INTERVIEWED BY Cheri Morris
Russian-born graphic designer and illustrator Evgenia Chuvardina brings her hand-drawn ideas to vivid fruition through contemporary graphic design. The result? Bold, playful works that are inspired by the simplicities of life, a love of animals and the environment, and her background in fine art. We find out what makes her tick.
Where did your love affair with art begin?
I have been drawing since I was a kid – I went to a children’s art school for seven years. After that, I went to the Academy of Architecture and Arts in Russia and got my degree in Graphic Design. Art education in Russia follows classical traditions; you have to learn how to draw and paint, and about composition, colour theory and art history.
Do you have a favourite city?
I have lived in several cities in Russia, with my favourite being Saint Petersburg. After that I moved to Kiev, Ukraine for a short while. Now I live in Düsseldorf, Germany, but I might move again… who knows?
What inspires your playful work?
I really enjoy travelling and finding new things to open my mind. You can find something interesting in your city too — try to use different routes to go to your grocery store or change up your commute to work for inspiration.
Give us some insight into your creative process…
First comes the idea – it can come from anywhere. When the idea is formed, I hand draw it on any piece of paper I can find. If I don’t draw it as I think of it, it could be gone forever. The next step is to draw the sketch in digital form. Even though Adobe Illustrator would be a more suitable choice for this kind of work, I prefer to use Adobe Photoshop because it feels more like a hand-drawing, which is what I really love. The next step is to choose the right colours and textures. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to find them. Colours are the main point of my illustrations. Once I’ve found the right colours, I can focus on small details.
Which are your preferred mediums?
I make almost everything digitally on my Wacom — my iPad is also very useful while travelling. I like traditional tools and materials too: brush, pencil, paper, paint, canvas and ink. It’s the influence of Russian classical art education.
We’ve noticed some eco-conscious themes in your work. What do you hope for people to take away from those themes, if anything?
When I was a child, I had a strong emotional connection to animals. I was always threatening my mom that I’d leave to join Green Peace and fight for whales. I am very frustrated about environmental issues, especially in Russia. I want to deliver a message through pop art and happy colours. People don’t usually want to see disturbing pictures of animals and nature suffering at the hands of humans – it’s too morbid. My colourful illustrations could serve as a chance to hook people, to make them think without pushing them away from important topics.
Who inspires you?
I always liked pop art and how it has influenced the culture and everyday life of people in the 20th century. I use food symbolically in my works and that was definitely inspired by Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.
What do you consider to be challenging in your work?
My challenge now is to start again from square one with regards to developing my art style. I’m considering moving into fine arts.
What’s in the pipeline for you?
I’m open to the world. What’s coming up could be anything! Life is full of opportunities, we just a need a bit of luck to notice and grab them.
What advice would you give to an emerging artist?
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” — Tim Notke.
Do you have any advice for someone who is afraid to share their work?
This world is colourful and beautiful! There are many different cultures. People live in different places, like different food, weather and art. If someone says that they don’t like your art, it doesn’t mean that everyone else won’t like it too.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
There are a lot of great artists in the world and I’m open to any kind of collaboration.