Posted by Nate Williams
What do you think hinders creativity?
When you have to draw just to earn money and don’t get satisfaction of your work. I always try to find something new and enjoy the process even when I get really boring commission. If I can’t do this I decline the order. From my opinion, it’s a huge mistake to think that you can split your time for just making money and the rest to create something for your personal projects. The work just for money becomes more frequent while the time to create something new squeezes. So, I think It’s important to have a fun with any work you do.
More Questions and Answers with Victoria Semykina
Posted by Nate Williams
Victoria Semykina was born and grew up in Moscow where she studied painting for six years at the Art Institute under Sourikov. Victoria is fond of travelling around the world and is currently living in sunny Bologna, Italy. However, during the wintertime she misses the snow of her homeland.
During the last six years, she has been active as an illustrator. Among her most recent accomplishments are two personal exhibitions, as well as several published illustrated books. Her clients are GQ Magazine, AD, Forbes, Robb Report, Prime Russian Magazine, Kommersant, Story etc. Apart from learning printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, Victoria is now working on paper installations.
How did you get into illustration?
I’ve actually fallen into illustration by chance. At the Moscow Art Institute I studied painting and murals, although I had always been fond of illustration. As far as I can recall, I always wanted to sketch images and situations that appeared in my mind. In order to stimulate myself to finalize incomplete drawings I decided to keep a page on LiveJournal. My blog was only intended for personal purposes and I was surprised to discover that many people followed me. After some time I started to receive several orders thanks to this blog.
I was also fortunate to be acquainted with highly talented illustrators such as Nikolay Popov and Victor Melamed from who I’ve received valuable advice.
As we move from print to digital how do you think illustration will evolve?
Possibly illustration may develop more towards animation (where it fits properly), which means the illustrator will need to develop new skills.
What other types of jobs have you had?
In the past I’ve worked a lot with mural techniques such as mosaic, fresco, sgraffito etc.
I’ve learned a lot working with large spaces and feel comfortable working on very large surfaces. I’ve always found these projects very inspiring and stimulating.
I was also a teacher of painting and illustration for several years. This experience made me realize that one can start to draw at any age and achieve impressive results.
Do you have an art rep? Why or why not?
I’m not working with an art rep yet, but am currently considering some attractive offers which I’ve received recently.
You work in a variety of mediums, do you have a favorite?
What I love most is working with collages and other techniques using paper. I’m always experimenting and researching new and fresh ideas.
What is your favourite type of commercial project and why?
This may sound a little strange to some, but I like working on commercial projects that have a strictly defined and limited timeframe. This stimulates me to handle an assignment efficiently, allows me to come up with fresh ideas rapidly and be most productive. The faster I work, the better and more surprising the results become.
Is your work more conceptual or decorative?
I believe that my work balances equally between decorative and conceptual art.
Please describe a typical day
I try to get up around 9am, though this is often a struggle… I’m not much of a morning person.
After getting out of bed, I go through my emails and check my favourite websites which are mainly about illustration. Nearly every day I discover a new artist whose work I find original. This always makes me happy. During the rest of the morning I work on either commercial or personal projects.
In the afternoon I take a short break, often in the company of my bicycle. After dinner I continue working at home until around 9 or 10pm.
I’ve a habit of watching a movie every evening, except when I’m meeting my friends. I really love movies which are my most powerful sources of inspiration.
Around midnight I go to bed to watch my own movies. My dreams are very vivid ones, with high quality acting accompanied by excellent soundtracks. This is why I often struggle to get up early in the morning.
What is your working environment like?
I’m working in a rather small and dark studio in which I’ve fortunately managed to fit three tables.
I need a lot of surface area for my work because I’m working with many different sketches, drawings, papers, fabrics and other materials.
I truly miss my spacious and bright studio in Moscow where my friend and colleague Irina Troitskaya works now. I’m pretty sure that at this moment she’s making a new series of her matreshkas.
Who are some of your favourite illustrators and why?
I am very fortunate that I was brought up with children’s books by great Russian illustrators such as Vladimir Lebedev, Yury Vasnetsov, Lev Tokmakov and many others.
Of course, when I started to learn illustration I was influenced by creative key figures such as Ben Shan, Saul Steinberg, Ralph Steadman. As for modern Russian illustrators – I appreciate the work of my colleagues in the TZEH illustration community most. For the last couple of years I’ve been very interested in naïve and outsider art. I feel envious of the ability of these artists to broaden the repository of the traditional rules and create completely unusual and surprising artwork. My favourites include Horace Pippin, Adolf Woelfi and Alexander Lobanov. This encourages me to start the creation of my own collection of primitive art.
What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?
I have noticed that Italian carabineers look so beautiful and sophisticated that I have started to consider them as objects of art. Watching them gives me as much delight as for example admiring a high Italian renaissance painting. I assume being admired is also their main duty in Italy.
Top 5 favorite things in life
- Fat cats
- Dark Chocolate
- Old American cars
Top 5 bands/singers
- Knife for Fraw Muller
- Jimi Hendrix
- David Holmes
- Miles Davis
- Billy Holiday
Can you suggest 3 artists or illustrators we should check out?