West bands inspired art of Stalin’s great-grandson
THESE astonishing psychedelic landscapes were painted by the great-grandson of Stalin – who has spoken about being inspired by Bristol-based bands while studying at the Glasgow School of Art.
Jacob Dzhugashvili, who shares a surname with murderous ancestor Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili – better known as Joseph Stalin – studied at Glasgow School of Art in the 1990s.
Just like many young art students of the time, Jacob, 45, loved to listen to West-based trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack and Portishead.
Jacob said: “I went a couple of times to nightclubs but didn’t like it at all – too noisy and everybody was drinking and getting sick.
“I got sick, too, once, right in the middle of Sauchiehall Street. It was awful and I’m still feeling shame about it.”
Jacob received a £6,000 grant from the Georgian authorities to study in Scotland. He was taught by GSA stalwart James Robertson, whose paint- ings are collected by royalty, including Prince Philip.
During his studies between September 1994 and June 1997, while enrolled on BA Fine Art, Drawing and Painting, Jacob never told anyone of his familial links. But some friends guessed anyway.
Jacob said: “I told it to those I became close with – and only after they have guessed my relationship with Stalin. The common reaction is curiosity. I think the name is just a container – it depends on you and what you fill it with.
“My friends didn’t care about my name, they cared about our friendship. As I was communicating with people of the same age as me there was only curiosity and it didn’t last long. Personality – that’s what matters. Not identity.”
He recalled smoking cigarettes at the front of the iconic Mackintosh building after students were banned from lighting up in the studios.
And there were aspects of Scotland that reminded him of home.
The artist added: “I remember Irn Bru – as far as I recall, it tasted like pear lemonade we had in the USSR.”
Jacob spoke of his sadness at the two fires that ravaged the building and cast its future in doubt.
His psychedelic landscapes, painted with oil and enamel, are sold by online gallery Saatchi Art and have been exhibited around the world.
Jacob now lives in Moscow and is married to Nino Lomkatsi, with whom he has a nine-year-old daughter, Olga.
Jacob Dzhugashvili in his studio with hisdaughter, Olga
Communist dictator Josef Stalin