We continue publishing for the anniversary of the Vyksa children’s art school. Memories of it were shared by its graduates and teachers on the pages of «VW» for August 16 and 30, September 13 and 20, October 4 and 11, November 8, December 6 and 20. Nikita Medelets were there, too. How the art school helped him to become a car designer, he tells in this article.

Everything starts from childhood

I was a five years old when my parents brought me to art school. I always doodled something on the paper. I was trying to draw something. And one day my dad saw my drawing. It was either a rainbow or an abstract object. My parents decided to develop me in an artistic way. To be honest, I was not thrilled, because I had to go to art school and communicate with children. I grew up a closed child, I liked to just draw aloof, without discussing with anyone what I was doing.

I remember my first teacher in the Art Studio of Tatiana Syachina wondered why in the watercolor palette I have the color black predominates. At that time I was not aware of the laws of painting or the tricks of psychology, I was absorbed in my thoughts and drew as best I could. Once even painted Winnie the Pooh in dark colors, I do not know what this was due to, the child’s psyche is difficult to understand.

They started to «retrain» me. And soon I began to participate in various exhibitions — city, regional and even international scale.

One day, Americans came to our town with the mission «Up with people», and they were brought to our school. They liked my work on a large sheet of paper. The plot turned out to be very useful: sailing ships of Columbus. Everyone was delighted.

When I was in the third grade of gymnasium No. 14, the Teacher’s newspaper announced a competition timed to coincide with the visit of the British Queen to Russia. Our teacher Irina Mechkereva brought the publication and invited me to participate in the contest. Under the guidance of Tatiana Myachina, I submitted three works to the My England competition: the Ivanhoe watercolour and two others in the schedule-Ivanhoe and the Salisbury Cathedral (based on paintings by J. p. Constable’s).

My illustrations made it to the final of the competition. Then they were bought at Sotheby’s in 1994. By the way, in October 2019, my mother and I visited London and Salisbury. My old dream has come true! We saw a magnificent Cathedral, painted by the great artist John Constable, from whose picture I made a graphic drawing as a child. The experience is amazing…


1994 year. Drawing «Salisbury Castle», finalist of the contest «My England»

As a child, he was interested in the theme of chivalry, tales of king Arthur and the knights of the Round table. I liked their armor, weapons, and horses. I even drew the battle of Alexander Nevsky on Chydskoe lake. It was a Grand multi-story scene of the battle of the Russian army with the crusaders. I drew it for five years, slowly, writing out each figure of a warrior, putting off work, clarifying details. It is made in watercolor on a huge sheet of paper.

I was very interested in technology: ships, planes, helicopters, motorcycles, cars, robots. I remember how the boys drew astronauts, spaceships, satellites, and I was also curious to draw something like this. Alexey Vdovin studied with me at the school, and probably his passion for technology was partly transmitted from him, too. Then for the first time I realized that drawing still lifes is quite boring, it is more interesting to fantasize. I was fascinated by «Star wars», and I reproduced the stories of space battles from memory. We didn’t have a computer at the time, nor did we have an Internet or video player. So I fantasized, played, and drew at the same time.

Color effect

In art school, I studied with Alexey Usas, Boris Bedin, and Valentin Krekin.

I remember such a moment associated with Valentin Viktorovich Krekin. On one of the plein-airs, we drew houses behind a Large Church. I had almost finished my watercolour when suddenly Valentin Viktorovich came up to me and said that my sketch was fractional, there was no contrast, and there were a lot of inaccuracies in the tone. Immediately He gives a master class.

«Look, there’s a yellow spot on the white paper. Which is darker: spot or paper?

— Spot.

Stirs the blue-dark, purple paint on the palette and paints it over the field around the spot. It turns out something like a moonlight night with the trunk and branch of a tree.

— Now what about the yellow spot?"

-Now it shines like the moon!

«That's right! Do you know why? The contrast appeared!

I was struck then. It was like a magic. He was struck by the way he explained complex things in simple words and reinforced them on a piece of paper. Later on, I learned a lot from him. I especially remember thinking about the special place of composition in art.

I liked to come to Valentin Viktorovich’s office-Studio, which was at the Studio of the art school on Pirogov street and ask him about the nuances of painting, drawing, composition, about how and what he was working on. I watched his work.

I consider the artists Shchetkin-Nikolai Andreevich and Lyudmila Georgievna — to be my teachers. These are the artists who are inspired and reverent about their vocation, and I am very grateful to them for everything they have taught me. Their teaching methods and approach are unique. The emphasis is on strict compliance with the rules that must be followed. These are technologies, instructions for the image of the object world. They taught us to pay special attention to proportions, composition, and perspective. It is no coincidence, since Shchetkins were also designers. Then I realized that technology is the main thing in design.


Watercolor. «The battle of Alexander Nevsky with the crusaders on Chudskoe lake»

I would like to be a designer…

I was puzzled by the question of choosing a profession in high school. Considered options: artist, architect, and designer. The artist disappeared somehow by himself, after after the ninth grade went to the Nizhny Novgorod art school with his works and there I was frankly told that I did not reach the level of admission. I breathed a sigh of relief. Besides, I didn’t like the idea of drawing landscapes, still lifes, and portraits all my life. I also tried to enter the architecture Department, but I failed math. There was a design that I was preparing for, but I didn’t know then that it had a lot of directions. I haven’t heard much about it.

In 2003, I joined the Department of industrial design at NNGASU. Remembering the University, I want to mention Igor lyagin, who was one of the strongest specialists in the Department. He taught drawing. Igor Nikolaevich talked about art and music in a fascinating way. I said that non-standard thinking is very important for a designer, which is very typical for my current profession.

Already at the University, I finally realized who I want to become. Car design has become my obsession. Participated in competitions, passed internships, communicated with auto designers, but did not decide to change the University to Moscow, St. Petersburg or Yekaterinburg. I was afraid of the new city and that I would not have enough money to support myself.

Moscow has submitted to me

Nevertheless, after graduating from high school (with a red diploma) and serving in the army, I decided to conquer Moscow. I went to graduate school and at the same time was looking for ways to my goal: to link my activities with a cardigan. I personally addressed Vladimir Pirozhkov, Svyatoslav Sahakyan, well-known Russian automobile designers, as well as MAMI SCB and AVTOVAZ, GAZ, NAMI. I passed interviews, sent my portfolio, looked for a part-time job in tuning studios and tried to make an electric car at the Moscow MSTU MIREA, participated in competitions on «sketching» cars. At that time, there was no serious, full-fledged work of the car designer that I had dreamed of.


Nikita Medelets certificate for participation in the exhibition «My England»

To China - with candidate certificate in the pocket

In graduate school, he studied for three years, from 2011 to 2013, and defended his PhD thesis on automotive topics :" factors of forming a car: the technological aspect". In parallel with writing his dissertation, he was looking for auto design companies, participated in competitions, conferences, exhibitions, and continued to send his portfolio to various companies.

And then one day, at the end of the summer of 2014, I received an email with an invitation to take a test two-week internship in China, in the company «Icona». I dared and got to the point!

At first, everything was very unusual and difficult: a completely different environment. After the trial period, I was told that «you, the guy, are not one of our people, and your level is not the same. But we will meet you halfway: you can stay with us for another six months, and then we will decide whether you will work or not.» Ventured. Fascinated by the idea that I have to establish myself and show what I can do, I plowed day and night, and four months later I was hired as a Junior designer, and six months later I became a designer.

By the end of my second year in the Studio, I was a senior designer and aiming for design managers. Independently led the project. But … I dreamed of a serious, large full-cycle company that not only designs cars, but also produces them itself. So at the end of March 2018, I found myself in Baojun.

There is no limit to perfection

I’m still learning. There is no limit to perfection in my profession. Work obliges you to look for new moves, to think with an eye to the future. In my business, pictures do not surprise anyone, an idea is important, some unusual topic. In today’s auto world, this is difficult to do, given the scale of everything produced and the growth produced every day. The constant search for newness and fitting it into the technological and production framework makes it hard to strain your brain. It seems like we’re just drawing cars. In fact, behind all this lies the enormous work of a huge number of people. The work of an auto designer is very stressful in China, we often work late, until 12 at night, sometimes until three in the morning, and on weekends. It is difficult to plan your personal life and your business, because everything is changing rapidly at work.

Despite this, I am grateful to fate and China that I can talk about myself as a car designer. As of today, three cars have already been implemented with my participation: the facelift SUV Dongfeng T-5 Forthing, the facelift SUV Baojun 530, and the MPV Baojun RM-5.

I can say the following about China: it is a nation of people who are absorbed in their work. Yes, they can and love to relax, but they always put work and earning money at the forefront. This allows them to take a leading position in the world in many issues.


2019. At the presentation of the RM-5 model, Nikita Metelitsa’s first independent project at Bao Jun. On the right — chief exterior designer Wang Zheng


The design of the front part of the «Baojun-530» is implemented from a sketch of Nikita


Development of the Dongfeng DT-5 facelift was entrusted to Nikita Myadelets by Icona Design Group