Hi, I'm Jenya, and I am from Kyiv, Ukraine. Currently, I am at Chernivtsi - it is a western part of the country, so it's relatively safe here.
What did you use to do for a living before the war started?
I am an illustrator and printmaker, my partner and I run seri/graph studio - visual studio and printing workshop in Kyiv. So I draw for different projects by myself—bigger ones like books of visuals for festivals we do together.
What is it like for you to be in a war?
Strange, painful, and full of anger. It is still hard to believe that such things can happen to us in 2022. That flowers on Instagram can co-exist with such a level of violence.
How is your daily routine, and how it used to be?
Now our daily routine looks like groundhog day. We sleep, eat, and try to fill our days with work. Drawing helps to stay focused but distracts from the news simultaneously. Sometimes we volunteer or go to buy meds for volunteers in other parts of the country. And also, as I have a dog - I go for a walk twice a day; it helps a lot.
Before the full-scale war, my days were much less predictable. As a freelancer, I plan the week differently, depending on the amount of work. I could go to our studio or stay at home. Freedom)
How has art been helping you during these challenging times?
At first, art is a document, posters, comics, illustrations, etc. These are essential documents of this time. So documentation is a big part of the job. Also, art helps spread information and bring attention to war from people who usually ignore "politics" worldwide. It is direct speech that can reach someone deeper than basic statistics.
What do you want the world to know about this situation?
We are in an awful situation right now; we are in the middle of a war with quite a powerful aggressor trying to collect our lands and destroy our lives and identity. Russia destroys our cities and kills civilians. And this war is going on in the middle of Europe. I understand that in the 21st century, in Europe, where people got used to living in democracy and peace for years, it is tough to accept any militaristic ideas. But it doesn't work for us now. What is the compromise? That part of my country which became occupied and all men of conscription age there be dead? That all Ukrainians on occupied territories be repressed and forcibly ‘denazified’? Which of Putin’s demands can Ukrainians accept? Tell me. What can we do besides fighting with weapons?
The aggressor came to my country, killed my people, and threw ultimatums at us. The only way to end this is by defeating him on the battlefield. And we need help with that.
What is the process of documenting your art in your everyday life?
I draw whatever makes me angry, ar sad, or anyhow)
Where are you finding inspiration nowadays?
Anger. It`s hard to work when you are sad or scared, but when you are angry - you are very productive.
How can more artists help Ukraine?
Spread information, talk the truth, and horizontally support each other. They already do - the support we get from people worldwide is fantastic!
What is your hope for the upcoming weeks?
(End of the war?) There will be a hard battle next few weeks; I know we will win. And I hope that as few people as possible will die.
What makes you laugh even though?
(Mems) I guess the Ukrainians are champions of the world of mems right now. We have a tremendous rise of humorous content, from stand-up comic streams to pictures on the internet, because it's impossible to go through all of this without a laugh.