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Meet Billy Frolov

Today we’d like to introduce you to Billy Frolov.

Billy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, I was born in Buffalo New York where I spent a chunk of my childhood but then we moved to a boring suburb in Virginia where I spent alot of time in the woods and loitering at strip malls with my friends. I don’t have an amazing story about how I became an artist, but I’ve always liked making things and I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

My parents aren’t artists but my mom is a really creative, loving, and progressive person. She always encourages and believes in me. My dad is Russian, he fled the Soviet Union and does not believe in or encourage me ever, but I think it’s important that I had somebody to fight with growing up. Being an artist is hard, society and the economy is mostly against you. You have to be very strong and firm about what you believe in, and as long as I can remember I have been, even though the things I believe in are softy stuff like fun, comfort, love…

Anyway, I moved out to Los Angeles after briefly living in Tokyo after highschool and deciding not to go to an art school there. I was really sad to leave but I finally like LA after all these years.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh God there is only struggle. Many personal tragedies along the way.

I love Sufjan Stevens alot. To make a big generalization his music finds the beauty in pain, so I’ve had the most beautiful time I guess. I don’t know how to talk about this stuff in my work, and I don’t want to.

On the bright side I’ve had good friends and incredible luck. Somehow I’m living in a beautiful house with the love of my life and our cats and our studios. My biggest struggle is to calm down enough to trust and enjoy when things are good. I love my life.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Well, I’m an artist, I paint and make things I like. People probably know me for making paintings with thick paint along with industrial and unconventional material. My work is personal and emotional first and I tend to work in series, exploring a theme with a specific approach for more than a year. Right now I’m thinking and making alot about portraiture in relation to objects and places that are close to me. I’m making a painting of my quilt, some dishes I bought when I moved in with my boyfriend, and corners of specific rooms I can see when I close my eyes.

I also make illustrations when I want to abandon the personal pressure of my art projects and make something silly. It’s a process and pleasure similar to watching reality tv.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Spending time alone in the woods behind my house, following the creek as far as I could go. That’s something I miss so much living here in LA. The big open sky scares me, I’m the opposite of claustrophobic. I feel so much more comfortable not being able to see anyone or anything other than trees and the trail around me. I also miss my mom and my brother all the time. We’re so close so I have a million favorite memories with them. We used to go on these weekend trips out to little towns in the Shenandoah and we were either going antique hunting or to a winery. Just good times.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Paloma Dooley

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