At the age of twelve, I entered the Junior Art School. In Russia, after eighth grade, you can either continue education at high school or learn a trade at the vocational schools. I did not have a single moment of hesitation; I saw my future at the Specialized School of Art. When the list of those accepted to the school was announced after the exams, I was sitting at the last desk in back of the room. I remember very clearly thinking, “If I am not on the list, my life is over.” You cannot imagine my happiness when my name was announced.