Dmitry Kudinov

Good in Art Design.

About Dmitry Kudinov

I am multidiscipline creative specialist, try to work with details of culture and historical context, if i have some, i try to learn more information about process from first step till last. Open to everything new, traveling makes my horizont of mind wider.

  • Winner of Art Design Award.
  • Specialized in Art Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Art
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Interview with Dmitry Kudinov

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have technical education, I am a medical equipment engineer by degree. I started my design activities in parallel with working at the factory. At nights I studied graphic software and took some orders from the people I knew. That was how I developed my portfolio.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
We started with an informal status of a creative union; a group of people united by one idea. The name came by itself, we called it Supernova meaning transformation of a massive giant star into the new supernova star. Initially, it was in the format of a creative union, we called ourselves Supernova Creative Conglomerate. Having obtained the official status in 2017, we renamed ourselves to Supernova Art Embassy. After a while we realized that we consolidate different parties. That was our initial mission and it goes through all our creative works. We unite different parties and try to solve tasks for several interested persons and companies involved. This is what our embassy does. Since most of our projects are urban, we manage festival programs and creative projects, that was the reason why we have called ourselves an Art Embassy.
What is "design" for you?
Design is a process in the first place, not a result. When people say, hey, that’s a cool design, looking at something. It seems to me that they talk about the process itself, how designer approached his task and solved it. This is some kind of modification. Designs may vary for the same thing or product; design might be totally different. Essentially, it is a process of modifying a thing. For instance, we can talk about bicycles. There were times when bicycles had a big front wheel and a smaller back one. There are monocycles, there are classic bicycles, road bicycles, tandems etc. You can unite all these under one category, but they are different, targeted for different audiences and different functions. Design is an application tool which modifies something in process.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
It is a creative process. Design is not created from scratch. There is some information, and processing of this information and transformation of it into some visual language, form and plot is what is interesting. But I do not want to limit myself by idea as a concept. I always try to complete a project. This balance between mental work while sitting in the office and on-site production represents an interesting change. The season is very short, in winter you mostly sit and develop these projects which is a more monotonous work. And in summers you move and travel, do some handy work. You do some physical work which also brings pleasure.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
There are a lot of favorite projects, I would even say I don’t have unfavorite projects. Maybe the first projects implemented stay most memorized. One of these was realized in 2012, Lucky Tart festival formatted as Murrell Festival involving both foreign and Russian artists. There were 45 participants representing 9 countries. Their participation resulted in 35 objects in the city, starting from small walls to large scale Murrells, works on buildings facades. I had my own purpose there – I wanted to meet the people I knew about from the Internet. And they themselves came to my city and created something. The atmosphere of the event, communication occurred, this friendly spirit of the whole festival, some surprises, gifts, improvisations – that was cool. Even after 8 years I recall it. I still can send a message to any participant and I will get some warm replies. They do remember me. It is important that when you went through such festival with a strict schedule and very tough work conditions for the whole team and the artists involved – this is what unites people. This friendly spirit is still there.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I started doing author projects even before our Art Embassy team got together. That was not a pure start-up. We already had projects for the city. My first work was on a building façade in my hometown. There I acted both as a manager and as an artist. It is very nice to know that this work is still taken care of. It was a funny situation related to this work because the building façade should have been equipped with extra heat isolation. So, my work was covered with isolating materials. This was the painting of very cute pandas. At the end that was kind of a sandwich: panda-isolation-panda. We often joke about this, looks like these pandas are freezing in the Russian climate.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I have to work with various materials. It is very interesting to use available materials for another purpose, for instance, recyclables, process and use them. I am talking mostly about installations. It does not occur often. I like to work with wood. Most of our works are connected with paints. We started with spray paint but eventually we switched to façade paints. Their colors are warmer and the effect is more artistic. I think these are the most perspective materials now, including working with wet roller technology.
When do you feel the most creative?
Most probably, the moment of the first meeting with a client. I realize that I already have clear ideas. I talk about some ideas at these meetings using them as some kind of a bait. But I keep some of them to myself because it would be very easy to devaluate them. You have to keep the balance: on one hand, share your way of thinking, on the other hand you can hold on with some most interesting ideas and details. It all happens within one hour. As one of my friends says, if I do not have any ideas within the first ten minutes, it will be very difficult to work on this project.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
This is about context and infrastructure, the environment around the object, other peculiarities, historical facts and historical context, cultural codes, everything that makes this puzzle complete.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Initially you feel excited, you feel courage and inspiration. Later on, you come across difficulties. You need to be able to complete what you do. You have to be more concentrated to make a project work. You need to go through a lot of interim stages important for project implementation. The last emotions are relief, satisfaction, joy which passes quite fast. As I said before it is interesting to follow further destiny of a project and what is going on around it. Your author work becomes public heritage, and something happens to it.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Sometimes you feel this excitement when your idea starts to develop. You don’t have a complete idea from the start. You see your result, but how do you reach it? You start to guess. And this moment of your discovery of solutions creates this excitement. It does not mean, though, that I scream and shout in excitement or run around my room filled with joy. You just have more courage, and you do it and do it and do it to come to some optimal solution which will be relevant to all requirements.
What makes a design successful?
Most probably, consciousness. Consciousness and harmony. This is always a balance between dualistic things. You want to do something just to be beautiful or you want to do something functional? This balance, this line represents success of a project. It should take into account a lot of opinions and parameters.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
When I have a concept and an idea, and I have visualized them, I start using it. If a project is most adaptive for various tasks because tasks and context may change overtime. Initial parameters do change. If a design is adaptive to new conditions, then it may be considered a good one. There are cases when I need to adapt it to new technologies, and it is very difficult to do it. For instance, there are technical restrictions which I have not considered in the beginning. I would not say that it is a bad design, but it is more difficult to work with it. This is the thought about cases when designers give something to clients in a digital format without producing it in a physical form. I imagine how a client without any design work experience, without a brand manager and without a team which can clarify this idea, experience difficulties in adapting a design. I think that this is the criteria of a bad design when a person does not understand how he can use it for his purposes.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
This is responsibility when you give out something to people and they do not understand how to work with that. Your responsibility is consulting, assistance, giving hints. You should not just sell your product or your service. You must be responsible and be able to admit mistakes. This is the criteria of your social responsibility. Unfortunately, not all people can admit their mistakes, but there is no development without mistakes.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I think there is a strong demand for design in pandemic conditions. Not in the current pandemic peak conditions but later on when people realize that they will have to adjust to new conditions. When digital is the only form of presentation of your products and services, digital is hard to imagine without design. All areas of design are involved here: development and projecting. It is hard to get rid of the material world but there will be higher demand for digital design than before. There are pre-conditions for VR and AR development. It also uses artificial intelligence. Neural networks are something on the peak development, but I suppose there are more prospective developments which relate to design.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I never participated in exhibitions. I was a company representative on smaller markets which can be hardly called an exhibition. You may consider public spaces work an exhibition. It is more interesting to work with urban spaces since these works stay as art objects within the city. Essentially, they represent an exhibition of my works. They are spread around many cities.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
First source of inspiration is communication with people. Travel is the second one. This is also communication i.e. going deeper into different cultures and contexts. It all is kept in your brain, and at a certain moment it works as a trigger. The more information you get, the more active is your brain in establishing neural connections between seemingly different moments which you witnessed somewhere, heard about them, read about them or somebody told you about them. And this moment of integration of totally different ideas is inspiration.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I believe that I do not have any exact style, I am a multidisciplinary creative personality, not even a designer. I am always interested in technologies and manufacturing. I cannot avoid connecting design with manufacturing. I see a gap between those two. They must interact. That is why I am interested in various fields and related or even remotely related professions. Apart from art practices and design, you must be aware of the basics of architecture, urban science, sociology, psychology and art science.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
It is very often that I work with cultural codes representing the cultural heritage. Our country has a very serious generation gap. There were several gaps and it required time to develop new schools and new styles. Unfortunately, continuity was not saved. In this respect I feel more restrictions than inspiration. I feel some inspiration but from very old projects of 1920s and 1930s as well as those of 1960s to 1980s. This is the development of Soviet schools of monumental artists, architecture and many other things.
How do you work with companies?
This is quite simple. Companies are people. And we work with people in the first place. Now it is the Internet era, the epoque of remote interaction. But we try to involve and personally meet the companies’ managers who work with us on these projects. Word of mouth works very well, same people migrate from one company to another, and their experience follows them. They recall you when they have a task where you can be of assistance. The company has the case of cooperation with us. But I would like to point out the people with initiatives, able to offer something to companies, to become project authors. This is the most important thing.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
For me it is a serious problem. We have a team of people working in different areas. We have an understanding who possesses strengths in certain areas, and you refer to them directly. When working as a multidisciplinary designer with a company, I had to do a lot of things. On one hand, it is good. On the other hand, you are overloaded and you are unable to complete your work. New tasks come up. Anyway, it seems to me that taken our teal company strategy, these are self-organized groups. Our idea is that the team should be staffed depending on a task. You cannot just take one designer, artist or any other specialist and tell him: look, you will be doing this here, and there you will be doing totally different thing. The guy has certain strengths, you need to see them. Here you act like a tutor and you offer him something. Even if a person did not do this before, it is important to ask whether he wants to try it. If he does, you must create conditions, let him try. Maybe he can show himself in different fields. Sometimes he takes a position in a company just because this position seems the most comprehensible and most obvious one for him. But he can show himself as a specialist in other fields. I often met such people. You need to see their strengths and provide them with development opportunities.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I start with analytics and concept. If we talk about stages, there is pre-production, formulating of an idea, drafting budget documentation. Preparation takes a lot of time. Ideas show up fast, but pre-production is stretched in time. The production itself takes a short time, i.e. the implementation of a project. It consists of many parameters, but you already thought them of. There is a post-production stage where you put the cases together, publishing on the Internet etc. Application for competitions is also post-production. It is difficult to say where it starts and where it ends. It is also not clear where ideas come from. The more experience you have, the more spontaneous is the process. You get more excited by the process rather than torture yourself with one idea trying to implement it. You have to do everything gradually, then you won’t experience difficulties.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I love vintage items very much. When I travel, I always go to flee markets and get old things there. I do not know whether you can call these things designer items. I also have a lot of canvases by artists we work with. We try to collect their works and make it our first priority. So, the great number of author’s canvases and things I brought from my travels. I do not think it makes sense to point out exact things. There are some clothing items designed by us. We use them in our day-to-day work. We also have collaborations with artists, all these improvisations which are interesting because of this spontaneity. We have the jersey shirt of Argentinian team from the FIFA World Cup. At that moment these shirts were not yet officially on sale. Somehow, we got this exclusive item. We framed it and put it on the wall. Unfortunately, it does not have Messi’s or somebody else’s autograph on it. It was initiated by the city municipality. It was nice to get such an exclusive gift. These artefacts fill in any space where we work. It is very interesting because these things animate the space.
Can you describe a day in your life?
You always have a lot of routines. Roughly, a year is divided into two seasons: summer season from April to September, the key concentration of production projects, self-realization. You move a lot from region to region, from city to city adapting to each new situation. In winters your mode is more settled, you start to work on new projects and ideas, deal with things you had no time for before. You cannot avoid routines; they are part of any process. You need to make it your habit. Working with documents distracts you a bit and it helps because before when you lacked experience you started your morning with surfing professional groups in social media, you follow other people’s work. It took a lot of time, you tried to get a note board either for your current tasks or just for inspiration. Now I do not need it. There are a lot of different tasks, you are deep into permanent thinking process. There is no point of loading yourself with some extra ideas. But there is another part – to watch and to monitor what is happening in the world in terms of trends, what solutions do other guys find, whether they are from your field or the fields close to yours. Information is a very strong tool for a designer. It comes up when you need it. Maybe the brain works like this: it activates when you realize, aha! This is the solution. I can compare myself with mathematicians when they have their insights. If you do not know a solution for something, this means that you lack information about the task, about the object, you have not analyzed the situation. If we talk about production, communication is what makes me excited and happy. Sometimes it is useful to switch to other tasks, to work with figures, do some analytics. It is important to see the results in figures. It can be profit margins for a certain project, how many projects you have completed, budgeting a project may also be rather interesting. You need to know how to develop tools which will eventually optimize your time and to have an ability for forecasting, to develop tools for your future projects in order to be less involved in routines
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
You need to learn to work with people. People are different. At least they are divided into introverts and extraverts. Even in a smaller company you have to take into account specific traits of character of different people. Sometimes it is even funny. When you are on a business trip somewhere and you distribute the rooms – somebody snores, somebody is a vegetarian, somebody follows the religious lent. This is the reality we experience now at our current project. And it is complicated, you need to be a psychologist, you must see what is going on around you. This relates to organizational issues. Anyway, the key issue here is a person’s responsibility for the work done. You cannot come to somebody else’s space, do something there and will not be held responsible for that. You have to have conscious attitude to the project and be responsible for that.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
I think that can be related to negative trait – young designer is always a maximalist. He tries to change everything around him even if nobody asks for his opinion. When he grows up professionally, he realizes that it is impossible to change everything around you. But this power to change something as a designer is still in place. This is such an ephemeral tool that you cannot feel it originally. But it allows you to change something. This changes with experience, this changes with technological development. Designer always has a perspective because he depends on many external factors and can always develop. There is no such thing as an upper development limit.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
It can be related to my slogan: ‘deeper roots, stronger branches’. It is reflected in my role model character and defines the essence of my approach.
What skills are most important for a designer?
You gain professional skills through practice. You learn from more experienced people and you improve your technical and professional skills. Values possessed by a person are important as well as meanings he inputs in his work.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
The main one we use is Adobe Creative Cloud including Photoshop and Illustrator. There are others which allow to structure projects, manage projects. Mostly this is some basic office tools. Google Drive for data storage. Each software is used for certain tasks. Pictures on Google Photo. For our production we mostly need handwork. Software is just a tool allowing access to documents and files from any point, send and receive them. It is also necessary, it simplifies everything. But mostly our work involves handwork. We use minimum equipment, like aerial devices for working on high objects, different painting devices like compressors. We have the team of industrial climbers using more extended equipment - lifting devices, safety ropes. Paintbrushes and painting rollers mostly, spray paint was a key element in our culture. But many of us leave it behind while growing up. Now we use façade and exterior paints which allow to produce more picturesque works. They are smoother and better fit the landscape.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Yes, it is so. From the moment of the first client’s request, the first idea to the end of the project it is difficult to set up an exact time frame. Many processes follow one another, and something happens to them all the time. It is important to set priorities, define those niches where it is interesting to work and build a short-term development strategy basing on that and move in that direction. Then you have more time. It is important to be able to reject projects if you understand that they will be time-consuming, but you will gain nothing as a specialist. Designer’s function is to assist a client, but self-education and professional growth are of equal importance. Many designers to not change their field because they get used to it.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It differs, there are very short-term projects, you have to create something overnight to implement a project next day. These are spontaneous projects; they are normally related to some events in the city or at the location. And there are some very long-term projects, from 6 months to 2 years, these were the longest projects. Pre-production takes huge amount of time, working with documentation and budgets, everything that precedes signing of a contract and payments. The implementation itself takes the shortest time. Pre-production and post-production take much longer. You have to be able to book time for that.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
The questions asked about my artistic practices are the same throughout the years: how much time and paint you spent, what was your original idea, do people like it and these literal things. Very rarely people get deep into the processes and (however strange it seems) ask questions about how my concept was reflected. If there is a meeting or any other communication and you are able to share things, people start seeing my work differently.
What was your most important job experience?
It is difficult to say. Experience is important, practices of interaction with professionals from other areas is important. It is always interesting to work with people from other areas because you can learn a lot from them. Since we have professional climbers, artists, photographers, videographers working with us, all of them can be called artists, but areas of their business are totally different. Now we have come to the project of making a documentary. We never did that before, and it is always interesting to learn something new.
Who are some of your clients?
When I was a designer employed by a company, I worked with Nike, Adidas, Kidzania, Gett. Among most recent – a large number of municipalities, we are friends with a lot of mayors’ offices because urban projects are our major. Also, different brands work with us like MegaMall, IKEA. There are less renowned but very interesting clients like Drop, Senezh (the tower project), Artek kids camp, we also had Moscow Zoo. These are just those whom I can recall immediately. There are many more of them and I do not even remember some of them.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I like both to develop ideas and implement them. I like when there is some practical application of these projects, i.e. thinking about functionality of things. This includes art projects, industrial design, brand development, I like all these in complex. I like projects where you cannot define that this is just one design category. Many categories of design, architecture and research part are included in one project. That’s the interesting part of them, because you cannot select the most efficient tool set without going deep into a project. Here you start to include various specialists because you understand that in integrity this project will be much more interesting and comprehensible for most of the public. That is why we always invite photographers and try to make videos since they reflect some internal processes seen only after implementation of a project.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
We have this story with a festival tour, we have a full presentation of this project. Unfortunately, we cannot make it for the second year in a row. This season we should have travelled through several cities, including foreign countries with some participants. But in the meantime, we have difficulties related to travel restrictions due to pandemic. We have enough work to do but we are desperate to implement such format because it presumes going deep into different cultures and contexts. Using this road show format, we want to tell about metamorphosis happening when you get into different situations. I really hope that this project will be financed, we will have cool partners and we will be able to implement this project globally. When the project was developed, we planned to cross Russia from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg and then we will cross Europe from Portugal to Belarus. This amount to approximately 40 000 km. This is a symbiosis of a journey, practices, painting and pure fun.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
Most often we work as a team. We tailor teams for specific projects. Every time there are different participants involved in a project. I develop some projects myself, some of them are developed in collaborations. When you come to the starting point of a project, you realize that you will not be doing it just by yourself, you need other people for project implementation. But sometimes I want to do some work for myself. That is how I made the prints for clothes, and they have become gifts for the people I work with, I can give it as a gift.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Now we are in the project for two weeks already. The project has been being prepared for the last 6 months. It means that we start preparing for 2020 season as early as at the end of 2019, and it happens every year. Currently it is a project called Memorandum dedicated to 75th anniversary of the Victory in WWII. In fact, this is just the first part of a big urban project. It consists of three full-time festivals with participation of international colleagues. The projects presume participation of the local people. We are just starting to facilitate these projects. The interest is growing. But we cannot make the tour format. We already have key points where we will travel further. Anyway, we want to implement this festival tour. When we are finished in this town, we will leave for another one or another country. If it gets cold, we will head south and settle there at some art residence and we will do something there. We want to implement such a project very much. There are certain hints that we can do it. We had to update the initial idea and adjust to the current situation in the world.
How can people contact you?
We are quite transparent. We are modifying our website. But other contacts are available. The easiest way to contact us is via email. One of the platforms where we present the extended portfolio is Behance. Supernova.net is our major account in all social media. You can easily find any of our contacts there. We always react very promptly.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
Since it was of first experience of participating in competitions, moreover, in international ones, and we did not count on any award or even nomination. We just wanted to present ourselves because you realize that you are doing something important, but you cannot always share it, you do not always have time for that. Festivals and competitions formats are optimal solutions for translation of your ideas, projects and skills. This is concentration of all experience you gained throughout the years. It is clear that it takes a long way to go. I have been doing street art for 20 years

Extended Interview with Dmitry Kudinov

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I am a self-educated designer. I never studied design within a formal education. I have a technical education as medical equipment engineer. It helps me to look at design projects from an engineering point of view as they always have some technical issues. You need to combine creative thinking with a pragmatic point of view. You should understand how it works and which tools and technologies you have to use to achieve a desired result. I started feeling myself as a designer in 2008. Then I worked at the factory as control and measuring systems specialist. I moved to Kazan immediately after my army service. I got a job at Kazan Orgsintez chemical factory. That was a year of economic uncertainty in the country. These were hard times in terms of finding a job. My friend worked at that factory. That was not his free will also, it was a necessity. So, I got a job there, but I realized that it is temporary. At nights I started to study graphic software. I started working on my first customer orders, I usually got them from the people I knew. The number of orders grew incrementally, I had less and less free time because my work schedule did not allow for that. Mostly I worked at nights and I learned things through practice. I did not get any formal education, but through trial and error I studied various cases, tried to figure out how it happens, what you must do to achieve certain results. After a year of working at the factory I realized that I wanted to work as a designer – that was my dream at that time. With a help of a girl I knew I got a job with my first design studio. That was not the best place to work. The company managed to stay in business for 8 months only. However, working in a team allows you to learn some other things. These guys had their own approach, kind of a dim vision and I did not like it much. However, I had succeeded in implementing my own ideas. The criteria of success and quality for me was when my ideas were implemented without any amendments. After these 8 months, having realized that I would not work there anymore, me and the guys from this company organized our own business. We rented an office and moved there. We were kind of a self-organized freelance group. But that was not enough for me. Through the social media I learned about an open position in Kazan with a design studio. It was a funny situation at the job interview when I was asked, who is an authority for me. Actually, I had not done any prep for that interview. I said that I try to stay away from authority and have my own opinion. Probably this played a certain role and I had been hired. It was difficult at the beginning because they had different rules of the game. Design level was more serious, and I had to adjust myself. Once I was even at the point of being fired but I managed to perform well and showed myself within one project. And I worked there for a long time. But I went on doing street art stuff part time. I believe that these two fields have something in common anyway. I started getting orders. So, I showed up in that company as a street artist, asked my friend to join it as an illustrator. The two of us started to offer not only graphic design ideas but also projects related to urban territory improvement. The first projects showed up, including larger ones but still on a local level. Later on, I resigned from that company and worked freelance for a long time studying totally different areas. I had functionality of both a designer and a manager, sometimes even a PR manager and art director. The clients represented diverse industries, and this allowed to work not only on a single project or several projects at the same time. This also brought a skill to adjust yourself to different tasks. Flexibility helped a lot in this respect – I worked with clothing design, clothing prints, the tasks were totally different. What I did not like about the graphic design at that time was the lack of a physical result. I just wanted to touch my work, hold it in my hands. I realized that the problem of the most of young designers is the inability of being responsible for the result. They produce some pictures, and a client must do something with them. I was not satisfied at all with this impracticability of graphic design. I was searching for similar areas where I could apply my skills. So, I worked in Flash programming and animation, performed the roles of an illustrator, graphic designer, web designer – I tried most of the key fields of design. I had this desire to produce something functional that you can hold in your hands, where you can work on your mistakes and show it to the people. So, I started visiting industrial facilities, asking questions about how it worked, why this was impossible to implement and how this problem could be solved. Creative thinking is linking an original idea to functionality. You cannot universally adapt any idea. You always need to realize how it will be used at the end. Therefore, there should be a specific technology related to certain tasks. There is a huge gap between designers and technologists, and I saw it myself when people having profoundly serious equipment at their disposal did not realize the whole range of its application in practice. Step by step I started to learn what was it and how it worked and what were the limits. Having learned that I realized the technological aspects, too. After a freelance period, I started developing artistic practices remotely. I painted something as a hobby or just for an extra money. At a certain point I started focusing on larger art objects and projects which I wanted to implement. I have realized then that the graphic design per se has become just a tool for me. Artistic practices are a transfer process and design is a visualization tool. Design itself is not a result. I got the first larger clients and then I was invited to become a Development Director in Moscow. That was the first graffiti agency with development plans in Moscow but there were difficulties. At that moment I felt the gap between creative and businesspeople. Creative people, being impulsive and emotional, hardly realize that business is built on some basic business processes. In this case I worked simultaneously as Business Development Manager as well being responsible for the approach to projects. I produced a lot of sketches made either by me or by some of the artists. That became a symbiosis, we found a certain niche where all these skills made sense. You do some hands-on job and you understand how it will be done. You must originally build your thinking about designs and visual range and other technical issues basing on these limits, i.e. how it will be made and produced, how it will relate to the whole architecture of the object and corporate style of a client. We started getting major brands as clients, e.g. Kidzania. That was a project in Mexico, a professions town for kids, we decorated one of the walls. Also, Adidas, Nike, Gett. Moscow gives more opportunities for working with multinational brands. Although you do a small part for them, but you understand how they work. But very soon I reached the upper limit because it is very difficult to work being a company employed designer. I left that company and me and my wife established our own company targeted at urban projects. Any other projects being more closed, were less interesting. I wanted to work with urban space and integrate my work in it. Currently I work as an Art Director or Creative Director, although it is difficult to name it since I do not want to use any clichés. Here the line between work and hobby has been totally washed out because originally you come up with an idea and share it. You formulate the task for yourself, you do not have an actual client. You define conditions where you will be willing to do it. And you put forward a full-scale elaborate project which can be implemented. That is how we worked at FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, next year we worked for FIFA World Cup 2018. From smaller and interesting clients, we came to author projects. Currently we deal with festival programs related to street art and urban art, practices of people involvement in projects implementation. My interests have changed slightly because it became interesting to work not only with contexts but culture codes as well. People started to entrust extremely complicated historical objects to us because we managed to harmoniously integrate our works in them. Our work should not look as an alien element but be integrated harmoniously into architecture and context and be comprehensible by broader audience. Talking about the Tower project, this is exactly the project representing high degree of trust. We did not need any approvals. We worked with this client before at Artek kids camp. We had a joint project with Bosco. Director of Artek communicated with us, he has been watching the whole process. And Senezh Management Workshop is also his project. He started to integrate us street artists step by step. The trust level was remarkably high and the job itself was very interesting. Currently I would like to be involved more in artistic activities, sometimes I manage to do it.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Initially it was as with many young maximalist people – a desire to change the world. You want to do something, and every person finds a path to change the circumstances around. Eventually you come to understanding that you need to change yourself first, then your circle changes. And if your work means something at some location within certain context, your social behavior starts to change. And this is what supports my interest – design is still an instrument for visualization and presentation of the projects as well as their preparation. I have not been doing graphic design for quite a while. But it is still a tool set which allows you to be multidisciplinary. The more knowledge and skills you have, the higher is your professionalism. This helps in my work, as well as my technical education provides broader understanding of all processes.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
That was my voluntary decision to choose this path. I faced a lot of difficulties, especially when being a freelancer when you have to be a manager, an art director, a sales manager as well as a designer at the same time. You do a lot of stuff apart from you designer work. If I did not like it and if it was not my own desire, it would be easier to quit it.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I tried the vast number of design areas. I started in graphic design mostly presented by publishing, that was the most common demand from the clients. Then I dealt with illustrations for Flash and we did some Flash animation, but I lost interest in that really quick. Then I produced printmaking for clothes and silk graphics for smaller scale and small production volumes works. I had certain interest in branding, not only identity development, but going from task setting to the result. But all these works did not give the feeling of a result. I did not realize how my work is perceived by consumers. I had some business cards printing and other publishing services, but I wanted to do something more functional and significant. All these related areas have been uniting in one within the framework of branding. But later I turned to more large-scale projects, that was my conscious decision. That was a serious and complicated step to take. In this situation you start to think on behalf of a huge number of people. You have to perceive everything through a new vision. Here everything is more sophisticated. You gain social projecting skills as well sociology, psychology, culturology and art studies. Everything related to art is combined within large-scale urban projects. Currently I have an opportunity to implement festival projects related to street art. I would like to go deeper into urbanistic studies and deal with more sophisticated social projecting and introduce participative practices. These are practices involving the community and the people. We do have them but not of such a large volume. I am also interested in installations. Maybe when I get older I will think about sculpture and larger volume things.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
You need to look at things not only from your point of view but from the point of view of other people. You should focus on functionality of the things that you do. There are certain areas which are related to phantasy and do not exist, like digital which you cannot touch and feel. But still there are some criteria like consumer experience which shows the quality of a design. Try things, unite with more experienced people because it is through communicating with them you become a better specialist. You learn much more from practice. Theory is also required, and you can advance in theory. Practice without theory can exist and theory without practice cannot.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I think it is consciousness and responsibility for a result. I came across a lot of people being good designers and they let their customers go with nothing but mockups. It is important to complete your work, to help implement something. Here I am talking about some customer related tasks. I think that within each company you should bring projects to final results and share the final result. It is very important to hold a pilot project in your hands, have a look at disadvantages because they are always there. You cannot do everything perfectly from the first time. Great designers understand that. In order to produce a great result, you have to go through seven interim results. This is my practical experience of industrial design. In order to produce a more or less functional products taking into consideration all issues, you need to produce pilot projects, have a closer look at it, improve it. You set your quality criteria for yourself all right. But if you have responsibilities in front of a large number of people, you must realize that you have to take their demands into account.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
You set your own criteria, but you must consider the vision of all parties involved. To be more precise, first, you collect information, you should understand what you do and whom for, what is the expected result, at least approximately. Basing on information gathered, you set evaluation criteria, whether this design is good or not. Does the project solve tasks set initially or you declined from the initial direction? Here you should keep a balance between an ideal, practicality and other criteria. This balance and harmony are the features of a great design.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
These are more or less similar questions. The value is the fact that people use it. Practical usability is the value. Which tasks are solved for a consumer, for target audience? Do they really understand that? Nobody will use a beautiful thing if it is not functional, if it is not adapted or updated in accordance with different target groups requirements. Of course, there are groups of various ages: kids, adults, seniors. They have totally different perception of the scale of one room, for example, or the scale of a city. It is important to understand your target audience. The value is often transmitted through a consumer.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
Difficult to say, maybe some new formats like we do now – decorating of a military aircraft. It is interesting to travel and work with international colleagues in international projects. The international festival format is extremely interesting. We planned one this year but due to the pandemic it has a big question mark on it. Gathering a community from different countries and with various backgrounds is cool because it could be a trampoline for the young. You can compare them within one project to provide growth. Experience is transferred by such festival programs.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
Of course, I am interested in some planetary scale projects, there are projects reaching out of the stratosphere. Doing something with satellites, international space stations. This could be super cool. Take Ilon Mask and his Tesla in space, it is reaching out of our planet. These are people not limited by some local events. Such projects, not necessarily successful, motivate other people to do something.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
This is again about the same thing. The recipe is quite simple, consciousness from the very beginning when you approach a project not knowing yet whether it will suit you or not. If I may use such a word – delvability, how deep you get into the project. This relates directly to production. And responsibility for the result, responsibility for the people who will use it. In our area you come, you do the project and it either ceases its existence or you never come back to that location. But people will go on living with it. These three steps will let you do something comprehensible by other people.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
As I said, there are no such people. I am more on the artistic practices side. There are several artists I do like. I would not say that they are icons for me, just as you grow you follow one or another. There are some things totally incomprehensible today, but tomorrow you will discover this author anew. There are certain works and projects which as good wine need time to become good. That I think a genius is all about – an ability to look forward and create something that will be actual for a long time. I don’t even know some designers by names, I know the products.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
There are good TV Shows about design, for instance, Design Geniuses or Abstract: The Art Of Design. 2 seasons are already released and there are very interesting architects and designers. I am always surprised that foreign specialists of these professions are older. I think that relates to continuity and taste learned through generations. Our political situation here in Russia is slightly different, and the generation gap is significant. I would not point out somebody individually, there are very serious schools and you try to follow the whole variety of them. I am always impressed by Japanese engravings, Japanese culture and Japanese design. Sometimes it is even psychedelic. But that gives them authenticity.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
Currently we plan a major festival in a public art format dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the World War II. This is a very tragic topic for many people. This is the project of the heritage of this day for new generations. We try to show what this date means from the point of view of modern generations without touching the war theme but talking about culture, life continuity. Very deep meanings are the heritage of this project. This project will be implemented in three stages. The second stage will be international in the format of Murrell Fest. The third stage will be a land art festival. On each level we interact with totally different groups of people and we expect maximum involvement. On the third stage people will know what to expect, and we will produce eco-sculptures to be installed in town. They will be involved in the creation process; people will be authors of these works. These are the projects we target involving the community and we solve several tasks simultaneously. Our task as an art embassy is to find these connections between different groups and provide the best conditions for everybody. The city has its own tasks, its inhabitants have other ones, and the target groups have the third group of tasks. Sponsors’ involvement should be most delicate without literal promotion and pushy attitude.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
The best projects are festival programs and interaction with large number of people because the main quality criteria is changing people’s thinking, and I do not mean participants only. It is great when you can bring a lot of international participants. This includes very intense communication for a week or two. What changes in people is their understanding of the scale and the fact that their initiative can change their cities. This is the idea we try to promote within such big projects. It looks like when you come from a small town, nobody notices you, but in fact if you have a good idea (although maybe you cannot present it properly) you need to find people who will help you to carry your message. Communication is a very important component. Changing of thinking takes place. Most prominent names, as I see, come from the small towns lacking the prosperity of world capitals. And only then, when you reach a certain level you get an opportunity to travel, to communicate with other people. This is a very serious push you can get.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
Difficult to say, because currently I do what I want to do. Nobody says: you are a designer and do design only. I do my own projects and I have absolute freedom to do whatever I want to do. I am interested in development of environmental projects, projects for smaller groups or for groups of disabled people, more socially oriented projects, organize tours, do design of eco-clothing. These projects are already in place and I do them. They can be called designer’s work but also a sociologist’s work. Works of a citizen with initiative and creative approach to any problem, who offers a solution. It is not enough to criticize; you have to offer something. If you have designer skills, excellent, you can also be a great communicator or manager and create other projects not related to design. Travel is one of the most needed elements. Remote access via Internet does not provide with an understanding of what is going on. Travel is also part of work. You absorb aesthetics of other cities and other countries of the world. This is some kind of a permanent social study. You go deeper into urbanistic of other cities. You try to remember some solutions, and it is a very strong push. These are related professions that you have to be involved in.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is a process in the first place, not a result. When people say, hey, that’s a cool design, looking at something. It seems to me that they talk about the process itself, how designer approached his task and solved it. This is some kind of modification. Designs may vary for the same thing or product; design might be totally different. Essentially, it is a process of modifying a thing. For instance, we can talk about bicycles. There were times when bicycles had a big front wheel and a smaller back one. There are monocycles, there are classic bicycles, road bicycles, tandems etc. You can unite all these under one category, but they are different, targeted for different audiences and different functions. Design is an application tool which modifies something in process.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
First thing is self-criticism. This is an everlasting mental process. It obviously depends on external factors: what is your mood, where are you, what influences you at the moment. Changing locations can have a great influence. And the second thing, equally important, are people around you. They affect you a lot as personality, and your vision of the world changes dramatically. Family, relatives, friends are those people who influence you in the first place. As sociologists and psychologists say, 50% of a person’s views depends on internal factors, 25% - on people around him and 25% - on the way he was brought up. If you summarize people around you and your upbringing, you get 50%.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I do not consider myself an outstanding designer. Context helps – where are you, which tasks are you solving, what are your priorities, these are important things. Many designers have a lot of projects, some sort of diffusion occurs, you do not know what to do. You should concentrate on some interim goal. You cannot reach your ideal immediately. You should reach it through interim goals and tasks. Every time you take the step up, you work on your mistakes and you move forward. Each project may have a different team, it also affects the final result. Your travels, aesthetics that you see also leaves strong impressions, consciously or sub-consciously, this is very visible. The thing that should be mentioned separately is a quality of your tool set. Most professionals already do not care what do they work with, they understand how things are done. But if you just start to learn something, it is very important to have quality materials and tools at your disposal. It rids of many problems which you can face.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
There are always obstacles and limitations. You lack knowledge in a certain field, you don’t have time, which happens most frequently, you have insufficient budget for implementation of all your ideas. This happens incrementally, there are no revolutions here. It always happens gradually. It is important to overcome these problems and difficulties. And when you look back you realize that these problems which seemed to be global and unsolvable, after several years are typical and trivial. You will have experience to step over them without even noticing. The transfer from a hobby to profession, your craftsmanship is very complicated. It is very important to set a goal for the next 6 months. You must select those areas which are favorable for you, learn those skills that will help you to reach this point. This is professional growth. These areas may change every 6 months. Being multidisciplinary with lead you to singularity of your experience and skills. You will know much more and will have varied approaches: as an engineer, as a designer, as an artist, as a consumer of this product. It does not matter who are you now, you have all opportunities to try something new and look at it from the new standpoint.
How do you think designers should present their work?
I can share my own experience. When I was just learning to do it, I was surprised how immaculately the projects are presented, especially in publications on Behance. Only later on I found out that there are tools which allow to do it for you like mockups. These are templates integrated in your design, and it looks good. It seemed to me then that this is some kind of a limited edition. It was beautifully packed and posted, and I try to keep up with these standards. I try to transform any design into something physical. Not leaving it in a digital form in a presentation but trying to convert it from digital to physical form. Then you can take a picture of it, invite a photographer, a model, other experts. This is the fun part of it. The excitement you get when you work on and on with this product. Taking pictures of it, obviously it takes more time. This is what good designer’s fee depends upon. He does much more than just a mockup. He is responsible for a result and he is interested in finalizing the product.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I have been having this idea for years – a festival tour. I want to have a journey in a good company, with good people and produce author works worldwide. Have a look myself but also give other guys an opportunity to show their author works. In the meantime, this idea has been growing for years. Eventually, I want to move into more sophisticated areas, become a full-scale author, work on your own philosophy, develop your own author projects. And maybe, the architectural work is not too far away. I am not a sculptor but as a designer you still think about development in these areas.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
The purpose is to manage current tasks and possibilities with maximum efficiency. You have to leave space for improvisation because it is very interesting because something has to be changed during the process. The morphology of initial idea changes into something else, this change is attractive. You never guess ahead, you never know what will come up, this is what is interesting. You can compare it with expressionism in painting. You have these feelings now and something works during the process.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
When there is trust, people expect something basing on your portfolio and your works. It becomes clear what to expect, what is your approach. Quite often you have to tell them how you solved one task or another but this tension existing at the starting stage goes away because when I show that I am involved deeply in their project, asking their expert opinion in their field. You need to ask people and they see that you are a kind of intermediary between their ideas (which sometimes cannot be presented by them clearly), you have to catch the essence, process it and implement. In this case this trust stays in place. That brings loyalty from the client. People expect certain experience, certain adventure which will happen during the process.
How does design help create a better society?
That is exactly the purpose of any of our projects – to change the views and behavior of people. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are some adverse projects and the rhetorical question comes up – do we need to do it here or maybe we can help people in some other way? But then you recall that culture connects all fundamental areas of life. If you don’t have culture, it is complicated to say, who is this person. Identity of a person is shaped by the culture, predecessors’ experience etc. When you hear them and realize that people initially do not know what they want, and they are used to live in the reality they have. And you say: let’s try this and you will see the result. And they start finding answer to the question you ask. Through interaction with new people, through communication they start to formulate initiatives around your project. We had experience when tourist routes were built. Other people start to involve more people and share what it was, how it was done. They become mentors for us. And it is interesting how your project affects other people’s behavior.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I get most excited by the process, i.e. the process is related to communication with different people that is, as I said, what is necessary for young designers. They are driven by that. There are requests from other people, from abroad to participate in our projects. This is very cool; we are always happy about it. Creating conditions for them causes some kind of social euphoria. Maybe this is what makes it interesting. Yes, we will have a result. It will be used after us. The process of communication and sharing experiences brings you that drive. You do not speak for other people, you give them an opportunity to speak. Then they will create something interesting. You just direct them as a tutor. This is basically what our work is all about.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
There are some small local projects. We had this city quest project. There were certain marks around town. It was called a Hunting Season project. People ran around, took pictures. That was very epic. It was funny to watch it because people who were hopeless won and got something. The prizes were very interesting, and this involvement was very interesting. Another project was for a big festival in Moscow which is held every summer. We hired people who themselves attracted crowds of people. We had huge number of people visiting our location. We dropped souvenirs on parachutes. Within two days we distributed 400 souvenir boxes, that was great. Here is where the client’s trust contributes to you as well as solves their tasks. People do not see any limits, they just enter the friendly environment where they can offer their own ideas or participate in one of the stages. Such interesting things do happen.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
This is the time when design becomes a mentor when people are isolated from each other. Design must be the connecting tool. Appearance of teleconferences, online formats, online events. You cannot do it without design. Designers must realize the whole responsibility which is currently upon them. Design must be comprehensible by a great number of people. Probably this will influence the processes one way or another. There will be more workplaces. There are more requests for different kinds of design. It will be on the edge of what is happening.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
It turns out that there will be multidisciplinary areas in science, technology and design. It is already difficult to say: I am that type of a designer. Synergy of different areas happens. It leads to something common. It will not be enough to know one of the areas. Roughly, if we take nanotechnology and biomedicine, when the new prosthesis shows up on the market being a combination of science, design and medicine. There are more examples like this and looks like everything goes to being multidisciplinary.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
The concept itself appears very fast because you are always in different context and perceive and read some new information. Having loaded it into your head, you start having new ideas, very different ones. That is what I meant when I spoke about improvisation. I say: let’s do it like this. Or: let’s change this, let’s relocate these things and this will make the whole story totally different.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I start with analytics and concept. If we talk about stages, there is pre-production, formulating of an idea, drafting budget documentation. Preparation takes a lot of time. Ideas show up fast, but pre-production is stretched in time. The production itself takes a short time, i.e. the implementation of a project. It consists of many parameters, but you already thought them of. There is a post-production stage where you put the cases together, publishing on the Internet etc. Application for competitions is also post-production. It is difficult to say where it starts and where it ends. It is also not clear where ideas come from. The more experience you have, the more spontaneous is the process. You get more excited by the process rather than torture yourself with one idea trying to implement it. You have to do everything gradually, then you won’t experience difficulties.
What is your life motto as a designer?
I have done personal branding and for me personally the Ronin character, a samurai without a master, it has several meanings. This image reflects me perfectly. There is an illustration with this character and there is a slogan saying ‘deeper roots, stronger branches’. This is about what I was talking about. You need to go deeper, analyze and understand your responsibility. This short slogan covers it all.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
It happens both ways. There are different approaches to design. There is an event driven design. Here the trend creates the design. Not necessarily for good, but this happens, you cannot deny it. Designers also influence much, from generation to generation. There is no such thing as something appeared from nothing. Therefore, any trend is some experience, reference, inspiration obtained from other projects, being processed. This continuity of generations is very important.
What is the role of technology when you design?
I have realized that we do not use the technology directly. Of course, there are certain technologies of transferring images, for instance. Most of all, materials manufacturing technology influences us. Quality of materials matters. New materials show up, tools that make your work easier. In this respect it increases speed and quality of our work. The tool set and set of quality materials are sets of advanced technologies used by producers.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
The main one we use is Adobe Creative Cloud including Photoshop and Illustrator. There are others which allow to structure projects, manage projects. Mostly this is some basic office tools. Google Drive for data storage. Each software is used for certain tasks. Pictures on Google Photo. For our production we mostly need handwork. Software is just a tool allowing access to documents and files from any point, send and receive them. It is also necessary, it simplifies everything. But mostly our work involves handwork. We use minimum equipment, like aerial devices for working on high objects, different painting devices like compressors. We have the team of industrial climbers using more extended equipment - lifting devices, safety ropes. Paintbrushes and painting rollers mostly, spray paint was a key element in our culture. But many of us leave it behind while growing up. Now we use faсade and exterior paints which allow to produce more picturesque works. They are smoother and better fit the landscape.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
These are basic things. Working with colors is one of the aspects which lets me understand the quality of a person’s work. Working with architecture – how far a person sees beyond the borders of his canvas. How can he perceive the environment as a tip. What should be done here and with which colors. Quality materials provide quality product. The product will live longer. Color is a major requirement for environment. And the environment gives you key hints: where it is located, how it is used now, do we need to change people’s behavior within that space. This issue can be resolved with the help of artistic projects.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
I always hear questions about my projects, quite trivial ones. I want to hear a fresh question and think: why I have not asked this question myself?
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
There is an immediate interest: how is it done? What is it and what is it for? There are questions that you cannot answer from the very beginning. Let me give you an example: there is a fountain in Czech Republic, a rotating layers sculpture of Kafka’s head. As a designer you start to analyze such projects in detail. You try to find out the essence, how was it done and what for? You want to dig deeper and answer your questions. If something is unfamiliar to you, you try to figure out the terminology. The more background information you get, the more practice you get for your thinking and your approach to your projects. And you also think, if you had such a project, what would be your approach? What would you offer? Certain fantasy that brings you some thoughts or ideas about your projects. And you immediately have your own ideas, not about creating a replica but just like ‘it would be interesting to do it like that’. And if you think about these issues ideas of new projects come up. And this is cool.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I do believe in joint design. There is a point of growth here. Various collaborations are interesting. For me my wife is an ideal partner. She stops me when necessary, gives me tips, her constructive criticism is always useful.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
No matter how banal it may sound, it was my parents, most probably. Because a lot depends on the way you were brought up. Teaching taste does not occur momentarily. It is a very long process. When you are a kid, you do not choose things, you do not choose your house interior. Your parents do it for you. I always liked the fact that I was always asked whether I want it or not. If that related to me, I was definitely asked this question. And I had an understanding whether I wanted it or not. I could not deny my responsibility and claim that it was somebody else’s choice. That was my decision and that is how I was taught responsibility through this simple question. When we talk about new project with a new client, of course, the initial information carriers’ opinion has its influence. You must comprehend them and process this information. They apply to you because you have certain philosophy and strategy of doing each project. That is why my interaction with a client is related to that as well as my education. Your upbringing is your keystone telling you where to go as well as things like ‘you’d better reject this project, it does not match with your values’. The values you have are the deep criteria for evaluating situation as a whole and whether you want to do it or not.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Before I read more of professional literature. Not too much, but I read about presentations, about colors. The books written by the classics of advertisement and design. Later it has become less of a priority. I think that fiction, mostly science fiction brought me those dreams about something big. SciFi is always built around some developing technology or they develop certain ideas. And this thinking, how much do you believe in what is written there although you understand that it does not exist. It influences you on a subconscious level.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
I have developed my skills mostly from practice. I do not have special education, therefore I always started doing something and then improved my theoretical knowledge. As far as the art history is concerned, for instance, I am still a newbie there although it relates to me directly. But I am not too proficient in that. I try to go deeper in that and look at it through time. The things that I do – maybe somebody has already done it. How was it done? Considering time related amendments, you look at other people’s experience. Practice is still the most exciting thing to do.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I immediately remembered Nikola Tesla. The person living in seclusion. A very mysterious person, you want to find out more about him but cannot understand whether it is a phantasy or reality. I do not know how strong was his influence. There are other people, too. I am a very big fan of astronomy as an amateur. I was always very interested in films about astronomers. Carl Sagan, for instance. It was interesting to follow Neil DeGrasse Tyson. It is important that these people can present information. Nikola Tesla is a mythical character and you cannot say something definite about him. And this is what attracts me to him. Among the people living – Banksy, the street artist. I would not call myself a big fan of his, but I am interested in his development strategy. How he balances on that line between society and art.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I do have a nice feeling about the award. I have come across such situations related to my projects. There is always some interest to my projects from mass media, and that is a part of my work, too. You get used to it to a certain extent. The perspectives arising are much more exciting and inspiring. You start thinking: what will this award give me? Not necessarily now, but maybe in a year, or five, or ten years. You already have this experience when you get an interesting project and you start investigating where does it come from and it turns out that the source was one of the smaller projects. The award is a kind of a trigger for circumstances to occur in the future.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
45.My favorite places are Barcelona, Spain and Cintra, Portugal, Switzerland as a whole. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to see Matterhorn. But that makes this place worth coming back to. Tastes change, because quite recently I have become a vegetarian. In the meantime, the colors which are in our corporate style are my favorite. Sometimes you get tired from something, it is called accommodation, adjustment of a living organism to permanent stimulus. That comes from my professional education as medical equipment engineer. And I believe similar accommodation exists in the society. People get adjusted to all things, both good and bad. And that is why the purpose of our projects is to shake them up a little bit to have another look and perceive things not only literally. I like abstractions because they are more diverse, you can interpret them differently. This comes overtime. At a certain level you do not understand it, try to sort it out and discover the world being incomprehensible before.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
46.It happened during FIFA 2018 Football World Cup in the city of Kazan. Our proposal to paint portraits of the football players on the walls was supported by the city. Initially we did it for the Confederations Cup in 2017. Our work received a huge coverage. I did not know why but that was a hit. That was a portrait of Cristiano Ronaldo painted before the Portuguese team arrival for the Confederations Cup. The idea was supported the next year, and we started to paint football superstars who came to Kazan. These included Messi, Neymar, Modric. And people started to notice a rule: those teams whose captains were painted, lost their games and left the Cup. It looked like a very precise prognosis. People started calling it ‘a cursed graffiti’. It was not a graffiti, but paintings on the wall but people saw certain connection. We painted Neymar’s portrait in front of the hotel where the team stayed. We were almost finished, we were standing on the balcony of the hotel and saw Neymar himself looking out of the window. We asked him: Is that you, Neymar? He said ‘yes’. We asked him whether we can make a video. He agreed. He could not leave the room, so he sent his cameraman and the photographer to us. These guys were professionals accompanying team Brazil. They made the final photos, made a video for the team’s YouTube channel. That was the improvisation we could not expect. Unfortunately, the Brazilian team also lost and left the championship. After that Kazan’s municipality decided that there is nobody else to paint but they were desperate to support the Russian team. And prior to the play-off game Croatia vs Russia they asked us to paint a portrait of Luka Modric, Croatian team captain. When I was painting it, people standing on the balconies screamed ‘Dima, paint it!’ and it was live on the Internet. It was sort of our responsibility that if we paint a ‘cursed portrait’ of the Croatian team captain, Russian team will win. We could not finish it because timeframe was very tough. Russian team lost and people had decided that it was because we had not finished Modric’s portrait. I was talking to a friend the other day, he did analytics and followed the events. And he told me: ‘You will see, Modric will get a Golden Ball’ (World Cup Best Player Award). I was interviewed by a sports TV channel and they asked me what results I expected. I said that Modric would get a Golden Ball. And it happened. Since then, they started calling me a predictor, a Vanga (Vanga was the famous Bulgarian clairvoyant). And this Oracles status helps me sometimes. If something goes wrong, I say ‘you remember my predictions? You’d better not be kidding with me’. This is just a funny story, but it really affected our reputation and had become a trend. It is good to have the reputation of a person who knows the future.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
It is when you have an idea and you start implementing it. But it is moved to the next day and you wake up inspired to complete it or just to have a fresh look on it. This exciting feeling when you work on a new project and you are inspired by it and you are ready to go on doing it first thing in the morning. The desire to bring a project to life is what motivates me.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Of course not. At that moment you did things that was fun for you. I liked drawing. There was no such word as design at that time. The Internet was not in place yet, and the information environment was different. Kids like to have dreams to become somebody. I did not have them.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
My personal experience proves that you re-evaluate things every 6 months: where to go, what to do, is it really interesting for you. You cannot see as far as 1000 years ahead. And even 1000 years on a scale of Universe is a short period. You never know what happens next. AI is the latest technological development. Maybe there will be something related to that. A lot of books were written about that. I cannot think as a SciFi writer. I try to look at things from more pragmatic point of view. Yes, I will have a look at global things in the future, but I will consider them from the standpoint of the present or short-term future.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I have been doing street art for twenty years. And this was my hobby for quite a while. I have also been doing sports, 14 years of full contact karate. I have been doing some music, I can play guitar. Now I do it mostly for my own pleasure. Street art, among these three, has become a dominating hobby.

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