Vania Zouravliov grew up in an artistic family. His mother was an art teacher and so his picked up painting from a very young age. His adolescent influences were both typical and unusual. The Bible, Dante’s Divine Comedy, early Disney animation and North American Indians, included among them. Soon enough, he labelled a prodigy. He appeared on several Russian television shows. By age 13, Zouravliov was exhibiting internationally.
He departed from Russia and headed to Scotland to study at the Edinburgh College of Art. In 2000, he took up residence in London. His secured representation from the award-winning creative consultancy, Big Active. Some of Zouravliov’s commercial work includes comic illustrations for Fantagraphics and Dark Horse, album cover artwork for Duran Duran’s TV Mania and Beck’s The Information, as well as editorial illustration for The Scotsman, Creative Review, Little White Lies, National Geographic, The Fader, Grafik and The New York Times. His work has won him multiple awards, including the coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil Award.
Zouravliov richly detailed illustrations play with innocence, eroticism, brutality, and ethereality. He has cited Paolo Roversi as one of his influences and you can definitely see similarities in their work. Striking portraiture of beautiful yet bewildering women. Mesmerising you with their gaunt gaze. Furthermore, Zouravliov’s illustrations also share the look of daguerreotype photography.
This balance of classic and modern, as well as elements from both East and West cultures, create scenes that feel otherworldly. A style congruous to the portrayal of fantasies and myths, simultaneously, fears and the macabre.
In 2009, Die Gestalten Verlag published a 160-page book of Zouravliov’s work, simply called Vania. It and the 2010 extended version are sold out everywhere. If you want to pick one up, you are now looking at upwards of £500.