So Real in So Many Ways: Surreal Illustrations Eugene Ivanov
By Uma Mahesh

When one explores surrealistic artists and illustrators of our time, we immediately place Eugene Ivanov on the Leaderboard. With his vast and vivid repertoire that has captured the hearts and minds of many, he is in great demand. Sought after, bought, used or collected, his portfolio is hugely popular.

He portrays the many elements of eccentric expressions and quirky techniques that came in with the surrealists of the 1920’s, in the wake of the World War. That was a time when people were frustrated, defiant and disinclined to appreciate conventional art forms.

Surreal art is beyond rules and definition. It has a mind and manifesto of its own, an accepted style perhaps, but it is truly defiant of rules. It is free and honest. It is an expression of a creative soul through any media that is handy – word, art, word art or art that speaks, shouts, and sings.

But first, who is Eugene Ivanov and what is so real about this surrealist?

Eugene Ivanov, an illustrator and vector artist, was born in Russia in 1966 and has, since 1998, lived and worked in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Born in Tyumen, on the banks of the River Tura, famous as the first Russian settlement in Siberia, this young artist displayed a fondness and penchant for drawing and painting right from early childhood. Going with the demands of a career, he chose to qualify as an engineer, majoring in geophysics at the prestigious Tyumen Industrial Institute.

Eugene worked as a geophysicist for three years in the field of mineral oil geology before he found his calling and set out to apply his skills and talent in art, design, and advertising. However, interestingly enough, the innate mind of an engineer and geophysicist continued to manifest even in his art.

Art and science came together in his imagination, creating evocative imagery. Cubism and geophysics fused together to give us art that challenged the rules of nature. Ivanov’s Earth could take many shapes and its inhabitants, animate or inanimate, defy all earthy rules. Even gravity!

From 1988 till now, Eugene Ivanov has mesmerized the world of art with his captivating creations. Ivanov has 2000+ illustrations and art creations, using multiple media and techniques such as oil, ink, and watercolors.

Eugene draws his inspiration from Cubism, a revolutionary style of modern art popularized by Pablo Picasso and his contemporaries. It is defined as “an early 20th-century style and movement in art, especially painting, in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned, and use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage.”

A study of his diverse portfolio brings to the fore his keen interest in landscapes, nature, architecture and people. But of course, they conform only to his rules. They are sublime poetry of sorts, founded in his imagination. A vision that one could call a dream, seated deep in his subconscious.

His dreamy artistry has not only found expression in his collectible oil paintings and watercolors that are shown and sold internationally but also in his expression of his dreams in illustrating books. He has more than a hundred books to his credit and counting. Ivanov has held solo exhibitions across the UK and in Prague and has many awards and firsts to his credit. As a young artist who is vastly popular, there is surely more that awaits his fans.

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