Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vania Zouravliov

(As always, you may click the photos to view them at a larger size.  I highly recommend doing so for this artist review.)

By the age of thirteen, Vania Zouravliov had gained international acclaim as an illustrator.  His work was exhibited in Canterbury and Paris.  Championed in his homeland, Russia, he was introduced to famous musicians and artists.  Old communist social realists told him his work was of the Devil.  Upon seeing Zouravliov's work, one can see why.

His vividly detailed and masterful works mingle the innocent fragility of youth with macabre brutality and eroticism.  Pale waifs cavort with devils, specters, zombies, or lascivious foxes.  Drawing inspiration from Russian romantic folklore, Japanese illustrations, vampy silent film stills, and Disney, Zouravliov has created an astounding body of work.  My favorite pieces remind me of a lush edition of Victorian fairy tales, with each illustration bringing the dark, sexual undertones of the stories into nightmarish definition.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Much of Zouravliov's work does fall into the category of Erotica.  As such, I've made this blog post as SafeForWork as I can, but if you go looking for more, you will quickly be in NSFW-land.  There are lots of nipples.  LOTS.  And plenty of full female nudity.  Fair warning.

Even when his drawings are diffuse, almost seeming to dissolve into a dreamy netherworld, they are rendered with gorgeous texture and reality.  This complexity gives his otherwise fantastical subjects a realism that makes them even more compelling.  Portraits may indicate brutal violence, but are softened through enigmatic expressions and shading.  Tension swings back and forth between the photographic realism of the pieces and their uncanny eeriness.

Fortunately, Zouravliov has found success with the creative agency Big Active, who has helped promote his work and provided him with access to commercial opportunities.  It's always good to hear that an artist is making a living.  To learn more about Vania Zouravliov's work, check out the following link:

P.S. He also has produced some SWEET Game of Thrones art.  It's almost enough to make me care about Bran...


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