Say Hello from your studio
Vadym Solowski is a nuclear power engineer who became a successful illustrator / Art Director /
Godfather / Artist / Gladiator / Cosmonaut / Graphic Designer and Dreamer after an epileptic accident in Iran. But this sho(r)t story is not for this introduction, maybe for the novel or the interview. His creative and well-designed works have been awarded multiple times, including at the World Illustration Awards 2019, Ukrainian Design: The Very Best of 2018 and A’Design Award 2016. Read how his morning routine looks like, about his inspirations, and what advice he has for beginners.
Your morning routine
In the mornings I usually:
- Make a peace agreement with the alarm clock;
- Try not to confuse toothpaste with breakfast;
- Take a shower;
- Prepare oatmeal and make coffee, trying not to spill it before I drink it;
- Play a couple of blitz chess games;
I also try not to forget to do something from the list above ☺
The worst scenario is not to complete step 1.
The first thing you do when you come to your studio
I realize that it does not exist 😅. In fact, I live in my “studio”, so I wake up in it. At the same time, it could be said that I am the “studio” myself, because most of the time I spend creating ideas, drawing illustrations, designing posters or writing texts, so wherever I go, I can do most of the main work there. The main thing is to bring along a laptop, sketchbook, head and hands. Fortunately, the last two “tools” are hard to forget 🙃.
Instagram, Fb or no social media?
Instagram: I love and hate it at the same time. #interview #randomhashtag
Magazines/books you read
I read magazines very randomly, but my favorites are: ШО, VICE, Pismo., National Geographic, MIT Technology Review, 99u, Contemporary Lynx (✌️), Creative Boom, Look At Me, and some others.
I read different books – mainly fiction, science, memoirs, poetry and a bit of plays, comics and philosophical literature. From the last books I read, I can distinguish:
- “Art Matters” written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell;
- “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer;
- “How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking” by Jordan Ellenberg;
- “52 Surprising Shortcuts to Happiness, Wealth, and Success” by Rolf Dobelli;
- “Watchmen” written by Alan Moore, drawn and colourised by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins;
Three Six objects which are essential to your work (☺)
Laptop + graphic tablet, sketchbook + pencil, table + chair.
What are your favourite tools to help you get the job done?
Patience, persistence and playlists with good music.
What inspires you and motivates you to get your work done?
In general: women, book covers, ambition and anger – my main sources of inspiration or motivation (or disappointment😊). Fortunately, some of them are completely uncontrollable and unstable, and I accept them as a bonus.
If I need to do work for someone, then the key factors to get the work done are: responsibility, the desire to do everything as well as possible and worrying about the result… and Shia LaBeouf: JUST DO IT!
One funny story from your work
Once my girlfriend asked me why I carry a gun in the studio, what am I afraid of? I honestly answered: “The damn Decepticons”. She laughed, I laughed, the toaster laughed, I shot the toaster. It was a good time.
Sorry, what was the question?
The project you are working on right now?
I just finished a wonderful back-cover illustration for a French magazine “America”. It will be published on 8th January – I am very excited and looking forward to it!
Now I will be working on the cover for a new book by a Ukrainian poet, Kachmar, prepare for a poster fair and an exhibition, continue writing a play – there is no end 🙃.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Most of all I love the fact that this is my passion, not just a job.
What sucks? Usually, a vacuum cleaner!
But seriously, the lack of stability in the social and financial terms; bureaucracy (copyright protection, contract negotiations); as well as constant thoughts about the future, about whether you and your lateral thinking will be in demand – these are the most disturbing and depressing companions in this kind of occupation.
Hand-made or mass-production?
Mass-production of hand-made 🦾.
Do you work individually or with a team?
The answer is I am like the Schrödinger’s Cat: I work individually and with a team at the same time. Despite the fact that 90% of the time I spend working alone, I perceive clients as a part of the “team” – because their opinion also affects the result; and the people around me as well form a part of the “team”, because they affect my workflow – someone complicates it, someone makes it more enjoyable, someone does not let me doubt myself, someone, on the contrary, criticizes me.
How do you rest and relax after work?
I read wine and drink books, watch friends and chat with movies, and I also like to have fun, especially go to sleep.
P.S. Did I mix something up there? 🥴
Do you have any advice for somebody who wants to work in your field?
Choose life. Never do something for money or fame. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose your own path. Do not be afraid of sʇuǝɯıɹǝdxǝ and mitsakes. Choose your future. Be brave, be curious, be a bee. Choose happiness. Smile more often and learn to enjoy the little things. Choose sadness. You will not be able to play real beautiful music without touching the black keys on the piano. Choose kindness. Choose meanness. Be yourself, be honest. Choose love. Sublimate your fucking negative emotions into good art. Choose persistence. Choose patience. To fly into space – you need to build a rocket. Choose responsibility. Choose responsibly. Choose your own life.
And remember: if something does not go right – go left!
Interviewed by Anna Dziuba
Edited by Adrianna Kałużna
Purchase posters by Vadym Solowski here: