When Yevgeniya Mikhailik first heard about the Zombie Art Show in Long Beach, she had no intention on submitting her work. But after a friend convinced her, she took on the challenge to create something that was “a bit of a departure from the kind of work” she normally does. The result was a haunting image of a run-down house in the woods with ghostly flames and bright red accents, a piece that is quite a bit darker than the rest of her work.
Originally from Russia, Mikhailik is currently working on her Master of Fine Arts degree at California State University Long Beach, with an emphasis in Illustration. She kindly took a few moments of her time to “chat” with me via email about her work and how she developed her whimsical, subtle and melancholy style.
Carma Spence: Many of your paintings remind me of illustrations for fairy tales and children’s stories. Where do you get your inspiration?
Yevgeniya Mikhailik: I am definitely inspired by Russian folklore and the stories that I was told as a child. There is a great deal of mystery and dark undertones in them, making it impossible for me not to want to explore them.
CS: What kinds of media do you prefer to work with?
YM: My medium of choice is watercolor and ink on clayboard. It’s pretty versatile, but can be kind of awkward to work with because of the way the paint responds to the smooth clay surface of the board. I like that these materials aren’t always easy to control. It kind of forces me to let go and allow for happy accidents. At the same time, they are pretty forgiving if something goes terribly awry.
CS: How did you discover your artistic talents?
YM: I think art education played a pretty big role in that. There are a lot of artists in my family so I’ve been encouraged to draw ever since I could hold a pencil. When I was 8 or 9, my parents signed me up for a pretty extensive after-school art program, which made me fall in love with watercolor painting. I knew pretty early on that painting is all I wanted to do.
CS: Are there any well-known artists that you have been influenced or inspired by? In what way?
YM: There is a brilliant italian 3D illustrator/photographer Paolo Ventura, whose work is really stunning. I find myself looking at it a lot because it reminds me of my home country (Russia), with it’s time-worn, somewhat dilapidated architecture, foggy overcast days and a really muted neutral color palette — all elements that are present in my own work.
CS: What are you professional plans for the upcoming year?
YM: I am currently looking for a book project, editorial work and exhibition opportunities. I believe in the power of great storytelling and would love to work on a book with a fresh, compelling story.
For more information about Yevgeniya Mikhailik and her work:
- Website: www.yevgeniyadraws.com
- Shop: yevgeniya.etsy.com
- Representation: The July Group – www.thejulygroup.com
- Bluecanvas: www.bluecanvas.com/yevgeniya
- Three06: www.three06.com
This interview is the first in a series of interviews with the artists featured in the Zombie Art Show that have a connection to Long Beach.
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