1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Maria Ivanova, I was born and live in beautiful rainy and cloudy Saint Petersburg, Russia. I create digital paintings and animated films.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Dark, haunting, mysterious, at the same time-sensitive. Sometimes my works look like digital paintings, sometimes like photographs. They are like captured moments and extend beyond their borders: something was happening before the depicted scene and something continues to happen after it.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Digital. It gives me more freedom. I’m still using the Wacom tablet I bought in 2009.
4. What is your artistic process like?
It usually starts with paying attention to my thoughts: I search for something in my mind that grabs my attention – it could be an image, a combination of words, a phrase, anything. And I know that I found what I need – when I feel that there’s a whole story behind some particular thought. It’s hard to explain – I just feel that it is there, lurking, hidden, and I need to discover it further. Whether it be an illustration or an idea for animated film – I try not to force the storyline, not to construct plot artificially. I let it unveil organically as if it grows by itself and I watch. It doesn’t need to be complete – with the beginning, middle and end. It’s like a photograph – a moment of someone’s life, existing somewhere on the borders of consciousness; like documenting what I have in my mind as accurately as possible. This process is very exciting because sometimes I don’t know where this or that story will take me. I love this feeling of mystery and that something is left untold. I think there is a lot of freedom in open endings.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
The list can be really long! I’ll try to mention at least main things: mythology, folklore, symbolism, psychology, dark and scary things, dualism, archetypes, cloudy and rainy weather, fields of reeds, Schrödinger’s cat, Multiverse, forests, my city, with its culture, architecture, museums and history, my personal experiences, heart-wrenching things, paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, Renaissance, films, books.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art is the most important part of my life. It also helps me survive during hard times, sometimes it is a form of escapism, a coping mechanism. At other times, it is art that helps me to stay connected with the world.
7. Where did you study?
I graduated from Saint Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation with a degree in Law. As for digital art and animation – I am self-taught.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have a personal project – an animated film – that I’m working on right now and I hope to finish it. Sooner or…
9. What about in ten?
… or later. Eventually.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want to create something, a world, a path, a door so real that I can enter it.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Homemade roasted potatoes, pasta.
12. Favourite book?
There’s no way I can choose one book, let me mention at least a few! “The Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann, “Sculpting in Time” by Andrei Tarkovsky, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson, “The Little Friend” by Donna Tartt, books and lectures by Carl Gustav Jung, “Journey into Darkness” by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, “Exit” short story by Harry Farjeon.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Different genres, depending on the situation and mood.
14. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy researching things, spending time with my dog, horror video games, films, books, walking on my treadmill (it is very soothing, I can walk miles and miles, no matter if it rains or snows outside).
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
As I mentioned earlier – art is extremely important for me. Therefore, I think if I weren’t an artist I would be someone with a profession closely related to imagination and dreaming. Maybe a writer.