We are continuing our discovery through Kazakhstan and this time we came to Vlada Shayevich, a young illustrator based in Almaty. Her rich-of-details pictures seem to be coming right from her complex travelling story.
We are not even sure about what really happened, but it is clear that moving from country to country made an incredible artist who definitely knows what to do and how much passion a huge work takes.
This story starts in Uzbekistan, flies from America to Armenia and lands right where it belongs at the moment.
Where are you from, Vlada? We know you are not originally from Kazakhstan, but you are just based there right now. Tell us your story!
Yes, it’s true! It’s a bit long and weird story, I will tell you how it went broadly. I have lived in different countries through the years. I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and my adventure started at the age of three. Me and my mom (she was seven months pregnant with my brother) went to USA and I lived there about four years, meanwhile all my relatives were moving to the States as well. Then, for some reason, we moved to the sunny Armenia, then to Kyrgyzstan… And now here I am, in Kazakhstan.
Wow, that’s impressive! So now you’re here, what do you think about the art in KZ? What do you think is great for an artist like you? What do you think is still to improve?
We have so many talented people with great potential, a lot of them just stay at home creating some genius ideas, but nobody knows they even exist! This is sad. The problem is that they don’t really know how to realize their own talent, because it’s really difficult to combine art and business. But some of those artists somehow make it and I am really amused by this capacity and they have all my support. Unfortunately the culture is not so much developed, too many people have this stereotyped vision of the art, because they are not informed at all.
But the situation is not so tragic, because you can break these stereotypes showing your ideas and contributing to the development of the culture. This is inspiring! If you are brave, if you believe in yourself and in your creations, it is not important where you live, you will always find what you are looking for! The most important thing is to show your art, and not to wait for somebody to find you, then everything will be fine.
So if we talk about things still to improve, in my opinion it would be nice to create better conditions for creative people and to support them from the very beginning. Why not to create more exhibition points, inviting creative masters from abroad, investing in the development of the culture and to put more attention to this field? It’s important to take the people out of their everyday routine.
And in which part of the world your works are most appreciated?
I think that they are “more” appreciated in Europe, in countries like Italy, Spain, France and so on. Because works like mine are really more popular in states with that kind of culture. People there are soaked in culture, they are more open-minded and they know how to accept and to appreciate you if you made some good taste work.
Is there a place that inspires you most to work?
It is more about the atmosphere that disposes me to work. It’s the music, a good mood, a good light and, the most important, is the idea that I’m obsessed with! For me it is also fundamental to have my own space, even a little one, to create my wonders!
And how did you come to this particular and much detailed kind of painting? They are all manual, not a digital brush has been introduced during the making of, right?
I think this is in some kind of way the reflection of my personality, I just really like the details that give a sense and an atmosphere to my drawings, they become alive and they live their life which the viewer can follow from aside. And yes, all the works are made manually, I think that this is the action that gives them a different lifelike energy.
How would you describe your style?
Dreamlike, colourful and a bit surrealistic. But actually I think that it’s not my task to describe my style, so I give this possibility to those for whom it’s interesting.
I also know that one day you just took a brush and you started drawing! This is incredible, how did you refine your technique through the years?
Some things just happen. I started to draw at home, the Web was and still is my guide. Then I took lessons from an amazing painter, Georgy Makarov, he helped in so many ways and he showed me the right direction. The technique came and improved during the process of creation intself – the more you draw the more possibilities and ideas come into your mind. But the most important thing is the passion for your work, it really stimulates all the process; you grow as an artist when you give all yourself to your work. I still have so much to learn, I am still at the beginning and this thrills me a lot!
And say something about your paper applications. Such an interesting idea, how did it come to your mind and what do you need to make it?
I just wanted to try something new, it happened spontaneously with an experiment. I just tried and this was the result. I am always interested in seeking and trying new techniques. These applications give a kind of new life to my pictures and to make them I just need my hands, scissors, paper and, of course, some glue.
So, briefly, how the ideas come into your mind? What inspires you more to start creating?
The ideas appear in different ways! Sometimes it’s just “bam” and I have the picture in my head and I have to draw it immediately, other times it’s the music that induces figures and moods. Also interesting people, animals, the nature or even the combinations of colours lead me to the idea. I also get inspired by some talented painters and illustrators!
I am also curious about your series “Mir ee snov” (The world of her dreams). Who is the girl in those pictures? What is she going through?
It’s about a girl who collects more than one characters. She represents all the interesting personalities that I met in my life. She is dreamy and contemplative, she believes in magic and she sees it in everything! So magic certainly happens to her. She creates her own worlds in her dreams and all her cloud-castles and fantasies come true, they become real. Each drawing has its story and the girl invites us to take part in that story, to join a breathtaking journey where everyone can find something familiar.
And what are you trying to transmit to the viewer? What kind of reaction do you expect? Who are your illustrations for?
I want to show the human nature through my pictures. Every character of mine has its own personality, has its dreams and a story. I try to show the real human worries and emotions which I want the viewer to see and to feel. I want him to get the sensation that somebody is looking at him with real eyes from my drawings. When I see the emotions on the face of the viewer, it means that my creations took him, and this is awesome! But first of all, I draw just because it gives me a lot of satisfaction and I like to share my works with people.
What are your plans for your art?
I have big plans, I want to organize a huge exhibition of my works. I have a lot of ideas which I want to bring to life. In general, so many things are happening and there is still so much to do. I have this desire to share my art, I want people to know about me!
Text by Nina Sever