We had the good fortune of connecting with Pavel Sokov and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pavel, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Maximum risk-taking is likely the primary factor that differentiates me from other artists. I always go all in. This has resulted in an expedited track to success. I traded a decade of slow peaceful progress in favor of highly stressful but large strides forward. What does that mean practically? Think of it this way. Imagine where you want to be in 10 years. What kind of skills will you have? What kind of projects will you take on? What kind of clients will you work with? What kind of awards will you win? Well instead of waiting 10 years to be that person, become that person TODAY. Start with your next painting. Yes, this means taking on projects that are extremely challenging before you know that you can even accomplish them. It means quickly painting at a skill level above your experience level and immediately taking on pricing of artists who were doing this for decades even though you have not. In the end, performance is all that matters. If you perform above your experience through sheer force, you BECOME more experienced. There is no law of physics that requires you to take 30 years to reach the level you want. If you resonate with this, you will have to take on massive levels of Risk. You will be plunging head first into projects that are over your head, and you will be making them work or you will crash and burn. The biggest risk in my eyes is not taking risk, and being average as a result. This is how I approach everything in life. For example in my financial investments, I go all out as well. I try out complex financial instruments that are brand new to me like options trading and margin. I don’t wait decades until I am comfortable with the concepts to pull the trigger. Opportunity waits for no one. The result is that my most risky portfolio is up over 300% even though I was not comfortable and didnt have a perfect idea of what I am doing. If you can tolerate ambiguity, and plunge head first, you will be rewarded greatly.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I am most proud of is that I did not listen to experienced people who suggested that success in art needs to take decades. I didn’t have time for that and refuse to become successful only when I am in the seniors home. Instead I took on much more risk than others and positioned myself as one of the best right away. This pressure had the power of making my view become reality. After 6 months of becoming an artist, Time magazine approached me to paint a portrait for their Time Person of the Year issue. From that point I started doing portraits regularly for the royal Families of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, as well as American entrepreneurs. It was not easy, but it was quick. Really, all it took was having an extreme mindset that it is possible to close my eyes, imagine myself in 10-20 years, determine what it would take to become that person, open my eyes, and just be that person. Just choose that reality. Don’t plan to become that person, instead just BE that person now. I want the world to know that their wildest dreams are within reach. They are not manifested from the couch using the secret, but they do come to you when you are able to accept certain costs and sacrifices. Pay the price and you will get your fair reward. The world will treat you and view you the same way you view yourself. So make sure you behave in a way that allows you to earn your own respect. Only after you respect yourself, can other people respect you. You can do this. There is nothing to fear than fear itself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would grab the friend and fly to another country. Nothing too amazing can happen in your own city. Maybe we can pop over to Japan, eat some michelin starred sushi, enjoy conversations, look at various arts that the Japanese have perfected. There is nothing more spiritually fulfilling (to me at least) than engaging with examples of competence, skill, and craftsmanship. Together we can be inspired to be the best we can be in our own crafts. Lets also go on a very physically challenging but beautiful hike. The beauty will be earned through the hard physical labor involved in a multi-day hike. All the best things in life are hard-earned.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to recognize science and the great scientists who make our daily lives better. Scientists are under appreciated nowadays, and few of us even know their names. We use their devices, inventions and accomplishments on a daily basis, giving them no second thought. I would like to pay my respects to these great men and women. That is why I started my portrait series “Gravitas” in which I celebrate these heroes of science through portraiture. I already painted 6 portraits of my heroes from Darwin to Buzz Aldrin. I hope that this series can remind us to recognize the real contributors in our society.