Leonid Purygin was born in the military town near Naro-Fominsk (Moscow region) in the family of a career officer who made doll models for a toy factory after the end of his military service. In 1965 he left the school and lived by accidental earnings. From 1969 he studied in the art-studio in the House of culture in Naro-Fominsk. He tried to enter the Art School named after 1905 year several times, but failed.
From the beginning of the 1970s he began to exhibit. At first he became popular in so called “apartment underground”. In 1980s he worked at the studio in Furmannyi alley (that by the way gave the name to the part of the direction of unofficial art), but he wasn’t involved in any groups of artists — he followed his own road. That road became some kind of expression of typical features of “art brut” as a special variety of naive art.
He used his personal mythology in his psychedelic and bright composition. The central part of those compositions is usually “Lenya Purygin. The artist from Nara. Genius” himself (he wrote these words on his visiting cards), who is always surrounded by his personal phantoms. The main phantom is an image of “Blue woman”-angel, who always saves the author from hell. Her antipod is «Pipa Puryginskaya” who is a fantastic female animal. Another important thing in his works are inscriptions with author’s comments of his visions.
In 1989 Purygin moved to the NY, USA, where succeed with the support of Eduard Nakhamkin Gallery. When he came in Mscow in 1992 he made the exhibition of contemporary Russian naive art and a special gallery that could support the young artists, who were close to him. He also published three books wrote in the manner of “stream of consciousness” (Hrenoviny. Little novels. 1990; Cosmic fool girl. 1993; Publiya. 1993).
Purygin died from heart attack in Moscow.
At the turn of the XX–XXI century his works were included in the State Tretyakov Gallery collection and other famous museums.
1990 Eduard Nakhamkin Fine Arts, NY, USA
1991 Berman Gallery, NY, USA
1992 Leonid Purygin Gallery, Moscow
1996 Central House of Artists, Moscow
Boca Museum of Art, Florida, USA
Contemporary Art Gallery ARTSTORY, Moscow
Eduard Nakhamkin Fine Arts Gallery, USA
Henry Nannen Museum, Emden, Germany
Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Museum of actual art ART4.RU, Moscow
The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Uriy Traisman’s collection, USA