1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hi there! My name is Masha, I live in Nizhny Novgorod (kind of hard to pronounce, eh?), Russia. And all I can say is that I never really liked to draw – even as a child I preferred other ways to entertain myself (mostly just running, jumping, and laughing, and yelling and making older people mad at me). In a high school, I dreamed about journalist career but quickly disappointed in this idea. Long story short: I did my first “serious” attempt to draw at age 20. And I don’t even remember why. Probably I just got bored during a lecture.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I am a folklore enthusiast and I think my aesthetic is a bit influenced by traditional Russian paintings and costumes. Well, not only Russian, but obviously, my native culture is something that I’m most familiar with. At least this is the easiest way to explain my uncontrollable urge to add patterns and ornaments literally everywhere.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I can’t pick just one favorite medium, I equally like photoshop and my colored pencils. Lately I was obsessed with gouache and watercolors, but now I switched to markers. And I love my tiny Wacom tablet much enough to give it a name.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Everything begins with a bunch of sketches – I usually draw those whenever I have a couple of minutes – in a bus or café. This is also the reason why some of them are drawn on tickets, napkins etc. But the process of painting itself is one of those rare cases when I need to be alone – simply because I get distracted very easily. Plus, I like to sing while drawing and believe me, not letting anybody listen to this – it’s an act of mercy.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
As I already mentioned, folklore inspires me a lot, but another great source of inspiration for me – stories that I hear from all those awesome people I’m happy to meet along the way. I seek for good stories and interesting people with the passion of a true collector. And the sea. I don’t even know why, I grew in the city as far away from the sea as it even possible, but still.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
At the very beginning of my unexpected art adventure I was sure that it won’t be an important part of my life: I considered it as just another hobby that I’ll probably give up in a year or two, as usual. By now, however, art is a very important part of my life. I mean, if I’m not sleeping, I’m probably drawing. Also now I see that the world around me is way more beautiful and weird than I used to think. And this is AWESOME.
7. Where did you study?
Well. At the uni I studied philosophy. And everything I know about illustration was gathered piece by piece from tutorials, books and of course observing. I’m completely self-taught artist.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I hope I’ll find my place in children book illustration but for now my plans are quite vague.
9. What about in ten?
I hope at least to be alive by then.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Actually, I just spent ten minutes sitting and staring at my wall with the blank expression. Because the only honest answer would be: I have no idea.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Homemade cheese and berries.
12. Favourite book?
I’d rather say I have favorite authors: Tove Jansson, Astrid Lindgren and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I rarely listen to music, almost never. But if I’m in the right mood I listen to folk-ish music or studio Ghibli soundtracks.
14. What are your hobbies?
Baking! And cooking in general, even though sometimes my experiments aren’t successful (yes, this is my way of saying that once I literally set my kitchen on fire). Oh, and I still like running, jumping, and laughing, and yelling and making older people mad at me. I didn’t change much since my childhood.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A florist maybe? Also, I think I’d enjoyed to work with children or animals. And who knows, maybe, one day…