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Tania Yakunova on identifying your visual language as an artist

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

This week on our Arts to Hearts Podcast, our host Charuka Arora sits down with Tania Yakunova who is a Ukrainian visual artist, educator and award-winning illustrator. Currently based in London, UK, Tania talks about her art journey, her life experiences, and how she is learning to understand her inner artist.

Born and raised in Kieve, Tania Yakunova started as a copywriter, and soon shifted towards the art world. Even as a child, she loved to draw, and even though she has her degree in social science and social technologies, it did not stop her from doing what she truly wanted to do. From working as a full-time illustrator to doing freelance, Tania has worked hard to kick-start her art career in the most organic manner where she has constantly strived to expand her community and grow as an artist.

Tania is most interested in minimalistic jet expressive art with a hint of surrealism. Her field of work includes advertising, commercial, branding illustration editorial where she has worked with clients like Google, Apple, Visa Gold, Upwork, and The Washington Post. She has also received multiple awards including World Illustration Awards 2020 and Aplied Arts Awards 2020. Despite all of her success, Tania faces the same struggles as any other artist and often has to combats her imposter syndrome.

According to Tania, it’s important for an artist to understand what they enjoy doing and are good at, and only then they will be able to find their visual language. Throughout her creative journey, Tania’s background and war in Ukraine has had a huge impact on her art and the way she feels. And in the midst of it all, she is constantly trying to set new creative goals for her while following her dreams.

So, tune in to this week’s podcast and listen to Tania as she shares her wisdom and experiences with fellow artists!

TimestampSummary
00:00.56Introduction
07:34.00Tania talks about her unconventional path to becoming an artist
12:06.51Moving to London
13:38.37Our approach to work
14:49.81Becoming a full-time illustrator
22:25Challenges of working with clients
26:38Importance of restrictions in creativity
29:31Overcoming imposter syndrome
30:52Struggling with boredom and change
33:57.54Effects of war
41:14.42Tania’s Instagram and website

**** – (): 00:00.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): We’ll flow into the conversation like we’ve done a rehearsal of our names and welcome to the podcast Taia Yakunova did I get it right far Fat Oh my God That’s this is this so ah, like behind the scenes where we.

**** – (): 00:08.27

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yes, exactly. And.

**** – (): 00:18.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Every time I’m recording with someone I’m like can you tell me how to speak your name because there’s so many people with different nationalities and your name your Youkiraian right? Amazing! Okay, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing.

**** – (): 00:27.16

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yes, exactly Yes I’m good. Thank you for having me. It’s very I’m very excited to be in here.

**** – (): 00:38.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Thank you Thank you same here and I really appreciate your patience because we had some confusion and we’re doing this again. Okay so Tanya you um, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast because I think with every artist we look at. Ah there’s so many different things that like just I think the mere definition of being an artist is so different for all of us how we really execute in our own practices be in the visual arts more beyond that and how we how our careers and lives are based. Before we go there, you know I know you’ve once had amazing illustration awards you worked with one of the biggest brands from googlepixel Facebook and you know all of these brands you’ve had quite quite a great um, commercial success right. I will talk about that but I want before we go to where you are right now. Let’s let’s go a little bit back I would love first for you to introduce yourself. Whatever that means to you and then we’ll talk about some early days of your life.

**** – (): 01:45.30

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, okay so I’m tiny Ekconowa I’m an visual artist and illustrator cerremist I’m a.

**** – (): 02:00.95

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Now.

**** – (): 02:01.34

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Originally from Ukraine and I’ve been born and raised in kiyu which is a capital of Ukraine and I’ve been living in Ukraine k for whole my life since this March because this March I moved to Uk London.

**** – (): 02:14.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): This must. Who my God that’s that’s been between the War. Oh My God oh.

**** – (): 02:21.90

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And here where I am now. Yes, yeah so I’m I’m in a I’m still settling here. But yeah I’m I’m I’m good. It’s a lot of new things and everything is.

**** – (): 02:30.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How are you doing first I want to ask you that.

**** – (): 02:40.36

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Go in and I of course imagine that it will be quicker and easier to get settled down. But yeah, it’s good. It’s kit. So ah.

**** – (): 02:49.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Did you move because of the war.

**** – (): 02:56.91

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I Actually moved notice a refugee but I get a global tele Visa ah to get to uk it. It was planned I planned it even before the war but of course War had.

**** – (): 03:06.29

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 03:12.10

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): As a.

**** – (): 03:15.30

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Impacted everything and changed everything and it’s so yeah, it’s now mix of things but it was ah it was planned decision even before sorry.

**** – (): 03:17.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, those guy I you by yourself or you have your family. Are you here by yourself or do you have your family.

**** – (): 03:28.78

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Oh my family scattered all over the era. So.

**** – (): 03:34.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh so so why? why were okay, let’s talk a little bit about you k in um, how was your upbringing your years growing up there. What what did you love the most about Ukraine.

**** – (): 03:47.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, ah yes so I I was raised in a suburb old suburb of Cave and it was a near big forest.

**** – (): 04:02.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow So you spend yours and your child looking at trees and I’m sure animals. Oh wow.

**** – (): 04:04.72

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And that’s where my childhood and whether I spend my childhood in ah in a exactly exactly and we have this very small old but very lovely house with a.

**** – (): 04:18.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, is it like the cottage out. We seen these postcards Oh mine. Why now you you? you’ve lived my dream life.

**** – (): 04:20.58

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Beautiful garden because my parents hold me. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, so it’s it’s it’s it’s like an old house because I think it was built by my grandfather or grandgrafather.

**** – (): 04:38.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 04:39.86

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): By their hands and it was. It’s not big. It’s on it’s it’s 2 floors and it’s quite a tiny house but we have a beautiful garden because my parents are into gardening and also huge forests just next over street.

**** – (): 04:52.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh I’ll stick.

**** – (): 04:56.76

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): With spine trees and so on so that was my my life and also every summer I spent with my with my cousin in ah Carpasan mountains where my grandparents lived So there’s even.

**** – (): 05:10.28

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, oh wow.

**** – (): 05:15.36

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Bigger ah forest there. So I was like yeah I was a child of nature in in some way. Yeah. So This idea was this beautiful Garden. It’s it’s sticking with me actually and about ah this home and garden and trees and woods and so on.

**** – (): 05:30.47

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 05:41.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, tell me something you um this is a particular question specifically like you know you’ve got a lot of that success. Um, you know what? I just mentioned the beginning of the episode while you were living in your green while you were living in this small. Um, forest area in the Suburban Area. So I Want to start by saying that a lot of us as artists think that we necessarily have to be um in a bigger city in a bigger country in all of those things to get where to we need to. So. She probably like you probably are one of a great examples to say that but can you talk a little bit about how did you get that? did you feel like staying there. Um in a small secluded place. Um, how has that contributed to your own career like in in good. Pros and cons both because this is I think a eighty is yet. We All think about as artists don’t we like we think oh I am because I remember when I was living in a bigger City I Always thought that I was taking it was taking away the piece of life like the quality like the slow life that I think a lot of us desire versus.

**** – (): 06:35.54

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): All right? yeah.

**** – (): 06:46.52

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): In.

**** – (): 06:52.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): When I’m in a smaller city I always feel like I’m less less exposed or like you know, opportunities and all of that. So tell me your experience.

**** – (): 06:59.60

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): exactly exactly I’m still I’m still not sure which is better for me really I’m still trying to think what I will what I want to do in the next ten years so for me.

**** – (): 07:05.21

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 07:16.96

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): My actually my my past towards being an artist is not so straightforward and it’s in in in some yeah, it’s in so I don’t I don’t have a University level art degree. Ah.

**** – (): 07:21.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, has it ever been.

**** – (): 07:34.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, okay oh my goodness.

**** – (): 07:35.50

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I actually have degree in social science and social technologies which is very weird yet on the other hand I I love drawing drawings since I was a child and also.

**** – (): 07:46.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Were you drawing Also like all these years before you actually thought you’d do it professionally.

**** – (): 07:53.98

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah, yeah, so I I asked my parents to put me into the evening art school and they did but it was it was early years of after after Soviet Era and this school wasn’t.

**** – (): 07:57.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 08:11.18

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Like they are now there wasn’t too modern. It was very academic and soviet approach and it was boring. That’s why I think I never get into University Arts University because I saw it will be boring too. So.

**** – (): 08:27.93

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 08:30.18

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I Only later in my twenty s twenty s decided to change the path and start looking into the art again. Yeah.

**** – (): 08:37.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, but did you think at that point you wanted to do it as like a profession did you ever think it could turn into a profession.

**** – (): 08:45.57

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): You know? so you know when I was a kid I never I Never ever think what I will do in future Really I wasn’t this dedicated kid like I want to be an artist and or I want to.

**** – (): 08:53.75

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): He met.

**** – (): 09:03.69

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): My parents a journalist so I thought maybe I will be journalist maybe I will be something else so I never had this very dedicated ah attitude. So when I was I had been working in advertising for 4 years after the Uni.

**** – (): 09:03.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh wow.

**** – (): 09:19.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 09:20.76

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And that’s when I start thinking that that’s like not really mind seeing my thing so I was working as a copywriter so closer to the journalism to the writing and I decided I maybe want to do something with design and while I’ve been starting design.

**** – (): 09:24.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): 10

**** – (): 09:33.34

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yam yeah.

**** – (): 09:40.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): As adult I realize that what I’m really interested in is illustration and that’s how I how I how I get there. So like that. Yeah so getting back to you sorry getting back to your.

**** – (): 09:44.83

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 09:51.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But okay, tell me something What yeah right.

**** – (): 09:59.27

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Question about Yeah, so when I get whenever when I grow up and get a job I moved to the city center. First of all it it doesn’t it doesn’t make much sense because you’re still in. Like you, you still have the same opportunity in the city center to verbs. That’s the same especially ki because ki is not really vi city not like London ah yeah, so but I think that.

**** – (): 10:20.12

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, okay, big city. Okay.

**** – (): 10:37.68

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Being in Kiev was okay for me and was good for me and especially when I started out it because sorry.

**** – (): 10:41.97

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How do define be impact of it. How do I’m can you elaborate on that like how do you think it was good for you.

**** – (): 10:54.79

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah, so ah, first of all, we now have internet and we have social media so we are exposed to all the world and I’ve been working with the clients all over the world and galleries all over the world. So you don’t need to be in specific place.

**** – (): 11:09.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 11:12.50

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Now and you even don’t have to have specific agents for like things because you can do it by yourself with a social media and some portfolio website and so on so that is a I think chain. It changed everything like fifty years ago that wasn’t possible and also in Ukraine we have very nice and very quite small, but very great illustrator community illustrators community yes, and.

**** – (): 11:31.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, it’s.

**** – (): 11:42.82

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh Wow really.

**** – (): 11:47.84

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I think illustration in Ukraine is blooming. We have a lot of young artists. So it’s like you know we have this new generation of artists and illustrators. Ah they’re quite the same age. So I think like me or younger.

**** – (): 11:49.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 12:04.37

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 12:06.51

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Or a little bit a little bit older but this is still like very young scene and there and yeah we have this great pictoric administration club which they are doing a lot of his exhibits for ukrainian artists inside in Ukraine and outside of Ukraine. So.

**** – (): 12:12.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, um, yeah.

**** – (): 12:24.83

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Was great. Yeah, but also also of course like but 1 1 thing where why I was planning to move to London was this is just what you said to to be like in the middle of everything in the middle of culture.

**** – (): 12:25.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Appeasing.

**** – (): 12:42.68

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 12:43.95

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): The world world kind cultural how you say it is it. They know the eye of a storm this point where everything is happening so because I felt yeah because I felt that.

**** – (): 12:51.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 12:58.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Center of it. Yeah, the center of and.

**** – (): 13:03.35

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I’m like far away from many things and I don’t know how it will work out. Ask me in 5 years I will tell you is it worth it or not because I’m I’m not sure now.

**** – (): 13:11.32

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, and I’m sure you if you did it I think um, a lot of those things are just in our minds. A lot of times. Um, everything does depend in the I think at the end of the days how we approach our work sometimes. Even be and how we feel about it I think and also I think there’s so much more to where we are and what we do than just where we live.. There’s so much more that goes into it.

**** – (): 13:38.37

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah I exact sets That’s that’s true. Absolutely, that’s true.

**** – (): 13:45.24

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): First let’s say for starters, let’s talk about like you know you had these amazing projects with um, you know one of these incredible brands that are today like you know Google Facebook and all of these bands and you were still in Ukraine you were still living in cave. Can you talk about how those happened um. What was your first let’s start with what was your first real project that paid you and you felt like okay now I could do this for a living.

**** – (): 14:08.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Huh.

**** – (): 14:12.45

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): So and I need to say that after quitting my ah my job as a copywriter and creative agency I become a full-time illustrator but not the freelance freelance kind of illustrator.

**** – (): 14:20.51

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Copyright. Um.

**** – (): 14:26.92

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): So okay, how did you become time one.

**** – (): 14:29.71

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): So I yeah so I joined my first illustration work illustrator work work as an illustrator I don’t have to say it correctly was in a in a motion design studio and I was illustrating for.

**** – (): 14:41.25

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Insteadedite. Okay, so.

**** – (): 14:49.65

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): See small motion videos exactly so that was my first job and.

**** – (): 14:49.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Videos yeah, and at that one what kind of work were you doing like you have a very specific style today at that point did you know what style meant.

**** – (): 15:01.00

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah, yeah, at that point now at that point I was doing like when you’re working as ah as an in-house illustrator. You probably be doing more like what they say to you than something yours. But.

**** – (): 15:06.78

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Whatever you will need to.

**** – (): 15:15.18

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, absolutely yeah.

**** – (): 15:20.36

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I Always like from the day one I had these site projects and weekend projects which was my own clients and my freelancing so I was full-time illustrator and freelancing on evenings and weekends. Yeah that that and then I worked.

**** – (): 15:31.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Saying both? Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 15:39.30

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Motion design studios at gaming studio and then fintech startup so it was 3 places where I work as as a full time in-house illustrator and simultaneously taking a lot of site projects like ah freelance projects.

**** – (): 15:48.53

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, so.

**** – (): 15:58.41

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): It was tough time. It did some very good things to me and some not so good things to me because it was of course exhausting to have no and no time for anything really.

**** – (): 16:08.33

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): So 2 Yeah, yes, absolutely excuse me.

**** – (): 16:15.81

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): That’s that I I won’t recommend that doing that for it too long because for me, it was like 4 years and it was too long. Yeah, but so I will be.

**** – (): 16:21.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I agree goodness.

**** – (): 16:30.84

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Talking Maybe only about my freelance projects because there that’s where I was growing as an artist because on my in-house position I was earning money mostly that’s it so and making friends. Maybe.

**** – (): 16:35.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 16:44.52

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, ah, that’s that’s the good part.

**** – (): 16:49.81

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah, yes, ah yes, that’s a good part because you you you grow your community. Also when you work in-house. Yeah, so I think my first big project was not long after I ah finished I took several courses. About graphic design and then illustration and then lettering and not long after I finish one I have this I had this ah student project and I put it on a hands which is.

**** – (): 17:23.18

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, no anymore. No.

**** – (): 17:24.43

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Portfolio website and at that time it was very useful I’m not sure. It’s the same good now. But that time it was very very great and some and big ukrainian client that it was. This kind of ah fashion and um, cosmetic store and they did a promotion together with visa gold and they came to me and said we like this style can you do it? Can you do the illustrations for us. And it was huge for me, it was like wow and we we did it in my style which was very nice and that was I think my first big project and yeah, that’s it.

**** – (): 18:06.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 18:17.92

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What about finding your style How someone from someone you know who didn’t come from a um I think they’re always pros and cons to things when you don’t come from art school I Think the good thing is you do not really care about so much Of. Or building a style you just navigating as you’re going moving forward. You have a very specific style where you have these exaggerated um figures you have these ah like you know these? um organic shapes.

**** – (): 18:45.38

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, and.

**** – (): 18:50.70

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): E.

**** – (): 18:52.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And I feel like it’s It’s such a modern way of of very similar object like you know nature and then women and I really love how you also mix figures organic shapes with geometry a lot of times and. Can you talk a little bit about how did you find your style per se a lot of artists struggle with this where they do not know how how to go there. How to reach that point where they feel like okay this feels like me this is something I want to do consistently or.

**** – (): 19:29.81

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 19:30.35

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Also I think you’ve also evolved your style not only in digital but you’ve also taken it. You know you do traditional media is also you also do ceres now which is an and let’s talk about that.

**** – (): 19:35.49

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, okay so first of all I think you pointed it very very nice that it’s very important to do what feels like you and also so.

**** – (): 19:51.65

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 19:54.78

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Like what we say style or visual language I prefer is one. It’s ah very, it’s not static. It’s changing all over the time and it changed through my career too and I think the the way to find it to it’s too.

**** – (): 20:02.26

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, a welling. Yeah okay.

**** – (): 20:13.90

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): To Combine what your what yours? What your stresses Strength is like what you’re good in doing and what you enjoy doing and what process do you enjoy? So for me I Not really I love looking at illustrations that have you know like. Very a lot of small small details and a lot of work but that’s not something I would do because I’m not that kind of person I’m not that patient. Yes, Ah, you need to find something that feels right for you and that you’re good and doing.

**** – (): 20:33.66

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): A j.

**** – (): 20:39.38

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Patient and.

**** – (): 20:47.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 20:50.97

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And for me my biggest and inspiration is avantgarde and modern art of twentieth century and bauha and all this like when you go to museum and you go to the twentieth twentieth century and a place to be for me.

**** – (): 20:56.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I sweated. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 21:09.97

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): So you I think you can see that in my works in colors and shapes and so on and so I think that’s the way that’s a way you you can find your visual language so you need to understand what is feels like you and what is what you want to talk about.

**** – (): 21:15.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 21:20.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And you know yeah how did you figure what you want to talk about. Can you share that What does your work. So.

**** – (): 21:29.73

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): What you want to communicate like what so I’m still I’m still trying to figure out so I’m only I think I’m only in recent few years ah realized ah topics that i’m. Interested in in a walkingking like mostly it’s about it’s about emotions feelings maybe dreams ah hopes and so on so that is I think it’s driven mostly by some inner things maybe by. Memories and so on and before that you know when you work as a commercial illustrator you often can be drifted away by Briefs and not not yeah and not to think too much what you as an artist want to do so that’s.

**** – (): 22:15.53

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 22:25.91

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I am now more focused on my personal work and I tried to do it as much as possible.

**** – (): 22:33.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And how do you navigate this role of I think you know I’ve also had my own journey when it work with clients in different mediums than having a journey of a very personal. Um, but I feel like. Both have very unique challenges I think working with someone is a whole learning curve where you for a client you have to understand their requirement and you above them. Oh sorry them above you Ah, the good. The hard part I think for working with clients is.

**** – (): 22:51.22

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Here.

**** – (): 23:01.74

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah.

**** – (): 23:07.17

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Working with clients. They like the relationship part can be taxing sometimes because um, you know negotiations and but the good part of working with clients is um I think for someone like me I Really enjoy the good part for me as client projects are I.

**** – (): 23:16.32

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 23:26.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Love to take up a challenge. So if they tell me okay, this is you know this is what we’re thinking about it’s like a very designer approach because I’m train as ah, I’m a trained designer I’m not a trained artist like I figured myself out there but my work my how I was trained as a design. Okay, this is a problem like now my creativity finds how I reach from here. To where a client expects and that I really enjoy. But when you’re working for yourself. I think this is the hardest part because now you are your boss nobody has it. You don’t have to change it. You have to do nothing. You can do whatever you want, but. You have to figure out what is that brief that you need today or what is that point that you’re looking for and that I feel is so incredibly so incredibly hard. Oh my god can you share your own experience.

**** – (): 24:13.52

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Heart. Yes, yeah, so I think that that freedom is ah ah it’s is the enemy of creativity. Really, it’s a worst enemy.

**** – (): 24:21.79

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, would it. Yeah I Do I do agree I feel like yeah I feel like um I also perform really well when there’s a like ah when you put me in a box like not in that sense of mental box. But tell me like this is something like a few restrictions and then my brain starts to work in such fantastic ways like I feel like oh my God I like I didn’t know I had it in me or like I could think of something like this like it’s like you and father.

**** – (): 24:49.70

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah I Totally I Totally agree and I totally see what you’re talking about because that’s the same for me and I also came from design perspective and what I like in working for brief is this restrictions that make you. Come up with ideas that you didn’t know you have so and that’s amazing and these restrictions put you in a position where you where your brain need to find other ways and these ways make what you do interesting I agree with that and this is happening.

**** – (): 25:06.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 25:20.63

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 25:25.53

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): So I’m um, especially when I was teaching Arts classes I um looked into how the how brain works and how brain create ideas and that’s just like how brain works if you have total freedom. It will go to this you know.

**** – (): 25:38.58

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, all over the place.

**** – (): 25:45.14

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah, so like like imagine imagine your brain like a field with a fold with a grass and you have to connect to dots to dots is your neurons actually and if you have a chase if you have bigro on this field.

**** – (): 25:48.47

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah. And.

**** – (): 26:02.63

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Your brain always go this way because that’s ah, that’s ah, energy sufficient way to do it so to create something you you have to put these dots like in a places where they are not intent to be this one this way you.

**** – (): 26:05.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, and.

**** – (): 26:17.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 26:19.59

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): You need to go through the grass and do new road new so you like tiny road to go somewhere else and that’s what brief do to you they say connect these 2 unconnectable things and give us some sketches and you’re like what.

**** – (): 26:34.64

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, why then is yes I agree that to me.

**** – (): 26:37.32

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And then you start to sink in and connecting this. Yeah so that’s a good thing about working with brief bad thing is that it’s not giving you this freedom to to talk always about what your interest in it and.

**** – (): 26:50.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, shape it in your own way. Take it in a due direction not all clients want that because they of course have another purpose and that may not always like you know intention. Okay.

**** – (): 26:55.79

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah.

**** – (): 27:00.63

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Of course and even even if they even if they are very like we we trust you and so on the topic might be not what you’re like not what you’re interested. Yes, like passion right? so.

**** – (): 27:10.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, as passionate about.

**** – (): 27:18.50

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): It’s a lot of it can be a lot of creative freedom. But it’s still not your thoughts like not your topic and I think when it comes to your own art. So yeah, it’s kind of for me. It’s also kind of give myself some restrictions and those restrictions can be.

**** – (): 27:21.87

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 27:38.60

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Format or colors or how I can have I want to approach that I’ve tried to I have this I have this ah Credo which is try to make most convincing synque less of the.. How you say it? I don’t know how to say it in English let me sing So it’s with a minimal with a minimal resources to do maximum Impact. So What I mean by minimal resources is.

**** – (): 28:05.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 28:15.44

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): To make it like Minimalistic but bold right to to use these shapes why I use these shapes is not because like there’s reason for them because for me shapes are emotional and composition are emotional so you can even without.

**** – (): 28:19.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 28:25.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, no.

**** – (): 28:34.00

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Putting any specific object on ah on a canvas or on something you can evoke emotions through the shapes and that’s what all the abouthaus and and artists of twentieth century is about so abstract.

**** – (): 28:41.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And absolutely and.

**** – (): 28:51.95

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Unk that they woke emotions and he yeah so ah yeah, I’m feeling like I’m I’m ah I very much it excited but by abstract art but my art is not really abstract. It’s something in between.

**** – (): 28:52.12

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Abstract your work is a very good blend of abstract but figur it of like the figure is there.

**** – (): 29:04.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, because we it trained in design to me. Also I think I really look at conversations for me.

**** – (): 29:09.62

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Because I really and I think composition is very important part. So yeah, exactly. but but I understand what you’re talking about but ah about about it’s hard to do your own theme. But now I feel. Maybe because of all this experience that I’ve been through for last years in war and all that I have a lot of things in my head that are ready to go out and so I’m not so much struggling about creating ideas anymore.

**** – (): 29:31.45

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah. That you want to get out and. Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 29:46.60

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Because I already trained my brain pretty good of not going straightforward. So I think all the previous time all the previous briefes was like training and now even when I think about some ideas I want to communicate I want to put on them. On I don’t know on the format on on the canvas I already have this other way of thinking.

**** – (): 30:12.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What do you think? what do you think has been the most most difficult thing for you all these years like being an artist.

**** – (): 30:22.40

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, who Wow that’s ah, that’s a that’s a hard question I think I for a long time and even now and even now I’m struggling like many artists with this imposter syndrome when you.

**** – (): 30:37.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, night.

**** – (): 30:40.47

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Constantly thinking that you’re not good enough and also I got bored very quickly of so I know there is artists who who can do same things for decades and that’s not me I’m.

**** – (): 30:52.64

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): For a long time. Yeah, okay.

**** – (): 30:59.62

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I got bored very quickly. So I I all always try and to move and for commercial artists. It can be quite challenging too because like.

**** – (): 31:10.13

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, just get the same project. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 31:14.22

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Clients expect you to do the same thing and your changing change something and then you like here’s something new and they’re okay, we like that’s something old. so yeah so I think these 2 these 2 things are most.

**** – (): 31:19.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 31:25.84

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And mean think I love you? What are you looking forward to in the next like what is what excites you? What is something that you want to work on as an artist as creative.

**** – (): 31:32.77

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Challenge it.

**** – (): 31:39.82

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah, um, yeah I would like to go far off with my own own projects on things like being an artist I don’t mind collaborating with brands and so on but I would really. Love to explore more about what’s about me what? Yes, yeah because I think that’s something that many artists want to do because what you’re doing. It’s first of all, it’s you as as I said when you’re trying to find your.

**** – (): 31:58.58

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Well your own ideas here.

**** – (): 32:09.13

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 32:16.88

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Visual language is what you’re about what feels like you and now I feel like I want to explore more what feels like me. Yes.

**** – (): 32:19.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And and I think life experiences Also um, you’ve gone through a major major experience in your life like you know it’s not something that you go through every day and I wish nobody does. But when you like for me I also felt the same way. Anytime I’ve had a major experience. Be it good or bad after my mom’s loss I think I had this. There’s huge resistance and block I had creatively but also so much like you said there’s so much I feel like I want to say and share and I don’t know how that translates but I know that emotionally, there’s so much store in me.

**** – (): 32:49.29

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 32:51.31

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 32:57.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): That I know is looking for a way to come out.

**** – (): 32:58.78

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Exactly so that’s exactly what I felt like when the war started. Um, oh yeah, it was so I think it was most terrible scary day. Um in my life so we were we were Adam.

**** – (): 33:07.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How was it can you talk a little but I’m a if you um.

**** – (): 33:13.25

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): My.

**** – (): 33:18.66

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): I And like I was quite expecting it I was checking use constantly? yeah and so it wasn’t but it was it still wasn’t you You still can’t prepare yourself for that. So even it’s the next night before I was checking use.

**** – (): 33:22.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Early.

**** – (): 33:38.51

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And I was seeing this signs that it’s starting this night like for for instant Russia close their ah air air air border with Ukraine. So no no russian civil plane can fly there so it’s like.

**** – (): 33:52.21

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): No flights use their signs. Yeah so.

**** – (): 33:57.54

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): This very red flagck. Yes, so you can but still you can and I can okay I will go sleep and in 3 hours I woke up because my mom called me and says it’s worst started and they’re shelling all Ukraine which is why I wasn’t expecting that there will be like. Going all in into shelling whole whole country because Ukraine is huge and yeah and we have created all of us evacuated all my family Eva createdated from kev and we go to the ah west of Ukraine which was consider it more safe part.

**** – (): 34:18.96

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay I.

**** – (): 34:33.60

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And we stayed there for my parents went to to Germany and have protection there and they’re still living in Germany and I went back to Kiev in a few months when there was say further but I also have this. Block for a first two weeks I think but then I started to just draw because I have I need to let it all out and first it was all about the war and the pain and it was like so painful and those were.

**** – (): 35:00.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 35:08.83

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Very different images that what I did before and it was very strange to do with my visual language was used to be very cherish and happy to do this very scary and difficult illustrations. But even after I like now I’m.

**** – (): 35:09.47

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Get Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 35:22.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Right.

**** – (): 35:27.89

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Drawing less about war but that put me yeah, it changed me a lot and I’m now so I can’t stopb this now. So I have so much things that I want to so I read read every single a resource.

**** – (): 35:30.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, but it changed you I’m sure.

**** – (): 35:36.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, I completely I completely appreciate that I don’t think I think like you said something in the beginning which is extremely important is like you know everything is always evolving.

**** – (): 35:46.30

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Ah, resort on my life. Yeah.

**** – (): 35:54.13

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): There’s nothing that we can erase from our experiences and it truly shapes who we are as artists and you know like like as you said this I was just thinking about what as as a person who’s looking at someone’s work art like what would interest me more a happy person Altogether always all illustrations. Or an expression of different emotions a life A person has experienced via their art and really like even as a viewer I would I would really like to see all of those parts and it’s so strange that as artists we feel so confused about it because we feel like oh my work.

**** – (): 36:28.70

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): The.

**** – (): 36:31.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Used to look like a certain way and I it’s now it’s Happy. It’s no oh, it’s not happy like but we forget that you know what at the end of the day the art that we’re making is the Life. You’re living like it’s if we really want to be authentic then we have to be. Really authentic and understand that this is just not a piece of paper and pains. It is not what it looks. It is also what we’ve lived and it what it feels like to us at that point.

**** – (): 36:57.45

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah, exactly exactly um I agree with you totally? And yeah, so ah, my work changed like dramatically even even even now when I’m of course.

**** – (): 37:11.90

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Art ah of War related art was different but even now when it’s not all war related. It’s still very different because I have like like yeah.

**** – (): 37:20.74

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, um, you’ve evolved your life has changed. You had to move. You’ve seen things you’ve experienced things and that shapes you so and it builds character but I feel as we live life I think as we live life.

**** – (): 37:30.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, so I think I like I feel myself much more sorry I Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 37:38.83

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Adds more layers and layers and layers and layers and it’s like you know in India like how do I say this? um in India there’s a very common thing in hindi ah native language you know which is like um, do me Bali. Ah. So fate nikea which typically means in english is that they’ve not grayed their hair in sunlight. Basically it means that they have the hair. The gray hair is a sign of experience and life lived and the leavers. And multitudes of experiences and learnings. They’ve had it is not like something they’ve gone and died so ah grown at night is one flat color versus the graying of a hair means.

**** – (): 38:23.82

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 38:31.91

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): There are so many days and experiences and moments and learnings. They’ve had that brought that outcome. It’s like I think similarly for us.

**** – (): 38:37.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly and I feel like much more conscious now about myself and about what I’m doing about my work about my arts and ever before. So.

**** – (): 38:45.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You know.

**** – (): 38:55.12

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): That said one of the reasons that I want to involve more into my own things and my own projects because I now have something to say and I haven’t had that an orch that much and of an arch before.

**** – (): 39:08.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): For a long time. Yeah yeah, perfect. Thank you so much. Tania was so nice speaking to you and I wish I could more? no absolutely. But but before I let you go.

**** – (): 39:17.32

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Thank you for having me.

**** – (): 39:25.12

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Tell me something that you’re working on now now that you’re London share where you are so that anyone who’s listening to this make sure you hit her up. Maybe you can find a friend or more if you have a lot of listeners from all over the world. Um, and if you’re working on something that we can share support lift you up, please.

**** – (): 39:43.82

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): yeah so um now I’m yeah I’m in London I’m living in a southwest London if that makes sense and so ah yeah.

**** – (): 39:50.51

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Have so anyone who’s from the area make sure if you’re listening to this episode say hi to taia. So yes.

**** – (): 40:00.39

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): And I I would love to make friends here because ah you know I’m new here. So and what I’m working about is ah actually about my own pieces. So one of them you can see behind.

**** – (): 40:04.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Absolutely yeah yeah.

**** – (): 40:16.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): So I can see I saw your video Also so.

**** – (): 40:19.80

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, and and this is an ongoing series about um about mostly emotions and and my own my own experience and. I Feel a series of illustrations or art arts that are calling. Ah no one ever comes here which is about places and places inside us which are hidden normally and I Work. Ah.

**** – (): 40:48.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I.

**** – (): 40:55.85

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): With a mix of digital and or and how you call it traditional media. So I do them in graffit and then I scan them and then I finish them in digital and.

**** – (): 41:00.37

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, Okay, okay, okay, okay.

**** – (): 41:10.80

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): If you want you can have you can have a look in my Instagram and my website and also I and yes so I don’t know so my Instagram is her is I need to yeah that.

**** – (): 41:14.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Make sure you mention your Instagram website for people to find you.

**** – (): 41:28.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah, and me Yes, ah okay, you want me to do yes. So this is a n and I underscore T E Double t.

**** – (): 41:30.20

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Day I Can you can you do it? do it for So it’s tiny yukova. Yes.

**** – (): 41:42.73

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): For anyone who wants to visit and I highly encourage because Tanny has a beautiful Instagram account and you can see a lot of our work I will link everything in the show notes episode. We link some of our work and direct links of our website. And her Instagram which is a n n I annie underscore t e w t I did that see.

**** – (): 42:01.62

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Oh thank you Thank you? and also I do print and original drops time to time So make sure you’re checking it as yeah.

**** – (): 42:08.56

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh yes I will take all that information from you your website and everything and we’ll link everything in the episode of this in the show notes of this episode So make sure you do listen and you do go check this ad on our website.

**** – (): 42:27.91

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Thank you.

**** – (): 42:28.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Thank you so much Dana you were wonderful and I really hope you you know I know the feeling of being in a new place feeling like an outsider and the process it takes to build a home to feel at home actually not only build a home and I only hope that next time we speak. Ah, you have a blooming.

**** – (): 42:47.28

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): This.

**** – (): 42:47.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Home You feel at home and you have all light in the world. Thank you so much. Oh you don’t have to go once and then I will stop.

**** – (): 42:51.84

**** – (): Tania

**** – (): Thank you so much. Thank you bye.


About The Guest: Tania Yakunova is a visual artist, illustrator, and ceramist originally from Ukraine. She has received numerous illustration awards and has worked with major brands such as Google Pixel and Facebook.

Summary: Tania Yakunova, a visual artist and illustrator, shares her journey from growing up in a small suburb of Kiev to moving to London. She discusses the challenges and advantages of being an artist in a small city versus a big city, and how she found her unique artistic style. Tania also talks about her experiences working with clients and the importance of finding a balance between creative freedom and client expectations. She shares how her life experiences, including the war in Ukraine, have influenced her art and the themes she explores. Tania concludes by discussing her current projects and her desire to continue exploring her own personal work.

Key Takeaways:

  • Finding your artistic style involves combining what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, and what feels like you.
  • Working with client briefs can provide creative restrictions that lead to new and innovative ideas.
  • The imposter syndrome is a common struggle for artists, but it’s important to recognize your own worth and talent.
  • Life experiences shape and evolve your art, and it’s important to embrace and express those experiences authentically.

Quotes:

  • “You need to understand what feels like you and what you want to talk about.”
  • “That freedom is the enemy of creativity.”
  • “The art that we’re making is the life we’re living.”
  • “I have so much things that I want to say and share, and I don’t know how that translates, but I know that emotionally, there’s so much stored in me.”

Charuka Arora is the founder of the Arts to Hearts Project and Host of the Arts to Hearts Podcast. She is also an acclaimed Indian artist known for her contemporary embellished paintings. Her unique blend of gouache, collage, embroidery, painting, and drawing explores the intersection of art, culture, heritage, and womanhood. Through her work, she tells stories of female strength and encapsulates them in pieces that can be treasured for generations.

 Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Charuka’s work draws inspiration from Hindu mythology, recognizing women as vessels of Shakti, the cosmic energy. She beautifully portrays powerful goddesses like Durga Maa riding a tiger or lion, symbolizing their unlimited power to protect virtue and combat evil.

Through her art, Charuka invites us into the world of women, showcasing their beauty, strength, and resilience. Her creations not only exhibit exceptional talent but also serve as an inspiration and a symbol of hope for those challenging societal norms.

About Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

Arts to Hearts Podcast is a show delving into the lives and passions of renowned artists. From running creative businesses and studio art practices to cultivating a successful mindset, Charuka Arora engages in heartfelt conversations with her guests. Experience your personal happy hour with your favorite artists, right in your studio.

Through candid discussions, Charuka and her guests reveal the joys and challenges of a vibrant creative life, both within and beyond our studios. Get ready to be inspired and uplifted as you tune in.

Tania Yakunova is Ukrainian award-winning illustrator and educator currently based in London, UK.

Her dominate interest lays in minimalistic jet expressive art with a hint of surrealism and amusing characters. She started her artistic journey in 2014 and has been working on projects from around the world since then. Her field of work spreads from commercial, advertising and branding illustration to book, editorial and internationally exhibited personal artworks.

She finds her inspiration in avant-garde art and design of the 20 century and brings it’s perspective it to modern illustration. Her works recognised by bold composition, rhythm and excellent work with forms and colours. She added ceramic sculpture to her art practice as new media lately

Tania Yakunova had always enjoyed arts and drawing, but somehow her experience at an evening art school as a child discouraged her from pursuing her degree in arts. She found the school to be ‘boring’ and very ‘academic’, and ended up starting as a copywriter. But when you are born with an inner artist, you are bound to end up on that path at some point in your life, and that’s what happened with Tania as well. After she worked in advertising for 4 years, in her late twenties she realized that she was interested in illustration and so she decided to act on it. While Tania talks about the world becoming global with social media, and not needing an agent anymore as you can do it all by yourself, she has recently moved to London to be in the ‘eye of the storm’ where she had more opportunities and exposure.

Tania Yakunova
Artwork by Tania Yakunova

Starting her career without any formal art education

Tania started her career by illustrating small motion videos. It wasn’t a big gig, but it was something that helped her get her foot in the door, and that is what she did. She took advantage of her opportunity and not only did she work as fully-time in-house illustrator, she also worked on her side projects as a freelancer on weekends. Managing all her jobs and projects was not easy, as it can be exhausting when you barely have time for anything, but she kept going. For Tania, her role as an in-house illustrator was where she was making money, but it was her freelance projects that helped her grow as an artist.

Subsequently, Tania took several courses about, graphic design, illustration and then lettering, and soon after she bagged a project with a big Ukrainian client, as she calls it, where she was able to do something big, and that too in her own style. From there onwards, there was no stopping for Tania!

Finding her visual language

For artists, it’s an important and equally challenging task to find their style. What is it that they are good at doing? Tania acknowledges that it is important to identify your style as an artist.

It’s very important to do what feels like you.

Tania Yakunova – Arts to Hearts Podcast s03e45

But it’s easier said than done, and it’s something that artists actively need to figure out. Tania calls her style as ‘not static’ as it has constantly changed over the course of her career, and in the end, it comes down to combining your strengths with your talents. What is it that you enjoy, but also comes effortlessly to you? Even though Tania loves illustrations with small details, she also realizes that it is not something she would be able to do as she lacks the patience for it. So for her, the key is to understand what feels like her and also something that she wants to talk about. The answer is within every artist, and it is only when you are able to find it is when you can find your inner voice.

Recently, Tania has been thinking more and more about it. She is also constantly trying to figure it out, as it is not something that you can crack in a day or even a week. This is a process that every artists must embrace at some point in their career. Tania is beginning to realize that she is drawn to emotions, dreams, memories, and hopes. Perhaps for her, it is also something that is directly related to the war that she has experienced in her country.

Importance of restrictions in creativity

Talking about creativity and how you can evolve as an artist, Tania believes that freedom is the enemy of creativity. She thinks that her creativity is at its best when she is pit in a box, and that usually happens when she is working with clients. While this may sound paradoxical, it makes sense as well because Tania loves a good challenge, and when she has to face restrictions, that is when she uses her potential to go above and beyond by achieving her goal in a way that adheres to the ‘rules’ but is also true to her art.

When you work alone, you don’t really face a challenge. You just follow your own style and do your own thing. There is nothing really pushing your limits. When you are in a box, you are forced to generate all these ideas that would not have come otherwise, and from a design perspective, that is something that excited Tania. She ends up using minimal resources to do maximum impact, and that is what art is all about; to challenge yourself and to constantly exceed your own expectations.

Challenges as an artist

As an artist, our struggles never end. At every twist and turn of the way, we are trying to recreate our path and rediscover our inner voice. For Tania it’s very much the same as she thinks that she still face two major problems as an artist. The first, she says, is her imposter syndrome where she still has to convince herself that she is good enough and that she needs to have complete faith in her skills. It is something that not just artists, but people from different walks of life, will relate to. It is the constant battle between you and your inner critic, and you have to make sure that it is you who wins in the end.

Artwork by Tania Yakunova

The second challenge for Tania is to keep herself interested. For some artists, it’s not easy to do the same work again and again and again. After a while, doing the same thing can get repetitive, and for Tania, that can be difficult to handle. This especially happens with commercial artists because oftentimes, clients demand work that resembles their previous projects, or they can ask for something that is very similar to what they have done before. For Tania, it can get boring, and that is why this is something that has laid out what she wants to do moving forward. While she wants to collaborate with brands and other artists, she also wants to explore her style more, and truly understand her own self. 

Now I feel like I want to explore what feels like me.

 Tania Yakunova – Arts to Hearts Podcast s03e45

How did war affect Tania Yakunova‘s art?

Our past experiences can have a huge effect on our art and our style, and that is what happened with Tania. When the war in Ukraine started, she felt a creative block in the beginning for the first two weeks. The entire experience was nerve racking, to move from one part of the city to another to be safe. Then, slowly, she realized that she needed to let it all out and at first everything she painted was about war and pain. At that point, there was a shift in her style where she drew very different images than what she would do before. She felt her visual language to be changing; from happy, it went to scary. Even though not Tania has somewhat moved past it, as she is drawing less about war, it still changed her.  

I feel much more conscious now about myself, my work, and my art than ever before.

Tania Yakunova – Arts to Hearts Podcast s03e45

Our life experiences change her, and war has definitely has had an impact on the way Tania creatively expresses herself now. It is also something that has made her want to be more involved into her own things and her own projects because now, she has something to say.

Artwork by Tania Yakunova

Currently, Tania is in southwest London where she is always looking to make new friends. Right now she is working on her art pieces that reflect her experiences and emotions, where she is working with a mix of digital and traditional media. You can check out Tania’s work on her Instagram and her official website, where she also does print and original drops from time to time.

To read up more about Arts to Hearts Podcast and its episodes, click here.


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