hometown, however in his case also with a traffic regulating character.

Teykovo is city of around 35.000 inhabitants, located some 300 kms north-east of Moscow. From old a town with textile industry, it currently houses the strategic missile division of the Russian army.

The idea of doing a project to the benefit of the town -and especially its children- around 2010 originated in the leadership of the military garrison. 

The project would include the construction of playgrounds. These sites as well as many other spots of the town would be embellished with sculptures, all with the deployment of the creative skills of young conscripts. 

And then these playgrounds and sculptures were realised indeed.

The pictures above and below show some playgrounds (as around 2010). The picture below has partly dugged in multicolored vehicle tyres and a variety of sculptures, including Sponge Bob.

Other playgrounds are surrounded by partly dugged-in tree trunks, as in the picture below.


The most suprising aspect of the project is the large number of stand-alone mainly wooden sculptures. It's truly an open air festival of naive/outsider art.

The three-headed character below is just one example of the numerous sculptures created in the context of this project.

In general most sculptures are more conventional than the one above. They portray all kinds of animals, such as elephants, rabbits, pigs, snails and giraffes, children's favorites such as Sponge Bob and Humpty Dumpty and a variety of (mainly) male characters such as a police man, a knight, a Don Quichotte and a soldier.


The internet has a number of (Russian) websites that show these sculptures, mainly as they were in the early 2010's, for example:
(These pictures have been re-published on the Facebook page Outsider Art february 2014)

Actual situation

To my knowledge there are no recent (Russian) websites with information about the actual (nov 2016) situation of this large series of sculptures (a mega art environment) in Teykovo.

Collective of conscripts
Sculptures for the city
Teykovo, Ivanov region, Russian Federation
if still extant, sculptures ar visible in public space

November 22, 2016

Vladimir Chaika, Decorated stairwell

pictures by Andrey Chaika

This art environment in a flat in a suburb of Kiev, Ukraine, early november this year (2016) first gained publicity when it was seen by a medical doctor who payed a home visit and informed the press about what he had seen. 

Life and works

Vladimir Chaika (born around 1951), who made this creation, worked as a foreman at Kiev's subway, eventually at the depot in the city's Obolons'kyi district, where he was involved in the maintenance of the buildings and other structures.

Chaika was very interested in architecture and visual art and when he met a colleague who taught him how to work with molds in order to make plaster models, this inspired him to undertake such activities himself.

Especially after in 1997 he had an accident and recovered from being clinically dead, he wanted to realise his lifelong dream: to do something that others don't do.

So in 2001 he began an art project that indeed only is undertaken by very few non-professionals: decorating the stairwell of the flat where he lives in a classical style ¹.

"My own style", he says. The mostly in green or blue tones painted walls feature moldings, rosettes and pilasters. The stucco plaster is mostly golden painted. Oval frames contain mirrors or (photocopied) portraits of personalities from former centuries. Chaika added images of landscapes and there is a Mona Lisa. The ceilings display angels and the sun.

The garbage chute, a standard device in this flat (pictured below), has been transformed into a gilded column.

Chaika's neighbours in the flat in general reacted very positively to his activities. And Chaika himself, he is quite happy with what he calls his hobby: "When I'm doing this, I forget everything, including all problems. It's a delight"

Occasionaly helped by his son Andrey, Chaika currently (2016) has completed three floors of the stairwell of the nine-story building. Now at age 65 and retired, he intends to continue the project untill all floors are decorated, provided that as a pensioner he can continu to bear the cost of the materials. 

* Documentation
* Article in local newspaper Kiev-Segodnya (november 8, 2016)
* Video by Awakening Morality (1'12", Youtube, uploaded november 12, 2016)

¹ This blog already documents just a few non-professionals who decorated their house in a classical style, i.e. Robert Burns and Dennis NelemsGary Bevans decorated the roof of the local church with a replica of the Sistine Chapel. All three are from the United Kingdom

Vladimir Chaika
Decorated stairwell
Raiduzhna Street 11-a
Kiev, Ukraine
no public visits

November 11, 2016

Eighth anniversary of this blog

Bonjour aux promeneurs, Hello walkers
picture of Chatelain's sculpture 

With the idea to raise awareness of the at that time little known phenomenon of art environments on november 11, 2008 I published the first post in a weblog I entitled Outsider Environments Europe.

So today this blog has its eighth anniversary and as in previous years, I will relate here some data (as of november 10) as provided by Blogger's statistics "behind the scenes".

Number of visitors

On november 10, 2015 the all time number of page views was 420.277. On november 10, 2015 it was 583.287 an increase of 163.010 during  last year, or on the average 446 visitors a day.

All time pageviews by country

As in previous years here is the all time rank of top ten countries as regards pageviews:

 1.  United States 177030 (rank 2015: idem)
 2   Netherlands 63517 (rank 2015: idem)
 3.  France 57951 (rank 2015: idem)
 4.  Germany 46971 (rank 2015: idem)
 5   United Kingdom 41398 (rank 2015: idem)
 6.  Ukraine 20171 (rank 2015: idem)
 7.  Russia 18496 (rank 2015 idem)
8.  Spain 12020 (rank 2015: 9th)
9.  Italy 11366 (rank 2015: 8th)
10.  Poland 4619 (rank 2015: idem)

As in previous years, the top is rather stable: the same countries appear, almost all in the same order, except Italy and Spain which changed places.

The last time I paid close attention to the phenomenon of art environments in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation and I feel happy that the interest from people in these countries remains at the same level

Most viewed sites all time

 2. Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, Palais Idéal 5401 (rank 2015: 4)
3. Robert Garcet, Tour Eben-Ezer 4901 (rank 2015: 1)
 4. Abbé Fouré, Rochers sculptés 4782 (rank 2015: 2)
 5. Robert Tatin, Musée  4341 (rank 2015: 3)
 6. José María Garrido, Museo  4226 (rank 2015: idem)
 7. Bodan Litnianski, Jardin  3931 (rank 2015: 5)
 8  Joseph Pujiula i Vila, Labyrinth  3636 (rank 2015: 9)
 9. Chomo, Preludian art  3500 (rank 2015:7)
10. Karl Junker, Junkerhaus 3469 (rank 2015: 8)
The first place for Bill and Elisabeth Charge is without any doubt due to a one time event. End october 2016 the husband of a granddaughter of Bill and Elisabeth posted a message on the Watford Memories and History page on Facebook, asking -with a link to the relevant post in this blog- if anyone remembered the decorated garden. Well, thousands of people did and this resulted in over 5000 hits of the post in a few days time.

This year the top ten of most viewed sites once more is rather stable, with Garcet (from Belgium), Abbé Fouré, Robert Tatin, Facteur Cheval, Bodan Litnianski and Chomo (all from France), Josep Pujiula i Vila en José Maria Garrido (both from Spain) and Karl Junker (from Germany).

On the 11th place is Francisco González Grajera, El Capricho de Cotrina (3203 views), Willem van Genk, Arnhem bus station, who left the top ten, this year is on the 12th place (2923 views), and Erich Bödeker, Garten mit Skulpturen is on the 13th place (2908 views). 

Other creators of sites that rank high in terms of number of times viewed are: Robert Vasseur (2799 views), Yves Floc’h (2596 views, Raymond Isidore (Picassiette)  (2493 views, Oreste Fernando Nannetti   (2378 views) and Stephen Wright (2309 views)


The weblog also has some pages. Most popular is the Index by country/region, consulted over 98000 times, followed by the Index of names, consulted over 5000 times.

The General introduction attracted around 2200 viewers, the page about sources etc had some 1000 viewers  and the one about expositions over 1900.

October 25, 2016

Yevgeny M. Malakhin (artist name Bukashkin), Краска мусора/Paint the garbage

the artist on a mural in a pink dress
(no names of photographers listed)

This is the story of a very special non-conformist outsider artist, who in the 1990's brightened the center of Yekaterinburg with music and a lot of colorful murals he painted on buildings and fences.

Yektarinburg is a large city in the Russian Federation, located at the eastern edge of what in geographical terms in general is considered as Europe.

Life and works

Born in Irkutsk on september 16, 1938, Yevgeny Mikhailovich Malakhin studied in Izhevsk, where he graduated as an engineer in energy supplies. After his studies, in 1961 he went to live in Sverdlovsk (as Yekaterinburg was called from 1924 to 1991), a city where he would stay for  the rest of his life. 

He got a job as senior engineer at the electricity company Uralenergo. In 1965 he married Valerie Petrovka and the couple would have a daughter, Nastya. In 1971 he and his wife made a long journey, visiting Senegal and various European countries.

Development as an artist

Malakhin was rather interested in philosophy and music. The 1970's became for him a period to try out all kinds of artistic activities. In the early 1970's he was active in experimental photography. Later he  worked with wood, made paintings as a self-taught painter and wrote poetry and published books.

In the mid 1980's he had a first exposition and from that time his need to present himself as an artist was growing.

So he equipped himself with an artist name, first Kakiem Akahievich Kashkin, also K.A. Kashkin, which later would become B.U. Kashkin or Bukashkin. He also rented his own studio, a small room in the basement of a building on Tolmachev Street in the center of the city and began to live more and more on his own.

picture from website aziko.ru
(no name of photographer listed)

In 1992 Malakhin ended his job at Uralenergo and fully devoted himself to a sober, but pronounced existence as an artist.

As Bukashkin he would become Yekaterinburg’s major non-conformist artist of the 1990’s. He was also quite recognizable as such, a bearded man, walking around in the city with a balalaika, a large tambourine on his neck and bells on his hat.

In his artwork he promoted family relations and love for one’s country as important values and he urged citizens not to drink or smoke, to love others, enjoy life and do good deeds. One will find these these themes in the some twenty educative and ecological books he wrote and published himself and also in his paintings and drawings, he often handed out to onlookers for free.

He became rather well known in his country and was also named  Russian people's janitor (for a short period he worked as janitor at a bank).

Paint the garbage, paint the town 

In the early 1990’s Bukashkin began a campaign with the slogan Paint the garbage.

He developed a theory about garbage to the effect that waste can be seen as art or as a basis of an artwork, probably a fairly unusual opinion in Bukashkin's society of that time, but then already prevalent in the field of art environments elsewhere in Europe.

In his view even the ugliest places in town could be made pretty to look at. So he began making paintings on concrete fences, garages, walls of buildings, garbage bins and so on. It has been said the whole city was his canvas.

In the city of Yekaterinburg as it was in the 1990's, Bukashkin probably was the first to do such murals and he can be seen as a pioneer of what later would be considered as street art.

The idiom which is reflected in his wall decorations marks him as an artist in the field of outsider art. The totality of his murals, situated in the center of the city, can be regarded as a mega art environment ¹.

Bukashkin has made over thirty murals, which meanwhile partly have faded away or have gone lost. An association of friends has ensured that some were restored and that on various spots replicas have been placed.

At the end of 2004 Bukashkin had to leave his studio at Tolmachev Street, beacuse the building would be demolished and replaced by new construction. Some months later, the artist died of an acute asthma attack on March 13, 2005.

 An association of friends 

To keep the memory of Bukashkin alive on January 8, 2008 a group of friends founded an association named Old Man Bukashkin, presided by Yevgeny Artyukh, well-known in political and business circles in Yeketarinburg. One of their activities was to make a Bukashkin Trail, a walk along the spots where the artist had put up his wall paintings. The association also has contributed to the realization of a museum in Yekaterinburg devoted to Bukashkin.

B.U. Kashkina Museum 

Initiated by professors and students of the Ural Federal University the B.U. Kashkina Museum opened on december 19th 2008.

portrait of Bukashkin on a wall of the museum
(screenprint from a tv-video of the opening of the museum)

The museum, located at Lenin Avenue 51 in Yekaterinburg, aims to present and study non-standard modern urban culture in its various forms in order to understand its creative role in shaping a positive image of the urban environment.

It holds works and documents of and about Bukashkin and it also documents other non-conformistic movements and naive artists in the Ural.

* B.U.Kashkin (1938–2005): Life and Art of Ural Punk Skomorokh, Edited by Aleksandr Shaburov This book, a first collection and review of Bukashkin’s creative work, was published at the occasion of the exhibition in 2015  I’ve Lived My Life, I’m Not Dead Yet. A Tribute to B.U.Kashkin

cover of the book

* Website of the association of friends (with various details of Malakhin's life, such as that in 1978 he told his wife that there was another woman in his life with whom he had a child; in the early 1980's he would start a new family with her)
* Alexander Shaburov, "The last of Skomorokhs. In memory of B.U. Kashkin", in: Umelec Magazine, 2010/2 (febr 2010) (in english, a portrait of Bukashkin in the context of the Russian avantgarde) 
* The internet has a lot of videos about the artist. Here is a link to a list of mainly Russian spoken videos
* Just for a first introduction, here is a recent video (by MrMediaProduction) that even if you do not understand russian, gives a good idea of Bukashkin's varies activities (11'56", Youtube, uploaded january 2014)

 ¹ The concept “mega art environment” has recently been introduced by Alexander Emelyanov, creator of an art environment in Samara, Russian Federation. It is a proper term to refer to the totality of related creations located in a rather extensive territory near the artist's living place. Examples are the creations made by Danièle Aubin, François Michaud, Pierre Rapeau and Juan Garcia Naveira.

Yevgeny M. Malakhin
also known as Bukashkin
Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation
to see what is left of the murals there is a walking trail
(starts at Lenin Avenue 5b, see a tourist guide or get info at a tourist office)