Tumblr, for all the controversy around it, offers us a way to find people with the same aesthetics, the same interests and the same outlook on life. The platform enables one to understand someone’s personality so well, without even needing to talk to them. Thus some very close and lasting relationships are forged. It was exactly on tumblr that I met Anka all those years ago, and to whom I still talk to occasionally. She is an amazing friend, a very wise person and a brilliant artist. This is why I thought her story could be very inspiring to read.
1. Can you introduce yourself to us: Who are you?
Hello! I’m Anka Sydorova, from Ukraine. I was born at the East, in Zaporizhzhia, but now am studying at the West, in Lviv, in Lviv National Academy of Arts. I’ve recently turned twenty, and I’m convinced that adults don’t exist, and everyone just doesn’t know what to do and keeps freaking out. I’m an evil curly feminist, I’m REALLY wordy, I’ve been working on my self-love, and I love art in all its forms.
2. Can you describe to our readers how and where did we get to know each other?
I met Yana on Tumblr, and it was a funny thing, because we kind of bonded over her popular Alt-J post. It remains insanely funny even today. So, after I reblogged it, we became mutuals on Tumblr, and right about then I was blogging about my trip to Bulgaria with my school’s jazz ensemble, and that couldn’t but catch her interest.
I drifted apart with most of my internet friends when I entered the Academy and, so to say, got a life. I stopped talking to many because our interests didn’t overlap anymore, or because none of us had time for talking. But now and then I still get people I can talk to only via the Internet, and it’s a nice feeling. Not being able to meet in reality is fine with me. I’m not much of a people person.
3. What inspires you? What is your favorite thing to draw/paint?
I draw inspiration from pretty much anything: fanfic, music videos, personal stories of people around me, and, greatly, from my own experience. I love putting a piece of myself into my art, and it works as a form of self-therapy. I enjoy writing, I enjoy drawing, and singing, and even dancing, though the latter I can’t really do well.
My favourite subjects have to be people and their interactions, and the feelings different happenings wake in me. The relationships between people make the most interesting plots, and they’re hard to draw, so for the sake of that I’m trying to make hand-drawn animation. As for my personal feelings, I can write about that, writing them into those same plots, as if they belong to my characters, and I can try to express them via visual means. It’s like studying the world around me, and studying myself in it, and it feels beautiful. Even if those works are not perfect in terms of technique, I cherish them, because they carry a feeling that was important to me at some point of my life.
4. How did you decide you wanted to study art? Was this decision difficult? Are you glad you chose to follow your dreams?
I had a lot of options when I finished school, but most of them were connected with languages. To be honest, I’m not sure why I chose to enroll in the Academy and study graphic design instead of, for example, learning Chinese or trying to become a script writer. But it was a decision I was certain of, and, despite arguing a lot with my parents on the matter, I went to Lviv, and I got in the Academy, and I’m happy now. I feel that I found my place and my dream job. It’s just that I’m not all that sure of what to do after I graduate, because graphic design gives one a lot of possibilities. I could be an illustrator, I could try to work in game development (which is my big dream), I could work with books, I could design websites, or packaging, or identity, or advertising – and I’m not sure, as of now, which is best for me.
5. What’s it like to study art? How is your everyday life as an art student different than other students’?
It’s not that I’m an art student per se. Design differs from art in a way that design in made for people, and art is made for the artist themself. Design in communication, while art is searching something of one’s own.
Studying design is interesting, because you get to do things you will do in the future, when you start working. You find new ways of doing something usual, and you find a way to express your ideas in visual communication. But, in general, art students do basically the same as all others: we study, we procrastinate, we love, we party, we go out and mingle, and we have the most fun we can. Some of us are more hardworking, and some of us slack out, some of us work, and some of us don’t. It’s just that when we’re walking down the street or go shopping, we can’t help but notice how bad the advertising or the packaging is. We are constantly thinking how we can make it better. In a way, design changes the world.
6. What do you think are the advantages of staying in your homeland?
The advantages are few. One is, I can visit or contact my family relatively easily. The other is purely altruistic: I still have some faith in Ukraine, and I hope that my generation will change it for the better. As I’m not planning on ever having children, I will have to work on it myself 🙂
7. Do you intend to do art for a living?
I would really love to be a designer, because, despite all the troubles, it brings me pleasure nevertheless. Designing is difficult, but it’s fun, so I would love to do that for a living.
8. What advice can you give to people who, like yourself, want to pursue an art degree and career?
I have a few tips for all you girls and guys that I wish someone had told me before.
• The most important thing is – no, not talent, and not even the amount of hard work you put in. It’s your management skill. You have to be your own art director in order to succeed. You have to be good at socializing and good at showing off your professional skills.
• Design is all about communication and expressing ideas in the way people would understand them. It’s different from art, and you should be prepared for that, too.
• Portfolio is everything. Work for it. Make it look good. Make it diverse. Use all your student works for your portfolio.
• Design is fun. Design changes lives and changes the world. Design can make people buy a product and it can make them think over their consumerism. Everything around you have been made with help of designers, and it’s fascinating. This job isn’t easy, but it’s totally worth it.