Meet some of contemporary artists of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is a city filled with art. It’s everywhere. Talented people may create new works of art right on the streets or exhibit their works in small art spaces and cafes.
There are always many changes in the world of art: old styles mix with each other and new styles appear. Artists inspired by the classics create on the edge of reality and imagination, representing unknown worlds and inviting the audience to wonder.
Following are some very talented artists whose work will surprise and inspire you.
As Victoria says, “I have a feeling that I was chosen for art and painting”. She became interested in painting when she was a child. Her parents always supported her interest, so she successfully graduated from art school and then from the graphic department of an art university. Now Victoria is a promising illustrator working in St. Petersburg as a designer-illustrator. She loves traveling and learning languages, which allows her to get to know other cultures and explore new worlds, which then inspire her work.
Victoria works in the so-called “magical realism” style. Her characters are understandable and familiar to everyone, and they live in the ordinary world, but the fairytale atmosphere of the depicted events doesn’t leave the viewer for a second. Her works are full of sincerity, tenderness, and warmth. She loves using the subtle nuances of color and prefers to work with transparent and layered textures, mixing watercolor with acrylics and tempera. This combination allows her to create something beautiful.
“The most important thing for me in the illustrations and in the art as a whole is conveying the atmosphere. I always wanted to do something good that would give children (including those who live in adults) warmth and teach how to see miracles in everything around”. Following her words, Victoria creates amazing, heartwarming worlds, where everyone can find something special. Her illustrations encourage and give hope and happiness. As the illustrator admits, she opens a new world through her creativity every time.
Ivan Slavinskiy started painting when he was a child and now he has dedicated more than twenty years of his life to this passion. His father, Dmitry Obozenko, was a famous battle artist, so it’s not a surprise that Ivan’s main hobby was fine art. The first paintings Slavinskiy showed in public were exhibited on the street in Catherine’s Garden, alongside those of other artists. It wasn’t long after that (in the 1990s) his first exhibit opened at the Association of Free Artists Gallery, displaying his talent to a wider audience. After that, the artist started exhibiting in Moscow and abroad. For seven years he has lived in Paris and now he is known in the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands, as one of the best Russian contemporary artists.
Ivan paints mostly in the style called “fantastic realism.” He creates a new reality with the help of figurative puzzles and metaphors. His paintings depict all kinds of metamorphoses, allegories, and colors. Ivan Slavinskiy also paints classical still life pieces and draws medieval knights, Impressionist portraits, and city landscapes.
His art is inspired by a mixture of several styles. There is something of Vrubel, Degas and Petrov-Vodkinin his paintings. Ivan’s works are live, full of feelings and emotions. It seems as if the picture is going to come to life, and everything that was drawn becomes a reality. The viewer is immersed in a painted fantasy world, and everyone has a chance to see everything through the artist’s eyes. Even the sad motifs on Ivan’s paintings don’t oppress, but evoke a light joyful melancholy.
The artist doesn’t have an official website, but information about his art, workshops, and upcoming events can be found in the VKontakte group’s vk.com/ivanslavinsky and on the website of the Russian Academy of Arts.
Since she was a child Marta knew that she wanted to become a professional artist. Now, she has already held three personal exhibits and participated in group exhibits in Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Moreover, she curated two exhibits of her students and one open-air event of St. Petersburg artists in Lithuania.
Her parents always encouraged her interest in drawing. She got a good orientation to art in the artistic and aesthetic lyceum No.190. There Marta was completely immersed in an atmosphere of inexhaustible creativity and painting. While at the lyceum, she decided that she wanted to study in a graphic department and began to value freedom and self-expression in art. She graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts as an illustrator, and also studied for three semesters in the Danish School of Modern Art, Hojskole pa Helnaes.
Marta works in the art of mascara and watercolors, sometimes uses acrylic, and loves printed graphics (monotype, etching, lithography). Working with watercolor involves improvisation and accidentally formed images. In addition, she is interested in sculpture and fashion design, and she loves coming up with bright and original prints for fabrics. A major source of inspiration for her is traveling.
Marta says, “In any work of art, I am primarily interested in energy and the emotional component. Can it make the viewer feel something?”. She also considers humor a necessary element of the art. While working on a project, she is fully immersed in the process. For example, while creating a series of large watercolor paintings titled The Forest, she spent a lot of time walking in nature, watching and listening to the world of animals and birds.
Now Marta is working on illustrations for Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers She is attracted by the realism and, at the same time, ambiguity of the story, as well as the similarity of its heroes with ordinary people, and their unpredictable reactions. According to the artist, the magic of Mary Poppins inspires her as well. Marta’s black and white illustrations are created in the mascara technique.
Marta also worked on illustrations for L. Vayge’s book Rainbow, the “Tararam” magazine, the IDMI publishing house, and many other projects. For illustrations in M. Grippe’s Cecilia Agnes – a strange story, she got the 2010 IBBY award for the best debutant among illustrators and writers of children’s books in Lithuania. Her illustrations for Fly Boldly Buzzing by Chukovskyi were shown at the exhibition of illustrations at the Bologna Book Fair in Italy and Japan in 2013.
“I’m a very happy person, and most of my friends are artists”, Marta says about her life dedicated to art. She adds that she gets to know herself and grows as a person through her drawing. The art gives her great pleasure, and she loves experimenting and developing her craft.
Currently Marta makes sketches, depicts funny and ridiculous stories of her life and the life of her friends and creates something interesting. More information about the art of Marta Zhuravskaya can be found at the following websites www.behance.net, illustrators.ru and vk.com/martaz.
HoodGraff graffiti artists
Street art does not mean incomprehensible symbols painted on buildings. Now street art is increasingly becoming a decoration of urban space. And the HoodGraff team is proof of this process.
The art of HoodGraff is well known. However, not everyone knows who the individual graffiti artists are. HoodGraff is a duet of the street artists Jan and Gleb. Their inspiration is Artem Bourges. Jan and Gleb’s homeland is Belarus, and their first graffiti was created in Vitebsk. Now the pair is decorating St. Petersburg city with graffiti. Since 2014, their activity has been officially authorized in the Northern capital of Russia. The name of their team is translated as graffiti in the district (in English slang hood = district, graff = graffiti). As the guys say: “The aim of the project is a decoration of urban courtyards”.
The courtyards where Jan and Bleb’s graffiti can be found have become local landmarks. Many people seek them out to see for themselves the artists’ portraits of Viktor Tsoi, B.B. King and Sergei Bodrov Jr. Many transformer vaults also have new lovely designs thanks to their work. In St. Petersburg, there is an unofficial graffiti route, on which anyone can get acquainted with the works of this street art team.
All of their art is distinguished by a high degree of realism and the high quality of their work. HoodGraff is known as professionals in street photorealism. According to Jan and Gleb, they want their works to show everyone what real street art is and motivate other graffiti artists to create understandable pictures.
More information about the HoodGraff team and their plans for the future can be found in the VKontakte group’s vk.com/myhoodisgood.
Ekaterina Sklyarova is a young and talented artist and illustrator working in St. Petersburg. Despite the fact that she is still a student, the artist has already had her first solo exhibit, named Beginning in Volgograd. In addition, she has cooperated with the TV channel “St. Petersburg” as an illustrator working on the film Unsolved, released in May 2016.
Ekaterina has drawn for as long as she can remember. Her parents encouraged her interest in art and when she was 5, she dreamed to follow in the footsteps of Aivazovsky. But after graduating from art school at the Academy named after I.E. Repin, Ekaterina was disappointed in it because she felt she wasn’t allowed to express herself in her studies. Now she is studying at the A.L. Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Art Industry Academy, where she has more opportunities to create freely. Her inspirations are such great Russian illustrators as Nika Goltz, G.S. Vereisky and his son O.G. Vereisky, and foreigners such as Arthur Rackham.
She works in different styles, depending on the subject and tasks of the work. She likes to work with ink and pen, and also printing techniques – linocut and etching. As Ekaterina says, “creativity is inherently limitless. It expresses the author’s emotions, his life principles and social position. My work’s just like that. It is especially important to convey feelings”. Thanks to the flexibility of color linocut, the artist manages to represent the whole gamut of human emotions.
Ekaterina creates paintings about life, her family, and the history of her native city and country. Realistism and proximity to the theme create a special atmosphere of unity between the viewer and the artist, establishing an invisible bridge between two worlds. She loves depicting the modern life of people in the city, their anxiety and joy, hope and sorrow, showing the imperfection of our world. Ekaterina finds inspiration by observing life from the outside, noting the harmony and contradiction in nature, the ambiguity of people, and the complexity of everything around.
“Graphics – this is my one and only hobby and work”, says Ekaterina. She fully devotes herself to creating, enjoys the work process and its outcome, and gladly notices her own self-improvement. Ekaterina connects her future with St. Petersburg. She wants to continue to create and promote art, improve her skills in graphics, her technique and help bring people and the art together.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a website of her own yet, but you can get acquainted with her paintings by visiting the following website: www.culture.ru, as well as the official website of the Stieglitz Academy : stieglitz.academy.
Ekaterina Bauman is another young and very talented St. Petersburg illustrator. When she was a child, she liked to study the illustrations in children’s books of the 50s and60s. Since then, Ekaterina always wanted to illustrate children’s books, until finally, five years ago, her dream came true.
She graduated from the I. Repin St. Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture as an architect-artist, and until 2011 worked as an architect. Different events have led Ekaterina to giving up architecture and devoting herself to her childhood dream of illustrating books. She not only creates book illustrations, but also colorful calendars and magazines, as well as graphic sketches for herself.
Her illustrations are full of life and joy. The characters are alive and their emotions and gestures are depicted very subtly. Her illustrations are, in fact, reminiscent of books from the 50s and 60s.. As Ekaterina says, she loves writing on craft paper, because it is “comfortable, warm, immediately sets the tone and mood of the work, and you can draw on it with anything”. In addition, she prefers to use live material to drawing on the computer, saying she gets more pleasure from the manual process.
In her five years of work as an illustrator, Ekaterina Bauman has worked on many projects, but one of the most interesting and beloved is work on the book Chemodanovna. The prototype of a graphical image of the main character Avdotya Chemodanovna was Faina Ranevskaya. Ekaterina says that, because the character is “a big loud lady, sometimes ridiculous, very open, somewhat unceremonious, but very warm and usually a little bit lonely”, her first association was Ranevskaya. The illustrations in this book are very bright, cheerful, and kind.
Anna Andersen is a modern artist defying the stereotype that mosaics are boring and dull. Her works amaze with their realism, brightness and clarity of lines, each picture a result of hard work, endless inspiration, and persistence.
Anna was born in St. Petersburg, graduated from St. Petersburg State Institute of Culture in 2008 and has already managed to take part in several exhibits. Moreover, she runs own workshops on mosaic, open to the public.
Many consider mosaic to be traditional, archaic and rather boring. But Anna’s paintings are original–shimmering in the sun, coming to life, and filling you with joy and inspiration. Anna Andersen’s mosaics are realistic, elegant and unique. She uses a distinctive mosaic technique – a synthesis of monumental fixed art and the modern urban design environment. Her works mix modern fashion design trends and classic art technique. “Mosaic of Anna Anderson features creativity, design, festival and extravaganza of color”.
She creates mosaic art panels, glass art marble mosaic, coats of arms, heraldry and signage, interior decoration and accessories, and much more. Anna does with mosaic reproductions of famous paintings – e.g. “Starry Night” by Van Gogh and “Lady with a Parasol” by Claude Monet – and author’s works – Red Wolf, Lion, and Prague. As the artist says, mosaic has outstanding artistic and aesthetic qualities, and also it’s an ecologically pure material. This is a classic that never goes out of fashion.
More information about Anna Anderson’s art, exhibits, and workshops can be found on her official website annaandersen.ru.
Maria Sinitcina works with a wide variety of art forms, from painting and drawing to jewelry-making and sculpting. She graduated from the art school and the college in Krasnoyarsk, and is now studying at the A.L. Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Art Industry Academy. Her specialty is jewelry-making, but she also loves singing, sculpting in clay and plastic, and working with wool.
She’s inspired by the works of such masters as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Claude Monet and Levitan. Maria creates in different styles, preferring the academic style and minimalism. As a minimalist she loves simplicity, accuracy and clarity of composition, as well as industrial and natural materials and simple geometric shapes. As Maria says, “I want to delight people with my art and keep safe the art of our ancestors”.
As a student, Maria creates beautiful jewelry made of different materials, such as brass, cuprum, and silver. She makes wonderful leather notebook covers with metal accents or medieval images. According to the artist, her jewelry is mainly inspired by the art of the Scythians and the inhabitants of the Volga Bulgaria. Abstraction, originality, animal images, softness and smoothness of forms are typical of her art. Her rings, bracelets and pendants are unique in their design.
In painting and drawing, Maria prefers the rigor of lines, clarity of composition and play with color and chiaroscuro. She works with pen and ink, as well as gouache and watercolor.
Some of Maria’s work is presented at the A.L. Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Art Industry Academy. You can buy her handmade products and learn more about her art in her online jewelry workshop “Bird’s nest”: vk.com/club128291281.
Exhibition spaces in St. Petersburg where young artists’ works may be found
Talented young people can show their works in many gallery spaces in St. Petersburg. The most popular art spaces are Tkachi, Pushkinskaya 10, and the loft projects Etagi and ArtMuza. The following spaces hold workshops, musical performances, various exhibits and a variety of meetings Ikosaedr, Rizzordi Art Foundation, ByeByeBallet and Studio 212. The N.V. Gogol library is another interesting place; there, visitors can read rare books and at the same time visit an exhibit and listen to an interesting lecture.
Translation by Nadezhda Vasileva
Edited by Arbor Dahlin