The Sacred and The Profane
Delicate, sexy, raunchy, pure, dark, modern, classic, evil and kind. As I go through the portfolio of the once child prodigy from Russia Vania Zouravliov many words come to mind to describe each illustration, but no matter how many different possibilities I might encounter there is one word that applies to all of them: breathtaking.
Vania Zouravliov’s illustrations are simply gorgeous to the eyes, however, more than being so pleasant to look at they are full of wonderful symbolisms. Each image has these subtle messages that contribute to its mysterious nature. It is as if they were drawn with multiple layers, and it is the viewers’ job to peel each of those layers off and uncover their true meaning. I mean, simply look at them! They’re so richly done, and it is no wonder that by the age of 13 his work was already being shown all around the Globe.
His illustrations are the combination of classic techniques, the sweetness of the Divine, and the sensuality of our modern culture. Influenced by The Bible, Dante’s Divine Comedy, early Disney animations and North American Indians, it is no wonder that his works seem so versatile once you take the time to decipher their secret codes. Dare I say that I could see his illustrations resting peacefully alongside Botticelli’s illustrations for The Divine Comedy, as well as some more modern works of art. There is the apparent theme of the sacred and the profane being incorporated as one on the images, as a way of showing the conflicting sides of our human nature.
After having a television show made about him, meeting important communist artists, having several exhibitions by the age of 13, and studying in the UK while creating illustrations for The Scotsman and comics for Fantagraphics and Dark Horse in the US, one can say that his future as an artist is pretty much set down the right path. As with a lot of prodigies, lets just hope he is able to keep himself sane, and have a long reign in the world of the arts.