Buon Fresco founded by New York artist Victoria Jean Christine Bingham - is the artistic collaboration of Bingham and Andre Nikolaevich Kouznetsov - representing a sum total of over 50 years of art in many forms.
Bingham - a gifted artist from her youth -studied Illustration and Painting on full scholarship at Syracuse University in New York As additional testament to her creativity, Bingham is an inventor, holding so far, two US patents with more pending.
Kouznetsov studied painting at the prestigious academy of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, in his native Russia. He arrived in New York in July of 2003 and has been painting murals and fine art ever since.
Victoria Jean Christine Bingham
Together Bingham and Kouznetsov have amassed a collection of work which has led the studio, Buon Fresco - to win prestigious awards and well deserved recognition for innovation and excellence in the Decorative Arts.
A selection of Buon Fresco's creative works are:
Under the direction of Victoria Bingham - Buon Fresco - has been the recipient of both national and local awards; has appeared twice on Home & Garden Television; once in a Dreamworks film; The Washington Post Newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Home & Design, Architectural Digest, Chesapeake Home Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens Magazine; Faux Magazine and more.
The founder, designer and instructor of Buon Fresco® & The Academy of Wall Artistry is Victoria Jean Christine Bingham.
Born in New York City on Halloween, Bingham was recognizable as an artist at the age of 6 with her precocious drawings of reflected light and perspective. By 13 Bingham was drawing commissioned portraits. She received her first award for art at 14 and the age of 16 she had already had her first painting stolen. Named a ‘renaissance woman’ by friends, Bingham’s abundant skills and numerous interests have both abetted and interrupted her busy art career.
Bingham attended Syracuse University's College of Art on full scholarship, studying painting and illustration under the tutelage of such artists as Jerome Witkin and Tom Allen. Serious illness provoked her premature departure from school but was followed by a dramatic recovery and the subsequent decision to join the Army. The military chapter of Bingham’s life began at Fort Jackson, SC in the bitter cold of winter during 2 months of grueling Army Basic Training [in the days before stress cards] and found the self taught caricaturist knocking out satirical drawings of the drill sergeants [not in lieu of pushups however]. Still, PVT Bingham was quick to discover that the pen WAS mightier than the sword and people of all rank and file LOVE to see themselves in caricature. Her drawings of the 2nd Battalion, Delta Company leadership hung in headquarters for years after her graduation. Bingham is proud to have graduated Ft. Jackson Army Basic as '1st' Female in Physical Fitness, and Combat Medical School at Fort Sam, TX, as the honor graduate of 365 medical students.
Back in NY- when she wasn't drilling as a reservist with a Brooklyn Army Hospital, Bingham supplemented her income by driving a NYC taxi cab. In the best of her 1000's of taxi stories.. Bingham drove all night during the record breaking snow storm of April 82', [thanks to previous training in the blizzard driving boot-camp, otherwise known as 'Syracuse', New York] when around 4 in the morning, she was led by heaven to find a man buried in the snow. She pulled the 75 year old diabetic from what would have been a frozen grave, saving his life. She got to tell the amazing story in Joe Berlinger’s [Film Director of Paradise Lost & My Brother's Keeper] classic 1989 documentary film ‘Outrageous Taxi Stories’.
By 1986, never far from the drafting table –Bingham became a full time caricaturist on the tri-state party circuit and drew 'some million & a half' folks faces till1991 when the urge for something military called. So she 're-upped' and left for Monterey, California to fulfil a lifelong dream to study at The Defense Language Institute.
SGT Bingham’s graduated from the Russian Course at DLI - first place in the class- 'drawing' a supply of job offers from The US Department of Defense. Bingham selected the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office [DPMO] and went to Washington DC for an assignment that lasted 3 years. Her most 'memorable' occasion working for DPMO was during a plenury in Moscow in April,1995. While sitting in a very large and elaborate dining room full of military personnel, senators, intelligence officials and dignitaries, the head of the American task force - US Army General Wold, called out to her, 'SGT BINGHAM, SING SOMETHING! She complied with a Laima Vaikule melody, and recollects that, afterwards for the first time since she arrived in Moscow, she was one particular KGB agent - smile.
Bingham's proudest accomplishment in Washington was a successful petition to have a Korean War POW Veteran awarded 43 years after the fact of his heroism in a Korean War POW camp. Bingham's efforts garnered the Army Silver Star for PVT Wayne 'Johnny Johnson', whose remarkable listing of American soldier deaths - kept surreptitiously while in prison at risk to his life, went on to flesh out a Defense Department data base of POW/MIAs. The heroic story is told in the January 1997 Readers Digest first 'Article of Lasting Interest' series entitled 'The List']
3 years later, when the DOD assignment finally ended, Bingham, ever the artist, picked up her palette and began a career of interior design and decorative art.
In 1997 Buon Fresco, the artistic collaboration of Bingham and her then husband, Andre Kouznetsov, was born. This time Faux Finishing finally became a full-time career and the resulting portfolio of work speaks for itself. Buon Fresco's work has been displayed in National magazines, The Washington Post, HGTV twice and a Dreamwork’s film [Head of State with Chris Rock]. Bingham’s Venetian Plaster designs have provoked the likes of Traditional Home magazine to remark; ‘We’ve never seen walls like these’; Sims Bray, the publisher of Veranda Magazine, to say 'Utterly Impressive' and Interior Designer Justine Sancho to call it ‘The ‘best Venetian Plaster - period!’
Among a total of 6 awards so far, the studio has been awarded the 'Best Walls in the House' [Elizabeth Warnock Prize] for 2 out of 3 National Symphony Orchestra Show Houses and most recently the 2006 Sepp Leaf, NY - 'Pride of Place' Prize for the 'Most Distinguished Venetian Plaster'. One designer who recently engaged Bingham's skills for a collaborative effort, told her it was because she was working on a project that required 'nothing but the best'!
An inventor also with two issued patents to her current credit and several more pending, Bingham’s art philosophy is that ‘Fine Art, like invention, begins with training, then following it up with the inspirations that only ever come as a result of 'hard work and diligent application.’
When asked why she teaches her 'competition' Bingham will say that first of all, she loves to teach and she also loves to 'help people' who are willing to help themselves. In the past she has also taught the Bible to adults; She had the only Waiter Training School in the nation, in New York called, 'The Greater Waiter Training Center' and taught Drawing and Art History at a High School Art Club in Virginia. Bingham will be the first one to admit that the best way to advance any skill is to teach it.
And she also likes to point out, that 'No one is remembered for what they received, people are remembered for what they gave.'
Andre Nikolaevich Kouznetsov – BIO
Kouznetsov, born in Vishney Volochok Russia, May 18, 1959 – to Nikolai Kouznetsov and Angelina Serov, was an artist from his youth. In the Soviet Union talented youngsters were selected for specialized schooling, which for Kouznetsov extended from prep school to University. Having completed a college program in theater arts, Kouznetsov successfully auditioned for the world renowned St. Petersburg Academy of Art where he studied every high art form for a period of 2 years.
After his schooling, Kouznetsov’s career in art kicked off during mandatory service in the Soviet Army. Artistic talent was as ‘fortune’ following the conscript, for instead of serving in a frozen Siberian, he was stationed in the city of art, St. Petersburg , where Kouznetsov’s Army assignment was painting military illustrations and murals.
Following military service, Kouznetsov migrated to the Soviet republic of Latvia where he married and started a family. As other Russian youth,, Kouznetsov spent some of his time listening to American music, watching American movies and musing about America. It was the breakup of the Soviet Union though that finally precipitated his journey to the United States. When the wall came down in Germany, the Baltic States joined the rush of republics declaring their freedom from the USSR. In Latvia, the antagonism of the Latvian people toward their former occupants was especially fierce. Russians were dismissed from jobs, Russian newspapers were closed and people of Russian descent from that point on - compelled to leave. Unemployed from 2001 Kouznetsov made a living by traveling back & forth to Poland where he sold paintings on the streets. From 1991 to 1993 Andre and his family lived in poverty. Their flat was often unheated in winter, their diet became reduced to flour and water pancakes. The strain of these difficult years eventually ended his marriage and Kouznetsov was on his own again.
In 1993 fortune stepped into his life in the form of an elderly Polish woman who had purchased several of his paintings. She suggested to Andre that he could do better for his family selling his paintings in the United States and arranged for his travel. In July of 1993, Andre arrived at New York’s Kennedy Airport. The Polish woman’s inclination proved prophetic. By his second day in New York Andre was living in Brooklyn and working full time in a company of Polish painters. He was not yet painting murals, but he was working and learning, and his paintings were already gaining him some rapt attention.
Like so many immigrants Andre always thought he would return home. But where was that? Latvia wouldn’t have him, Russia was no longer the Soviet Union of his youth and at least in America he was earning enough money to support his family. Andre stayed. In August of 2000 Andre became an American citizen. Andre knows that he is blessed to be an American and that his struggles have paid off. His children in Latvia are well fed. [The oldest has begun University in Riga and his middle son is a gifted musician]. Andre’s paintings and murals hang in private and public places extending from G’dansk to New York, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Kouznetsov’s painting shows in the last few years have been complete sell outs.
Some of Kouznetsov’s public murals may be seen in Washington DC at Café Milano, Le Lavandou and BET Restaurant and outdoors at 712 Capitol St. NE. A gallery of his paintings and murals may be seen on-line at www.bfresco.com on the gallery or Trompe L’ Oeil and mural pages.