It has been quite some time since we did a collab so when my IG friend Nora from @lafete_nora introduced me to Olya Tsikhanchuk’s work I knew right away it was time for one! Lucky us (and you because her work will be available for y’all!) Olya loved the idea of working together.
Let’s introduce her first: Olya is a graphic designer and illustrator, based in Finland. Her colorful and playful style made us fall in love with her work instantly. She works mostly digitally, and started doing so to save space at home when her son was still very young. Lately she has been taking time to work with other techniques like drawing (pencil and markers), cutting shapes with colorful paper and painting (a mural!) as well! We asked her some questions to get a glimpse of her (artist) life.
What is your first creative memory?
I was born in the Soviet Union but it collapsed just before I started school. Somehow, all creative subjects were neglected in the post soviet times. You were supposed to be good at math and physics. So classes like singing and painting were not considered serious! What a shame! I loved drawing! I asked my parents to send me to art evening school, but that never happened. They were too “practical” and encouraged me to develop only what could be “a serious” job. I remember I admired one of art teachers who really was passionate about her job and did her best to show us the importance of being creative and expressive. With her guidance I was even selected for an exhibition of kids work in the city I grew up! It is still the fondest creative memory of mine.
Can you describe your work table/studio?
I moved in to my current studio in summer. It is a room in an old house, which was a milk factory and then a photo shop, and now it is a house where a creative family of photographers live and have their studio. It is such an inspirational place! It is not slick, all-white studio as one may typically expect from a graphic designer. My studio is eclectic, messy, cosy, full of colors and real. I have my work table there and also use the rest of the place as a showroom, where people can come in and buy some products designed by me.
What is your life philosophy?
Be happy, spread the joy, don’t wish bad upon others, follow your dreams. I like to think I am a positive person and my positivity is contagious.
Who are your favorite artists?
There are very very many artists I admire, some are classics, because their skills are just something out of this world, some are modern, that I came across either in real life or on IG. I would name just a few here: Claude Monet, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall… and Sergiy Maidukov, Linda Linko, Marika Maijala, Matti Pikkujämsä, Donna Wilson, Anna Katarina Jansen, Mogu Takahashi, Anna Kovecses, Aino-Maija Metsola… I can really go on and on… there are sooooo many talented people that make this world beautiful!
What does an average (work) day look like for you?
At the moment I rarely have an average day, all are different and I combine two jobs, school and a family. But …. If I were to talk about my day, I wake up at 6.30 or 7 and make coffee and breakfast for the family. My son Alfred (who is 4 years old) wakes up then too and his energy rules the house. Then we take turns with my husband – one takes the dog out, one takes the kid to daycare. Then I go to the studio, at around 9 I am there and I start by breathing in =) and then I work work work, drawing, replying emails, dreaming about dream projects, making personal projects, making school work… in Finland people have lunch early, at 11 or 12. If I am being smart that day, I take a short lunch break, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. After lunch I continue working, with a coffee break at maybe 14. And then at 16.00 I have to leave and go to pick up Alfred: we come home and walk the dog (unless she spent her day at my office). I cook food, which I really enjoy. I love having dinner with the family, when we talk about the day and make sure we have a plan for the next day. After dinner I either go to the gym, or take my son to his activities. Sometimes I work too: finishing the projects, replying emails, or updating my Instagram. Alfred goes to bed at around 20.00 and if it is my putting him to bed, I pray I don’t fall asleep before him. I always plan to read books or watch movies with my husband, but this happens rarely, so I guess I can’t really put it here as a part of my “typical day” . =)
And how about your perfect day?
A perfect day – this is easy! All days are perfect when the family wakes up with a smile and we can have a slow lazy morning. I also like waking up in a different country. That is always an adventure!
Last but not least; what is the most valuable lesson you have learned as an artist?
Don’t be afraid to be you, dare to test and show your work. Dream big and work hard!
We couldn’t agree more. Thanks so much Olya!
Super fun note: we’ll be sending the snake she designed out as a free template for all our newsletter subscribers. You can sign up here.