Artist talk: Tania Yakunova

Tania Yakunova (full name Tetiana Yakunova) is an award-winning illustrator and artist from Kyiv, Ukraine. She started her artistic journey in 2014 and has been working on projects worldwide. Her field of work spreads from commercial and editorial illustrations to international exhibits. Tania finds inspiration in the avant-garde art and design of the 20th century. She deconstructs reality into simple forms and ideas for the experience of child-like excitement of colours, lines, and shapes of everyday life.

On the morning of February 24, Russia attacked Ukraine with airstrikes all over the country. My family and I, like many others, were forced to leave our homes and became refugees. Our life changed dramatically overnight. Air raids, explosions, death and suffering - that’s what the new reality looks like in my country. I spent some time travelling across Ukraine, helping my parents to evacuate. Now they're living in Europe, and I’m back in Kyiv, my home town. This war has been going on for months now, and Russian bombs and rockets are shelling my country every single day. Russian soldiers are trying to occupy more territories of my country, destroying people’s homes, dreams and lives. But they'll fail eventually because Ukraine will never back down.

Welcome to Postery! How are you and where are you located at the moment?

I’m located in Kyiv, the city where | was born and spent all my life.

Tell us a bit about your art and your artistic background?

I have been interested in art since being a teenager and went to art school back then. After graduating thou, I changed my focus and tried to build a career in a different field. After working for some time in creative agencies as a copyrighter, I realised that I wanted to get back to art. I’ve attended local art and design schools, and since 2014 I have been working as an illustrator. I went fully independent in 2019. My art is hugely inspired by the avant-garde art and design of the 20 century. I love the distinct shapes, forms and design from that era. It served as a starting point for me in my search for a personal style.

What do you love the most about creating art?

I really love to see how ideas come to life on paper, tablet or in the form of ceramic. It is something special to be able to observe the final result of your work that started from a small sketch.

Is there something that inspires you over and over again?

Yes. It is the endlessness of our universe, understanding that there is always a limit to our knowledge. This feeling of mystery behind the unknown always teases my inspiration.

How would you describe this collection? What was the inspiration behind it?

These artworks arose when I first started working with ceramics. Some were inspired by everyday objects around me, and some moved to paper from my ceramic pieces. In general, it was driven by a desire to break away from the digital domain and try to explore different creative tools and see where it’ll lead me.

Which interior setting do your prints fit perfectly in?

In my head, it is a minimalistic, Scandinavian design. I’d like to think about my art as the spark/focus point on the wall. But oftentimes, I see my prints in quite the opposite interiors, and, when placed tastefully, it looks great.

Is there anything else you are passionate about?

As I mentioned before, I’m a big ceramic enthusiast. Also, I really love flowers. I’m constantly visiting local markets, buying lots of them. I can spend hours combining flowers into bouquets to decorate my home.

Is there anything you must have with you while creating?

A pencil or pen and piece of paper will do to start the creative process.

What’s the most important thing in your creative process?

It may sound counterintuitive, but it is self-discipline. I need a little internal push to start the creative process. Otherwise, I can procrastinate all day long. Also, I like to work in silence, especially when it comes to generating ideas.

Does your creative process depend on specific factors, like mood?

Of course. Some days are really fruitful, and others can be really disappointing. Inspiration is a very fragile thing. Any distraction can ruin it.

Is there ever anything you see and think: "I would never have this in my home"?

I can’t name something specific. There are a number of things I don’t want in my home, but not because all of them aren't interesting to me. It all goes down to aesthetics, and often even great products don’t fit into a particular interior.

Thank you, Tania!

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