“I came to Amsterdam eleven years ago. I was seventeen and wanted a different life. There wasn’t enough oxygen in Russia. I couldn’t live there as a bright and happy individual. I wanted to disappear from the grey masses where everyone looks the same and everyone is the same. I felt like an exception. It wasn’t only me who thought that way. Even my friends would say, “Dimitri, you were born in the wrong country”.
Once away from the grey masses I wanted to reach my peak here in Amsterdam, become famous, and really exist. Happily the city welcomed me, and I quickly felt at home. This was a feeling I had never experienced before. I can be who I want to be here and don’t have to bother worrying about whether I am allowed to or not. You are free here, and can let yourself go.
Three years ago I was given the chance to rent a large apartment at the Gaasperplas. There was so much space and lots of empty white walls. I’ve always loved art and wanted to find some to hang on these walls. Of course I couldn’t afford it, and that’s how my great passion came into being. Dimon the painter was born and my new passion was born. I focussed on interior space. I look at a space and want to cover it with my art. It’s the interior itself that tells me what will suit it best. It’s about highs and lows. My biggest mistake was seeing this as a business instead of the opportunity to create. I shouldn’t be thinking about where I can sell my art, I should only be thinking about the art.
My mother often comes to visit. It wasn’t easy for her, letting me go. But she understands how I need to have my freedom. This makes her very proud of me. I don’t miss Russia, I’m happy here - most of the time. The people here are very level-headed and tolerant. I’ve found my place here, and have built up a large group of friends and acquaintances. But my fire has not yet been fully released. I want to create infinite paintings.”
1.858 people in Amsterdam have the Russian nationality