- We met Ilichna Morasky at the Toronto Outdoor Show and out of all the artists there, her booth's whimsy brought us back repeatedly.
There is something out of this world about Ilichna Morasky, something strange and familiar in each piece she makes that draws you in and makes you wonder what it all might mean. Seemingly soft spoken with a glorious smile she can't seem to contain, we approached the artist and mentioned that we needed art for that crazy short story I wrote about the doctors and the suicide and all that madness. Not everybody can draw accompanying art for something that abstract and complex, it takes a very talented person. Most would read "and the moon was my vanity mirror" and might want to draw that literally, maybe a man holding a moon with a big mirror handle, but Ilichna thinks outside the box. Her descriptions of her work and the hand-made process she undergoes in creation is just as beautiful as the image she drew for Beyond Measure, which may be visually experienced along with the story here.
Artists like Ilichna deserve free reign when it comes to creativity, and so very little direction was given. We asked Ilichna about her commission for Culture Toronto;
Why did you choose this particular scene and what's happening in your picture?
There was so much imagery to draw on from the story but I thought the idea of the sun turning flesh into sand was way too cool to pass up drawing! The dark, luscious, fluid moon at the bottom representing his "vanity mirror" is flowing upward higher toward the sun, turning the motions to sand, washing out the colour and leaving only the shocked and saddened skeleton frame behind. I find this an especially fitting metaphor for representing depression and change, which I gather were big themes in this short story. It's kind of a visual "hurling" a small version of himself without actually illustrating that verbatim. Also, it's a pretty cool fact that the moon controls the tides and we as human organisms are 70% water. During a full moon moods shift, personalities collide, and magic happens!
Were there any challenges along the way?
Conceptually, trying to represent a piece of the story in a visually impactful way is always the main challenge that takes the most amount of time. Everything else is just drawing and re-drawing until you get a base you're satisfied with. The rest comes naturally.
Would you call your style unconventional?
Unconventional in the terms of beautifully archaic in the digital art world for sure.
Is this the strangest commission you've ever received?
I only accept strange commissions. But yes, one of the strangest and fun too.
What do you love about making art this way?
I'm a very tactile person so in making I really need to have something physically there to manipulate and play with. Drawing and painting have always been my favourite things to pass the time with. I love that photocopy transfer allows me to combine both. The surprise element when you start to scrub away the paper to see what's underneath never gets old either and having the physical result of a piece afterwards is so satisfying after all that elbow grease is applied.
Thanks for giving Culture Toronto this gift! What does it mean to give like this to others?
This commission gave me an opportunity to create something different so the story gave just as much to me as I gave in producing the artwork for it. Not everyone is necessarily able to give their time and efforts but I feel when you're inspired and you can afford to do it you should. In other words sharing is caring, kids. Sharing is caring.
What do you feel great at and where can people contact you?
I feel I'm great at vivid, feminine, and alluring illustration. Drawing in general is my passion and lettering is a new thing I'm getting into as I begin to surround myself with talented letterers. I'm also really great at bad karaoke. Also playing no real songs on the classical guitar, banjo, and ukulele. You can visit me at www.strangerfamiliar.com and follow me on facebook.com/strangerfamiliar and twitter which I am still sadly just getting the hang of.
There you have it folks, Ilichna Morasky; great tactile artist and wonderful person.