Nina is passionate about translating the experience of motherhood into her artwork. Her vibrant colors, playful and unique shapes are the cornerstones of her illustrations, which she uses to create children’s books, backpacks, T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise. Her distinctive patterns have become a trademark of the illustrator, making her style instantly recognizable. She told us about her main inspirations, which are a key part of her personality and art.
Born in 1988, the Ukrainian artist graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture with a degree in book design and later studied monumental art at the Mykhailo Boichuk Kyiv State Academy of Decorative-Applied Arts and Design. Her active creative work started in 2018 and currently enriches her Instagram page and Behance platform. Her work has been exhibited in many places around the world, including the US, where several galleries regularly offer her works for sale. The money raised is used to support Ukrainians who have been left homeless during the war.
As a mother of three, her main source of inspiration is her family and her children. She is fascinated by the diversity of the world and how each person is different. That is why she likes to observe everything and the phenomena that surround us. She always sees the uniqueness in differences and therefore includes a wide variety of characters in her work, thus drawing attention to the fact that diversity is not a problem but a gift.
When she was a child, her art teacher told her “what if your drawing comes to life? What do you think it will be like?” It made a deep impression on her. “When I draw, I always think about these questions and I think about what it will be like when my drawings are no longer just in my imagination.” Nina likes to let her imagination run wild because it makes her feel limitless. She often adds emotion to the animals, plants, and objects she depicts. She tries to find the character of a particular figure during the design phase, but there are also often recurring elements, though they always reflect a different mood. Her characters often reflect her own emotions, moods, or thoughts of the moment. Her work also functions as a kind of diary, allowing her to keep track of her own emotional changes.
Everyone was shocked by the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war, which for a long time seemed like a bad dream. According to UN figures, more than nine million people have left Ukraine since February because of the war, and the number is growing. Nina and her family have not been spared either by almost a year of constant armed conflict. On 24 February they woke up to the sound of gunfire and explosions but did not immediately realize what was happening.
“Looking out of the window, I saw only black smoke on the horizon. There was no air raid alert. We only found out later that it was because the sirens were not even on. Like everyone else, we were shocked and desoriented, but we tried to remain calm and carry on with our lives as usual, even though the world around us was collapsing. But the noise of the shooting and bombing was getting closer and closer to us, and it was becoming dangerous to stay in our flat. We could see the Russian tanks and the incoming missiles from our window. They were shooting so close to our house that we decided to leave. A few hours later we received a message that our town was under Russian occupation. We tried to control ourselves in front of our children, but the truth is that we were scared. Eventually, we moved to another part of the city where it was less dangerous. But it was too late to leave the city completely. For five days, intense battles raged near us. The electricity and gas went out. Two rockets hit near the house where we lived. Later, a helicopter crashed, not far away. They said there were casualties. It is very difficult to comprehend that such cruelty can exist in today’s world. I still find it hard to believe that everything can become so frightening from one moment to the next and that our ordinary lives can be turned upside down. But I believe that light conquers darkness. I pray for Ukraine. We have finally managed to leave, we are now—far from our homeland—safe.”
When I asked her what her plans for the future were, she said, “I will continue to draw. I would like my works to be even brighter than before and to radiate even more love and kindness. I am happy to be alive and happy to continue my creative work.”