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DREAM-LIKE DARKNESS

Nikita Kaun is a self-taught digital illustrator based in Saint Petersberg.

Occasionally gothic, sometimes quite dark, his work is visually and technically bold, with strong black and white forms highlighted with judicious splashes of vivid colour.

Producing commercial work, including movie and gig posters, Nikita is a prolific and hard-working artist who deserves all the exposure he gets. It’s our pleasure to feature him on our pages this month.

What got you started with art and how has your work evolved since you started out?

I started drawing back in school – scribbles on edges of notebooks. My last two years of study were the shittiest years of my life and I abandoned all stuff that I liked. After failing to enter architecture university – I got 5/100 for drawing… – I decided to get a technical education as an engineer. Slowly recovering, in June 2012 I saw the cover art for Darkest Hour’s Deliver Us (2007), created by John Dyer Baizley. In February 2013, I sold my first artwork.

So John Dyer Baizley’s work was your inspiration to start making art again. Why is that?

Before that I wasn’t really into modern pop surrealism or ‘low brow art’, and that was my entrance into that kind of art.

How does your approach differ between commercial work and your own, self-initiated work?

I haven’t made personal pieces in almost two years. My personal stuff is more about low-brow art than classic illustration. I have ideas for series of artworks, but no time.

How do you start work on a new piece? What is your process for planning out a new piece of work, exploring new ideas?

I start with making a small pencil sketch for composition. Everything after that happens in Photoshop. About ideas – [I browse the] Internet and surround myself with artworks.

The colours you use are always really striking. How do you make decisions about colour?

Colouring is the last thing that I do. Mostly I use a colour scheme generator. I’m really bad at this to be honest.

What have you been working on recently?

I’ve recently spent two months of my life on a Nike project. Now it’s movie posters again and artworks for galleries.

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