Monday, December 17

Unexpected Guests: Irina Troitskaya.

Today's social call is from Russia, with love. We're visiting the very talented Russian illustrator, Irina Troitskaya. Irina was born and raised in Izhevsk, in her words, 'city of dead ends, sad electronic music and Finno-Ugric cultural roots'. Irina's love of drawing lead her to the Udmurt State University, where she studied the arts for about five years.

However, time at the university gave her nothing but weariness and for the first time in her life, drawing became her abhorrence. On graduating from university Irina quit drawing and worked for a couple of years as a TV journalist, a presenter on a television program about the artists and culture of her native city. Frustrated and always preferring pictures to words, Irina couldn't change the situation, because there was no need for illustrators in Izhevsk.

In summer of 2003 she decided it was time for a change, so Irina packed up and took a chance in Moscow. Since then, she works and resides in the capital of Russia as a freelance illustrator by day, and an artist by night. And she is quite happy with the result. Irina Troitskaya thinks life is too short to be someone you don’t want to be. I certainly agree with her there.

Where do you live?
Right now it's Moscow, Russia.

What is your favorite outing in Moscow?
I like to eat simple and delicious food. So my favorite place is a restaurant called Simple Things. Specifically it'd be translated like "Simple Pleasures", but in Russian word "pleasures" has more concrete meaning and it doesn't really fit. They put down sheets of kraft paper instead of a table-cloth and give you a pencil, so you can draw while waiting for your dinner.

What's the best thing about Moscow?
It's fast and full of energy.

Who is your favorite artist?
So many of them! I can tell you the name of the latest one I discovered not so long ago - Beatrice Alemagna. So right now I think she's my favorite. In fact I'm easily carried away by other people's art.

Who do you admire?
Any person making something beautiful. Not only artists, it could be anyone, really! When I see a waiter who serves up glasses with one perfect movement, or a singer hums his part while drinking coffee, or a girl who knits a long scarf on the subway. Anyone who is keen on something - cooking, writing, singing, drawing of course. Nothing for me can be more beautiful!

What's the last great book you read?
I don't read much these days. I read avidly when I was a child. Also, the day I discovered the books of Julio Cortazar, I will probably remember forever. I was fond of Alessandro Baricco two years ago. And my two newest books are The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean, and My Map Book by Sara Fanelli. Though they're not for reading, but for inspiration.

What's your favorite film?
I like films with a lot of conversations and not that much of actions. Like Lovers of the Arctic Circle, Wings of Desire, Dead Man or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Again I can't tell exactly which one is my favorite, because each of them is good in its time.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
A black bear from my dream when I was a child, and my great-great-grandmothers.

Who would you like to sit down to tea with?
Thom Yorke. If he doesn't mind. Actually it could be anyone I admire.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Guilty? Life's too short to feel guilty about pleasures!

What is your most treasured belonging?
I thought about my sketchbooks at first, but I can draw more and better. My computer? My matreshkas? You see, I don't care much about things I can make myself. Or buy new ones. Maybe dresses my mom made for me. Or pictures other people gave me as gifts.

Favorite color? Why?
I'm in love with white and pale colors right now. When I was at art school my teacher told me I'm good with color. I liked bright colors in these days. When you're getting older, you understand it's not necessary to shout so other people can hear you. For me white and pale are about whispering and silence. Stay quiet and you'll hear their voices.

What do you despise?
Lies and decline of responsibility.

What's your favorite word?

Irina says 'thank you for reading!' Thank you so much for having us! For more on Irina's intriguing and beautiful work take a peek at her site, irtroit or her lovely blog, or perhaps pop over to her crafts site, dooplo. Thanks again for the pleasure of our visit, Irina!

*All photos courtesy of Irina Troitskaya.