There is no official biography of the artist named Roman Manikhin. The facts below are retrieved from his own notebooks, graciously made available to us by one of the painter's models. Roman Manikhin (born Leopold Vauerblick) descends from the Germans of the Russian Volga region. He was born in Stavropol-on-Volga into a family of a Lutheran pastor. Father destined his son to become a pastor, too, but from his early teens, Roman had dreamed of taking up an artistic profession — becoming an illusionist, a pimp or a porn actor.
When Roman reached 15, his was sent to Germany to attend a Lutheran seminary. Escaping the institution at first opportunity, the young man headed straight for Paris. While on the road, he made money reading people's palms, an art he learned in his hometown from local gypsies. In suburbs of Paris, Roman joined a traveling circus and went all over Europe with it.
Now he started making money by creating portraits, cartoons and graffiti using unusual materials — he painted on crushed cardboard boxes, circus tents, on elephant's backs and on actresses' breasts. His first major painting — a mural in an Armenian restaurant in Toulouse — was, unfortunately, destroyed in a fire. Manikhin made his international fame with his portraits of variety actresses and erotic movie stars, collected in many private collections worldwide. Among European professionals of adult movie industry, posing for Manikhin is still considered a rare privilege.