When asked in an interview how he would describe his work to someone who had never seen it, Russian-born surrealist painter Vladimir Kush responded,

“I would describe my work with the quote from William Blake:

‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite…'”

This response alone should give you some insight into Kush’s perspective — a perspective which drives him to create some of the most stunning and celebrated works of surrealism in recent history.

Kush describes his work as Metaphorical Realism and has commented on the power of metaphor:

“To reflect the world in the mirror of the metaphor — this is my goal. Metaphor does not only belong to linguistic communication but can also be found in our daily life. Metaphor is the means of communication that we live by. First of all, the metaphor is aimed at the viewer’s feelings and subconscious. It gives full rein to imagination, as it is the imagination that creates the connections between two seemingly different things.”

In his paintings, Kush is known for depicting seemingly realistic scenes that contain hidden images or impossible elements

Look closely at all of the following paintings, and you’ll notice that things are not what they seem. What appears to be something commonplace, when scrutinized more closely, is in fact something strange, or else it is two things at once. This technique allows Kush to create “connections between two seemingly different things.”

Take some time to contemplate these paintings, and you’ll find yourself making myriad novel associations and activating the dormant power of your imagination.

Kush has an uncanny ability to seduce us into seeing the world differently, and if you let him, he will feed your creative mind in a way that few artists can. 

Vladimir_Kush_04Moonlight Sonata

73c52c32793f1edc73f4b380b6570adaEvening Flight

vladimirkush_84760_5Divine Geometry

f1ea1477093ae1ac9f57e0eea36d5de4Star Target

Kush3Heavenly Fruits

“Metaphor leaves the mind open to grasp onto the hidden likeness of things and events. And the more distant these things are, the greater the effect. The unexpectedness of the connection and sudden insight, which takes your breath away, is the true measure of the painting’s value.”

— Vladimir Kush

Vladimir_Kush_00Music of the Woods

tumblr_n0j8vy1zTH1qbmgeto3_1280One Flew Over the Wasp’s Nest

Vladimir KushBehind The Trees 

tumblr_m2kj31xGKk1qhttpto1_1280Morning Blossom

“… metaphorical art challenges our subconcsious with the symbolism of artifacts. Any metaphor has its own story to tell. Metaphor ‘sees’ through centuries, unveiling the images of the world and connecting notions created by civilization. At the same time, metaphor can easily reflect the complexities of our modern life, with its ambiguity and contradictions. My mission is to find a metaphorical “parallel” for every side of real life. The element of unexpectedness will shake up the viewer and awaken his artistic nature.”

— Vladimir Kush


vladimir-kush_abandoned-dwellings_thirddime_0Uvxp0eAbandoned Dwellings

russian-salvador-dali-surrealistic-paintings-by-vladimir-kush-1Farewell Kiss

tumblr_npc5jg169F1uwjjv0o1_1280Departure of the Winged Ship

“Because of its ability to fly, its metamorphosis and its weightless quality, the Butterfly is a symbol of the soul, according to many different mythologies. Psyche, Greek goddess of the soul, was depicted with butterfly wings. Travel, journey, and beauty are also attributes of the Butterfly.”

— Vladimir Kush

Spirit-of-BeethovenSpirit of Beethoven



vladimir-kush_always-together_thirddimeAlways Together

homeboaboa-envsrcboawebsitesite_mediaocean-sproutOcean Sprouts

“I believe that the viewer’s insight comes at once. It is not about discovering something new. This concept is similar to that of Plato who believed there is an ideal world, a “cave” that human souls once dwelled in. The “cave” retained their core ideas of things after they left. Therefore, the insight that comes when viewing art is a recollection of that. My role is to stimulate this subconscious process of remembering through my art.”

— Vladimir Kush

vk2007b-tigerrunningfrombeesBeeing a Tiger

1d4f8d6d88bcfb470f235333c2f66c7eSacred Gift

vlademirAfrican Sonata

07NoemiSunrise by the Ocean

“Our thinking and every day language are deeply metaphorical. One of the most evident examples is ‘Time is money.’ Still the metaphor is not limited only with the form of language – the very process of thinking is metaphorical. Metaphor allows us to build a bridge between distant and unrelated objects. Or as Aristotle put it: ‘Metaphor is the intuitive perception of likeness in the things that are different.'”

— Vladimir Kush

wallpaper-1852672Trojan Horse


cambiarelelentiForgotten Sunglasses

tumblr_m0vk40PBS31qbo39mo1_1280Arrival of the Flower Ship

Vladimir Kush Paintings (4)Miracle of Birth

tumblr_nh3v5ypRaA1s5u2cno4_r1_1280Ripples On the Ocean

“Being exposed to different cultures is definitely a positive gain. My homeland, Russia, was a “closed country” at the time I was growing up. Inability to travel or to see other cultures evoked in me the determination to overcome the boundaries of everyday routine with vivid Imagination and an ability to see surrounding symbols, not just facts. The Russian military at that time was simply an exaggerated model of Soviet social life: a mix of a prison and Boy Scout camp. When I emigrated, many people in America were already “thirsty” for imported imagination, which reminded them of their own forgotten dreams, while surrounded with everyday practical, factual and dynamic life.”

— Vladimir Kush


vladimir-kush_arrow-of-time_thirddimeArrow of Time

vladimir-kush-06Invitation to Lunch

Surreal-Painting-by-Vladimir-KushFiery Dance

russian-salvador-dali-surrealistic-paintings-by-vladimir-kush-26Daisy Games

Image00001Above the Sea Level

tumblr_mns3haACJa1som0nwo7_1280City by the Sea

“I do not think that I reached the ‘ceiling;’ new unexpected analogies and associations in the life of people and in the surrounding world will always attract my attention. My slogan: ‘The world is the mirror of Metaphor.'”

— Vladimir Kush

Head on over to Vladimir Kush’s website to view more of his work and purchase prints. 

51tAOAk0zhL._SX417_BO1,204,203,200_We also recommend Vladimir Kush’s beautiful book, Metaphorical Journeywhich is “a poetic catalogue of the Vladimir Kush’s major paintings and drawings through 2002. It includes his biography, his credo as founder of Metaphorical Realism which is in the school of Surrealism, and full page illustrations of his art and related poetry. It is a coffee table style book as well as an official Catalogue Raisonne reference.”