«Parallel life»
Although Alexey Pjyanitsa did not come across planes directly, practically, despite his profession of an aviation technician, the sky and the aircrafts became a passion of his life—almost as strong as for fine art. Yes he couldn't enjoy them separately. The authorities used his talent wisely. Now the times of stagnation seemed grey and boring, but even such a closed and clumsy department as Politburo required creativity. Funding the development and testing of certain aircrafts and their components was not easy, and Pjyanitsa's high rank bosses tried to persuade the top Ministry chiefs using his works. Those were the works in which the non-existing prototypes depicted in minute detail, were swishing the top, leaving a trail of inversion not only in the sky, but also in the officials' hearts and minds. And they made the right decision. A "PR campaign" inside the military office, as one would say today.
...His models and drawings were used to convince elderly people in the Politburo to allocate funding to manufacture some experimental developments. And the brighter trace his sketches and drawings left, the easier it was for other officials from the Ministry of Defense to beg for financing of some new technology.

Vladimir Zarudniy, the eldest son


Of course, the theme of aviation occupied a major place in Alexey Pjyanitsa's creativity. After graduating from Stroganov School in 1981, Alexey Trofimovich travels around the Soviet Union and beyond, accompanying the top command team. Central Asia, Far East, Arctic—in all these journeys he recorded images of military equipment samples, which meant a lot more for him than just an aggregate of fuselages, ailerons, engines and propellers.
Eduard Zaryanskiy saw this craving in time and helped the novice artist to develop this distinctive and unusual subject. According to him, he tried to explain to his friend that those who paint aircrafts are very few throughout the country and their works are still concentrated on people: pilots, technicians. They glorify the heroes of the sky in the best traditions of socialist realism. While in Alexey Pjyanitsa's creativity, on the contrary, the emphasis is made on mighty machines. And even more important is the impression, the spiritual vibration that they create, both when flying and when majestically towering over airfields.
... He was leading a parallel, double life then. One life was in spring, summer, autumn, when he left for somewhere outside the city to make sketches. Yellow autumn leaves, snow, thawed patches. While at the workroom, there were aircrafts. And at first, he couldn't combine them, trying to drag nature painting into his planes.

Eduard Zaryanskiy, the friend and mentor
... He was leading a parallel, double life then. One life was in spring, summer, autumn, when he left for somewhere outside the city to make sketches. Yellow autumn leaves, snow, thawed patches. While at the workroom, there were aircrafts. And at first, he couldn't combine them, trying to drag nature painting into his planes.

Eduard Zaryanskiy, the friend and mentor
In several of Pjyanitsa's paintings, the so-called "sotka" is depicted—a shock-reconnaissance bomber missile T-4, developed in the mid 60s of the last century by engineers of the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The project of this rapid aircraft with a proud profile and as sharp as a needle, opaque nose radome (pilots flew the plane only by means of the computer) was revolutionary, but its fate turned out to be sad. After ultra-successful initial tests, the Defense Ministry decided to order from the Sukhoi designers 250 aircraft at once. However, the Defense Department of the CPSU Central Committee considered the project unpromising. In addition, implementation of this order required the construction of new production facilities. Only four prototypes were produced, and in 1976 the project was closed. But it was preserved in Alexey Pjyanitsa's paintings.
Being a military man and an artist he took it very much to heart at this moment of the strongest tension of creative and industrial energy of thousands of people. Suddenly the results of this tension, for some not very understandable reasons, appear to be unneeded. The artist was bound with the country defense complex all his life that is why he was really hurt with the events of the early 1990s, when just in a few years all the achievements of the previous decades, including his own ones were simply destroyed. That is why, he often attended the Air Force Museum in Monino, watching with a heavy heart how the most brilliant masterpieces of human engineering, designed and manufactured with enormous efforts of hundreds of professionals, were dilapidating under autumn rains, needed by nobody.

An important stage in Pjyanitsa's creativity was airbrushing discovery—he thought it to be the means of feelings and sensations expression. On those days it seemed to be a purely utilitarian device for surfaces' colouring, with the maximum that you can squeeze out of it being a portrait of Ilyich on the hangar façade, like the one a young lieutenant depicted in Chkalauski. But for Alexey Trofimovich an airbrush with gradients, smooth colour transitions, accurate and thin lines, perhaps, became a way to express his quiet yearning for the sky, which he had been feeling from his youth, when he relied on luck to enter the flying school. And the airbrush paint spurt itself as if became an airplane condensation trail.
... Fernand Léger's works interested him greatly. Léger majored in industrial art, he designed factory shops, big warehouses, designed office rooms, where one could create really monumental works. Father took much from him. And he devoted many works to aviation. He always saw the airbrush spurt to be a slipstream trail. He believed that airbrushing to be the closest media mean to aviation related topics. Jet engines, propellers, all this.

Vladimir Zarudniy, the eldest son

...While he was still alive we searched all the Internet, looked for it in America—not available anywhere else. Such airbrushing didn't exist as a kind of art. Nobody tried to portray aviation in such a language. And here too, he reached the peak, realized that he knows how to do it and went on.

Victor Zarudniy, the youngest son
...While he was still alive we searched all the Internet, looked for it in America—not available anywhere else. Such airbrushing didn't exist as a kind of art. Nobody tried to portray aviation in such a language. And here too, he reached the peak, realized that he knows how to do it and went on.

Victor Zarudniy, the youngest son
There are several airbrushed works displayed in plain view in Alexey Pjyanitsa's workroom in Balashikha. They are made with an airbrush in the nineties and their meaning is hard to understand. Lines, borders of light and shade, soft, pastel colors… Only remembering about the role of aviation in the artist's life, one will be able to understand that all these lines are nothing but aerobatics: "Nesterov's loop", "eight", "barrel", "Pugachev's Cobra" managed 'corkscrew'. The lines exist on the canvases not by themselves, but as a result of collision between two color fronts, as if the pilot of the plane, maneuvering, cut the sky into parts.
... We began to look for a language, how to depict this inversion trail? No trail remains in the air! And then I remembered my teacher, Vladimir Nikolaevich Saushin. He said: Here you are painting a landscape, and here are the pillars standing, electric wires are tightened. But you shouldn't draw the wire. They can be made of two colors of the sky.

Edward Zaryanskiy, the friend and mentor
... We began to look for a language, how to depict this inversion trail? No trail remains in the air! And then I remembered my teacher, Vladimir Nikolaevich Saushin. He said: Here you are painting a landscape, and here are the pillars standing, electric wires are tightened. But you shouldn't draw the wire. They can be made of two colors of the sky.

Edward Zaryanskiy, the friend and mentor
As Edward Zaryanskiy recalls, this series of works, devoted to figures of aerobatics, became the most important starting point in which Pjyanitsa formed its own, unique artistic style. Aircrafts, aviation in general were far from popular subjects in art, and those rare artists who took it up, usually showed feats of pilots and regular flights passengers' chaos in the best traditions of socialist realism. But the planes themselves as an image, the image that creates impression, so valued by Alexey Trofimovich,—it was new and unusual, it was a real invention of his own language. A figurative language is meant here, the most important language looked for by all creators all their life, found and recognized by few.

His hard life did not let Pjyanitsa form himself as an artist in his younger years. In fact, only after his graduation from the Stroganov school, in adulthood, he went through the period that his more successful colleague had suffered decades earlier. Trials and errors, exhibitions and criticism, accumulation of knowledge, both practical and theoretical, he had to endure all this in the 'accelerated rewind' regime, in a compressed way, expeditiously and quickly. Alternating it with the service and taking care of the family.
After graduating from Stroganov's school, obviously feeling the lack of theoretical base, Pjyanitsa, in the words of Zaryanskiy, was frantically buying art books, trying to see new and unusual techniques. And not just to see but to test them in practice— immediately, quickly, on the site. But the found aviation theme did not let him go, he returned to it repeatedly, applying his new skills. One of the works was made in a stencil technique, as if he "shot" the air machine's contour with paint, making each print paler and paler. The plane in the picture is literally shaking. Like a ferocious stallion, ready to start. As impatient as the artist himself.