Fedor Ablenin didn`t become, remarkable artist of the book, devoted to it all his life. The oldest book designer of Orenburg Region, a unique specialist in fonts, he created so many books that their volumes will take more than one library rack. Among them are two of mine: “Portraits from nature” – about Orenburg artists and “Name from the poster” – interviews with the stars of theater, cinema, stage. Fyodor Mikhailovich didn`t just invent the original design, he created the image of the book, becoming a full co-author. The book about artists, which received the most prestigious awards of the Orenburg region, opens an interview with Fyodor Mikhailovich. Read and remember this good man…
Fedor Ablenin: “A pessimist is a well-informed optimist“
The artist Fedor Ablenin does not like hype. His own 60th anniversary would be celebrated in the family circle. Art historian Gennady Naidanov collected his works, systematized and arranged an exhibition in the regional Museum of fine arts. There was something to show: books, posters, paintings, invitation cards, logos and brand names, sketches of plaques, postcards. There were many hobbies in his creative biography. Fedor Mikhailovich paid tribute to literary creativity, published his own book of poems and memoirs for the anniversary, giving it a double name – “Ducks” and “at the point”.
— «Ducks»-is it because of them you want to become an artist?
— Yes, it all started with them. I was five. Father was a shoemaker in the rural combine of household services, he didn`t twiddle his thumbs at home: he hemmed felt boots, mended boots, wove willow twigs baskets and other utensils. Well, I “helped” him. Once he could not stand it and spanked “assistant”. I cried. To calm me down, father in one motion drew duck the stub of a chemical pencil in the margins of a newspaper. That’s when something clicked in my head. When he was seeing my interest, my father gave me a pencil. By the time my mother arrived, I had painted not only newspapers, but a white tablecloth and half of the furnace. The second half was not enough of a pencil. My father and I, of course, got it. But at the weekend my mother went to the city and sold some of the peasant provisions, brought a large cardboard box, which had watercolor paints, crayons, notebooks for drawing and coloring books. The decision to become an artist was made definitively and irrevocably.
— Why is «At a point»? Like you’re summing up.
— Many people think so: I reached the point. I meant the beginning, the starting point.
— You are very attentive to the word. You dissect and search for many meaning. I feel like you read a lot.
— When you make up a book, you have to read it willingly or unwittingly. I have always loved literature. As a child, my father read me by heart “General Toptygin”, and the poem I have imprinted in my memory from the first to the last line. Maybe because it mentions my name. The coachman’s name was Fedor. I always had excellent marks in literature. I wrote compositions to free topics, where it is possible to talk profusely. And when he became an artist designer, game of words and fonts went. The current exhibition prepared-began to think, as we will call. Well, let’s call it ” Flipping pages». Pages of life, publishers. I decided to play font.
— Why do you have such a tender love for fonts?
— I began to go to the circle of drawing in fifth or sixth class, which led Vasily Sergeevich Ivanchenko. Front-line soldier, self-taught, but very beautifully wrote. He wrote the usual pointed feather. I have captured still that time when these feathers wrote-somewhere with pressure, somewhere thinly. You can’t write with a ballpoint pen. Letters began with the words “gracious sovereign “and ending with the words” with the lowest bow ” were written with such feathers. There was a breath of the writing person, his feelings. It was a whole layer of culture that was destroyed. But it was also the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills develop and the brain develops. By the way, children still write in primary school only with fountain pens in Germany. It teaches diligence, accuracy, brings up culture. Vasily Sergeyevich noticed me and began to trust me the design of school corners, holiday wall newspapers. I quickly learned to write with poster feathers. he even stopped controlling me in 8th class. I succeeded him. But I couldn`t succeed with him in calligraphy.
— Pavlovka village, where did two artists come from-you and Andrey Presnov, probably, very picturesque?
— It was picturesque when the river Donguz was full-flowing. I remember, I was about seven or eight years old, when my father and I went to put wicker baskets with bait, where the fish swam – line, pike. There isn`t river almost. Small saucer remains in the summer, which has not yet silted up fontanelles. But here we swam, jumped from the cliff. I drowned three times. I even remember the sensation under water – darkness before the eyes and the receding point of light… The river disappeared and everything was different. Juiciness lost.
— And what is the strongest impression left from childhood?
— I remember the flood in 1956. I was four. Dad woke us up with my mum at night. We moved from a house that was flooded to a big pile of dung. The father leveled the top and spread a tarp. Warm was from rotting dung. We slept there. The water rustled mysteriously in the darkness. There were military amphibians in the morning and took us to the”mainland”.
— Do you like to travel?
— No, I’m a «nobleman». I love my home and my yard.
— There are a lot of plaques made according to your sketches in Orenburg. There are Father and son Piotrovsky, screenwriter Alexei Samoryadov, ataman Alexander Dutov, Director Alexander Ioffe, knitter Olga Fedorova. Which plaque do you like the most?
— The plaque about visit to Orenburg crown Prince Nicholas, which hangs in the teacher’s House, the former Assembly of the nobility. All in monograms. The font is very important. The font can convey the spirit of the era. I used the font “Herald” in the Dutov`s memorial plaque. It was this typeface that prevailed in printing houses when the Bolsheviks seized power.
— Passions inflamed around the Dutov`s plaque. The civil war has no statute of limitations: the theme of red and white is still very painful. Hadn`t you doubt-to take this job or not?
— No, I hadn`t. Because it was understood that it was a fratricidal war. Ask red what he fought for. For homeland- answered he. Ask white what he fought for? For homeland-answered he. Everyone fought for the same thing. It is difficult to understand why killed each other.
— It was told that the invitation to the exhibition of works of a native of Orenburg Vladimir Kibalchich, made by you, caused amazement Tsereteli more than the exhibition itself.
— It’s nice that a man of art appreciated my work so much. But I have more pleasant memories-when, for example, Vladyka Leontiy praised me for greeting cards. And he blessed me for the session, when I was a third-year student at the Moscow polygraphic Institute. I wasn’t ready for the exams, but it went like clockwork.
— You have all the artists in your family – you, wife, both daughters…
— Yes, there is no one to hammer a nail. The youngest daughter Natasha is engaged in painting. The eldest daughter Anna is the most educated of our family. She graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of arts named of Repin. She worked as an art historian at the museum. We’re all on the same wavelength and understand each other at a glance.
— Would you like your grandchildren to become artists?
— I wouldn`t impose. I didn’t impose on my daughters. When they entered the university, I told them so: «If I will hear one bad word about you from teachers, you will take a mop in hands and go to wash entrances». I wasn’t ashamed of them.
— You once graduated from this university with red diploma. And you stayed there to teach. Do you like to sow “reasonable, good, eternal”?
— After I got the distribution go to Adamovka. And I’m already married, our first daughter was born. The Director of the school calls me and asks if I want to stay to teach at the university. I didn’t want to teach, but I wanted to stay in Orenburg. So I stayed. It was flour the first two or three years. Especially when my wife came back from academic leave and became my student. She disorganized me by sitting in the front row and knitting. And this was on subject “Composition”! “You discredit me,” I resented. “Better not go to class at all, I’ll tell you everything.” Now I teach font and typography at the Department of graphic design at the Orenburg state University.
— There is spring outside the window. What a dazzling sun! What season do you like best?
— I like spring. It’s from my childhood. As soon as the snow fell, we took a loaf of bread, a bucket to cast gophers-and we went to the steppe for the whole day. There was steam from the earth in the sun. Wild ray breaks. The lark rings in the sky. This picture is imprinted in the soul forever. What a happy time it was! I also like the first summer rains, when running through the puddles barefoot. I taught himself to think that nature really has no bad weather with ages.
— Can you call yourself a happy man?
— Writer Michael Weller said: “A person always strives for happiness, but does everything not to achieve it”. But actually, keep in mind, I’m a pessimist. However, a pessimist is a well-informed optimist.