Artist Interview with Tatiana Boyko
Tatiana was born in the Canary Islands to Russian parents but raised in Tenerife, she’s finished studying a degree in Madrid and is now living in south London… this colourful, nomadic story reflects in her warm, vivid colour palettes and concise collection of stylistic influences. We can see hints of Art Deco rolled up with folk art, whilst retaining something refreshingly modern. We struck gold when we stumbled upon a talent like Tatiana before she was even out of university and she’s proven her worth.
1. How would you describe your style in 3 words?
A mixture of folk, graphic and handmade. It’s always hard to put tags on your own work in an accurate way.
2. What has been your favourite project to date and why?
It is so hard to pick just one but illustrating Causebox Spring box 2020 has been definitely a highlight. Not only because I loved the brief, but also because I got to meet all the people behind the scenes when they flew me to Los Angeles to continue working on some parts of the project for 10 days. I really cherish all those memories, the wonderful people that I met and making new friendships with whom I’m still in touch with although we live on opposite sides of the world.
This year 2021 my project highlight has definitely been creating the Domestika course. It was very challenging because I’ve never taught before and being in front of the cameras adds an extra layer of pressure but the experience was very rewarding and special. In many ways, I designed the course I always wanted to do myself and I hope people will find it inspiring and insightful!
3. How has the past year changed the way you work?
To be honest, the pandemic has barely changed the way I work since I’m very used to spending long hours in the studio by myself with my thoughts. But during the first lockdown, while we were all confined at home, it was hard to find a mental creative space in a tiny London flatshare. I was lucky that from June 2020 I was able to find a new studio space where to escape at a walking distance from my house when things started to reactivate a little. Having a studio has hugely benefited my mental health during this past year. Definitely the spaces that surround us affect our wellbeing more than we think, and now I understand it’s importance even more!
4. What is your current workspace like?
As I was saying before, I absolutely love my current studio in the Bussey Building in Peckham, South London. It’s a shared space with another artist/photographer and it has these huge windows and tall ceilings which flood the room with light throughout the day. It has a very nice tranquil atmosphere. We have a lovely and supportive community of creatives around here too and I very much enjoy the spontaneous chats that happen when we bump into each other in the kitchen or the corridors. But anyway, this is all about to change as I am moving to Madrid in November! Sad to leave this amazing studio but excited for the new chapter!
5. It’s said that creativity thrives on the tension between freedom and constraint. How do you strike a balance between these when working on a commercial brief?
I totally agree with that saying. Some constraints, whether these are self imposed or briefed are needed in order to thrive creatively. Otherwise, the possibilities are endless which tends to be overwhelming. You need to have some sense of direction.
6. What is your favourite thing about being a freelance illustrator and why?
The things I enjoy about being a freelance illustrator is that you can go at your own pace, shift towards the direction you are interested in developing and have flexibility in your schedule! Also, the projects that I work on tend to be quite varied, so I never get bored!
7. Where do you find inspiration for your work? Who influences you?
There are so many varieties in form and color in plants and flowers that I find this topic an endless source of inspiration! I also love discovering ornaments from different cultures and the embellished garments and everyday objects just for the purpose of beauty throughout time and history, what is so called folk art, has always fascinated me and I’d consider my illustration practice as a continuation and extension of that tradition of craftsmanship.
8. How did you develop your signature style? How does it differ to when you first started out?
I feel like your style is always developing, there is no point of arrival. It’s a constant work in progress and it’s a good thing to consider that we are hopefully constantly growing and developing. So in line with that, I consider that I’ve become more confident in my own work than when I started out. But I also think each artist has its own unique sensibility which inevitably transpires throughout.
9. What and who would be your dream project or client?
I love any collaboration that involves creating a collection of patterns or ornaments. At this point I’d like to design a collection gift wrapping paper and a set of stationery.
And a dream client is the one with whom you feel you have good communication, that is so important to make great things happen and it’s also nice to have that human connection related to your work as well.
10. Having worked on various projects from advertising to editorial to packaging — which has been your favourite avenue and why?
I think that in packaging design it is often more required the use of bold colorful patterns and botanical elements, so my work has naturally leaned towards that direction.
11. What do you wish you’d known when just starting out that you know now?
The key is perseverance. Sometimes you are happy with the outcome but there would be other times when things don’t turn out as well as you would like to. Learning to be okay with it and not put huge expectations and pressure on your own work, which is actually so detrimental. All the ups and downs are part of the process, so we shouldn’t let ourselves down because of it. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and just keep on creating!
12. What message do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope that my work brings joy and beauty into people’s everyday lives.
Love this and want to see more? Take a tour of Tatiana’s folio here!
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