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Chapin Art Trail
A Community Art Project

Spirit of the Lake

Olga Yukhno

Installed April 2023

Spirit of the Lake
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Artist's Statement 

After living in Chapin for years, I wanted to make a piece that highlighted what I personally enjoy the most about it. Chapin has such unique natural beauty, and I chose to create a work of art to represent the breathtaking scenes of nature that can be observed here. The lake has a wonderful diversity of animals and plants that make for the most gorgeous sights you could hope for. I decided to bring a little bit of that beauty into the heart of town with this work.

About the Artwork

The “Spirit of the Lake” is a six-foot tall obelisk sculpture incorporating mosaic as well as ceramic elements that represent the flora and fauna of Chapin and Lake Murray.

The artist’s intent is to reflect the unique natural beauty in and around the town. The artwork is designed to represent the area and compliment the other art on the trail, but also be visually unique and striking in a way that will appeal to everyone. No matter the differences in a diverse population, everyone can appreciate the beauty and splendor of the plants and animals that surround us.

About the Artist

Olga Yukhno is an artist originally from Pyatigorsk, Russia. It was in Russia her passion for art began. Inspired by the culture of her home country, she started by working with batiques, stained glass and enameling. She studied under world renowned enamellist, Nikolai Vdovkin for several years to hone her skills, before moving to the United States in 2008.

In the US, she no longer had access to the tools needed to continue with her enameling, and quickly started expanding into any and every new medium she could get access to. What she fell in love with was ceramic sculpting. It allowed her to experiment, and fuse together old-world artistry with her skills and abilities across a wide variety of art forms to create totally new and unique mixed media pieces.

Over the years, Olga has traveled to over 40 countries across Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and the Americas, and visited museums ranging from the world famous Louvre in France, to the smallest unnamed art displays in towns and villages few outsiders have ever seen. It is in these travels she gets the most inspiration, drawing on the uniqueness and culture of every new place she visits, she finds ways to incorporate those cultural nuances into each new piece she makes. The colors, shapes, and ideas of everything from tribal masks to modern street art can be seen woven into her work. She loves juxtaposition in her art, old and new, lustrous and weathered, and it’s in these contrasts she finds beauty.

As a member of the International Federation of Artists, Olga has taken part in many shows and exhibitions in both Russia and the United States. In 2006, she won the International Design Contest for Traditional National Costumes in Moscow. She has been featured in multiple solo exhibitions, including at the Bascom Art Center, and several galleries in North and South Carolina. She has completed courses and taught at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, and has studied under many acclaimed sculptors in the South East.

Currently her work is a mixture of three dimensional ceramic and mixed media wall pieces, figurative sculpture, and larger scale installation works. The process used to create many of her signature looks is achieved by hand pressing each individual impression into the clay using small custom made metal tools. She hand makes all of these tools herself out of repurposed architectural metal scraps. She also loves to incorporate found objects, as well as utilize techniques from other art forms she’s studied and practiced, such as weaving, encaustic and metal working. The result of this process, different incorporated elements and techniques are what create her unique and visually interesting personal style. Her degree in psychology shapes the ideas and concepts behind many of her pieces, with the intention that observing her work encourages the viewer to think more about what they’re seeing, and the emotions it evokes.

Scavenger Hunt Clue: 

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A Partnership Project by the Crooked Creek Art League and the Town of Chapin

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This organization is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support in this grant comes from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

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This project was supported by a Connected Communities grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation.

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