Have you already heard of Sveta Dorosheva? I must confess that I knew nothing about her until today when I stumbled across this interview with her in the ever-engaging Coilhouse magazine. But now that she’s on my radar, I’ll be watching her like a hawk!
With the mastery of shape, line, and audacity of Aubrey Beardsley, plus a narrative passion that (if properly nurtured) may one day approach Arthur Rackham’s, Dorosheva’s work satisfies my hunger for beautiful, seductive images in a way that few modern illustrators do. (Ray Caesar may be the only other who pushes the same buttons.)
From the Coilhouse interview:
I guess Russian fairy tales are the strongest influence from childhood, but I don’t mean that in the ‘sarafan&kokoshnik’ sense:) I mean they were full of wonderful and scary things, events and creatures, and that influenced my picture of the world for life. I remember that when a kid I took all of it for granted – evil stepmothers that wanted to eat their stepsons’ hearts and brains because he who eats them, would become king and spit golden coins…talking wolves and fire birds, immortal skeletons, frogs and birds throwing their skins and feathers off and turning into beautiful ladies, dead water that puts the pieces of a hero chopped by treacherous brothers together, and live water that then makes this frankenstein body come to life, witches with poison pins that turn people to stones… none of them were ‘terrible’ or ‘wonderful’ – they were just part of a fascinating plot. I guess childish perception is different from adult – it does not divide things into monstrous and beautiful. It just absorbs it all without labels, taking it all for granted.
I remember my three-year-old son seeing a dead bird in the street once in December. He insisted that we go and see its metamorphoses every day. I felt rather ill at ease, but he was INTERESTED, because he did not KNOW it was ‘disgusting’… To him bird-turning-to-a-skeleton or frog-turning-to-a-prince is the same type of natural metamorphosis that makes the world tick and such an interesting place to observe, there’s no good or bad, there’s just infinite variety and wonder. And that’s the thing about fairy tales. They booster imagination through metaphor when one is still open-minded, with no moral or social blinkers on (very useful, very reasonable blinkers, but still limiting).
And, lucky for us, she has a book coming out!
From the author:
It’s a book about people and human world, as seen through the eyes of fairy-tale creatures. They don’t generally believe in people, but some have travelled to our world in various mysterious ways. Such travelers collected evidence and observations about people in this book. It’s an assortment of drawings, letters, stories, diaries and other stuff about people, written and drawn by fairies, elves, gnomes and other fairy personalities. These observations may be perplexing, funny and sometimes absurd, but they all present a surprised look at the things that we, people, take for granted.
I strongly encourage you to head over to her portfolio and wallow in page after page of her exquisite work.
Many thanks to Coilhouse for consistently showcasing such top-notch talent.