For this article in the international artist series we turn to Russia, featuring five illustrators and designers who create fantastic work, from illustration to surface design to interior design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Fil is an illustrator from Saint Petersburg, Russia, who focuses on character design and advertising. His work, which you can check out in full in his portfolio, is colorful and wonderfully expressive.
Here and Now
“You know it might be strange but I really love Russia: cold winters, a lot of snow, and I love people here. I have traveled to many, many countries. It was beautiful and nice there, but everytime I got back to Russia I felt so much love and something expands inside. This is what I can’t explain at all.
“I get a lot of inspiration from Russia. Russian nature is awesome. One of the best. We have four seasons which are completely different and fantastically beautiful. And there is something special in Russian places; some feeling.
In its Right Place
“I also get inspiration from Russian artists and illustrators like Dmitry Mitrokhin, Oksana Grivina, and Andrei Gordeev.”
Chinese Wrigley Calendar
Logo Machine is a design studio in Saint Petersburg, Russia, that provides logo design, packaging design, branding services, and more. Anastasiya Kiseleva works as an illustrator within the studio and took time to answer my questions. You can check out Logo Machine’s work below or in their studio portfolio. Additionally, you can check out Anastasiya’s personal portfolio as well.
Logo Collection #1
“If we’re taking the country as an environment that forms taste, then here in Russia, the situation was pretty sad. I was growing up in the time when people were only discovering different graphic editing programs and rushed to use ALL of the features offered at once in a single design.
“This, of course, led to the eye-hurting terrible works that, unfortunately, became normal and acceptable. Those who didn’t have Photoshop used the unlimited power of WordArt. It took a while to get rid of this desire to use inappropriate gradients and effects. You can still see such things on the streets though. Especially the streets of small towns.
Dance School Logo
“All these things are visual garbage and nowadays more and more designers think about getting rid of bad design in the streets of Russian cities. They develop special rules of billboard placement, make the rebranding of entire cities. Under a thick layer of poor design the cultural heritage and beautiful architecture of the cities were lost. To understand it and decide to do something about it we had to learn a lot of things from the more advanced western countries.
“Since childhood I always had different creations of the Soviet era before my eyes: cartoons, toys, movies, books and illustrations from these books. At the same time many western products also became available for us and we instantly became Disney and Lego fans. Everything looked different, better and cooler. Perhaps our generation was influenced much more by the Western culture.
Hockey School Logo
“As I child I was always drawing characters from western cartoons, Barbies and Kinder Surprise toys because when you’re a kid all you’re doing is replicating the things you see. In high school I was greatly influenced by Russian literature and poetry. I loved Dostoevsky, his grim, dark stories and lonely, lost characters. I tried to make illustration for Pushkin poems.
“At the time it helped me a lot to form some sort of visual style and the main theme of my works. I can’t exactly say how much the Russian culture influence my works now but I’m pretty sure it has created a certain foundation and helped me to form a personal view on the world.”
Anastasia is an interior and digital artist based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Her work combines retro sensibilities in aesthetically pleasing compositions both in interior mock-ups and 3D art. You can check out her portfolio for more fantastic work, and you’ll also see a selection from it below!
The Life Aquatic
“I think that almost every person is affected by his surroundings: nature, architecture, people and their stories. However, it can work in a very interesting way: you can merge with what you see and reflect this mood in your works, but sometimes you want to portray something that is the complete opposite of the reality surrounding you.
“I think, both approaches are good. Anyway, you have an opportunity to show people the world the world the way you see it.
New Year Preparation
Children’s Art School Atrium
“Most of all I am influenced by literature and of course art. I try to go often to exhibitions and to art galleries. I like to study art. It seems to me, the more you know, the more simply you can interpret what is seen. That gives you creative freedom.”
Evgeny is an artist also based in Saint Petersburg. His work is often abstract and perfect for a variety of surface designs, posters, and products as you’ll see in his portfolio. Check out a selection of his work below!
Martini Soda Flirt Box
“In the early 2000’s, the country had a very low level of contemporary visual culture. But against the emptiness in the background I had a strong interest in everything new and unusual.
Dairy Culture Art Edition
“The foreign design community on the internet had become, for me, a breath of fresh air at the time. It was a powerful stream of visual information that greatly impressed me and has influenced my work.
Incredible Factory Bags
“In my early childhood, I was a big fan of the works of Russian avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century. In our family, there were great books with works by Rodchenko, Malevich, Kandinskiy, and Filonov. Even then, these artists became my main authorities.
Computer Arts 141 Cover
“Years later, I was interested in the rich heritage of Russian folk art with a lot of different techniques and styles. I often mention the folk ornaments in my work and always try to breathe new life into them, make more modern and bright.”
Roman is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Tolyatti, Russia. His work has a fluid and fun quality to it that especially shines through with his character design. You can check out more of his art in his portfolio or in the small selection of pieces below!
“I don’t want to offend anybody but I truly believe that Russia is one of the most multicultural countries. And don’t forget it’s the biggest country in the world. Europe and Asia, ice-cold North and tropical South – we have it all.
The Bard, the Monk & the Knight
“So, when I say that the Russian culture has influenced my works, it means that the whole world with the diversity of cultures has influenced them as well. And I think it’s great!
Pirates. Characters 2015
“The great Russian landscape painters for example [influence me]. Painters such as Isaac Levitan, Alexei Savrasov, Ivan Shishkin etc has influenced me in some way.”
Two Friends, One Night
Many thanks to the wonderful artists featured above. You can follow them further around the web at the following links: