"The Emotional Sound of a Place"
А nostalgic illustration by the artist Ficiko
Our historical period will be remembered for massive migration processes. People from different countries are forced to urgently leave their homes due to war or political regimes and move abroad in search of a new home. Homesickness for one's homeland permeates the creativity of many immigrant artists. Olga Lukoyanova, a graphic artist using the pseudonym Ficiko, often explores the themes of childhood and native places in her recent series of illustrations.
In Ficiko's work, one often encounters playful-nostalgic urban and rural motifs. It goes beyond depicting the architectural appearance and social life of these places; it creatively transmits the "emotional sound of the place." Remarkably, Ficiko's intricately detailed series "MOSCOW PLACES" was drawn entirely from memory. She did not use live sketches, photographs of locations, Google panoramas, or other references. Nevertheless, these are specific locations situated in the less prominent areas of Moscow. "When drawing from memory, the brain erases all insignificant details and retains only the essence, mood, the spirit of the time, and how a person remembers the city space," explains Ficiko. This approach creates a sense of magical realism in the images – the naive and playful watercolors depict entire neighborhoods as if we are viewing them from a distance or seeing them in a dream. The palette of each image is chosen by the artist to reflect the emotional feeling of the city district.
The series "OUT OF MOSCOW" was created by Ficiko in 2020, amidst the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It depicts rural pastoral scenes, imaginative landscapes inspired by small district centers in the Moscow and Yaroslavl regions, and a reconstruction of a pre-revolutionary country settlement. The artwork envisions how countless garden communities in the Moscow region might have appeared a century ago.
The idea to create fantasy landscapes inspired by rural life in the Moscow and Yaroslavl regions came to the artist during a period of forced relocation from Moscow in the midst of mass isolation. In this time, the artist sought inspiration in the countryside lifestyle, the chaotic construction of modern suburban settlements, and the eclectic landscape of small regional centers. "It was a kind of dream about how the outskirts of the Moscow metropolitan area could be arranged," the artist explains. The palette and playful strokes indeed create a dreamy atmosphere – a semi-fairytale, semi-memory based on real events.
A particularly intriguing series of works by Ficiko is "Folktale Week 2020." The artist reimagined the old folktale about a giant turnip that the village inhabitants, as a family, couldn't pull out of the ground. "I tried not to distort the core plot of the folktale, but I wanted to fill the story with details that would resonate with a contemporary audience," Olga explains. In her series, the grandfather and grandmother are modern retirees who have decided to embrace rural life, and their granddaughter is visiting them during the holidays. All of them, including their pets, bravely contend with the elements – facing a gigantic harvest.
Ficiko's artistic choices in techniques and materials are deliberately crafted to enhance the narrative and evoke emotional responses from the viewer. Olga emphasizes the artist's role in shaping how the audience perceives the story. Ficiko frequently incorporates flowing and textural materials such as liquid acrylic, pigment inks, oil pastels, and ink. The inherent imperfections and serendipitous effects that emerge during the spontaneous process of traditional drawing contribute depth and authenticity to her illustrations. Ficiko adeptly combines the precision of digital graphics with the casual, straightforward strokes of brushes and pencils.
Her commitment to authentically capturing the atmosphere establishes Ficiko as an exceptional illustrator. Through her work, many have the opportunity to relive warm, nostalgic sentiments and immerse themselves in a semblance of a fairy tale. Most importantly, it offers solace to those who share in the experience of losing a home, fostering a sense of connection amid such emotions.
Text Derya Ocean