Stephen O’Donnell



Matthew Dennison

















Masha Krasnova Shabaeva

Interview by I HEART PAINTING.
How would you describe your studio practice?

I work at home and I believe this makes my studio practice more chaotic than it should be. Sometimes I’m easily distracted by all kind of home chores, and there are moments when it’s really difficult to concentrate on work. Generally speaking, sometimes the atmosphere at home is too relaxing for effective work, so lately I’ve started dreaming ever more about a studio somewhere outside my apartment.
Whether it’s a commission for a magazine or my own personal project, my work routine is quite the same. I choose music and begin to work, or sometimes a film or tv show, but it should be stupid enough to watch it without actually looking at the screen.
I make detailed sketches very rarely. It’s easier for me to begin my work from scratch, even if I realize in the process that I don’t like it, than to make a detailed sketch in the beginning. Altogether I’m not pragmatic, neither as a person, nor as an artist. I create my works spontaneously. Of course I always have the main idea and quite definite composition or structure in my mind, but anyway I prefer to rely on my subconscious more than on my conscious thought processes.

What inspires you to make the work that you make?

I believe that somehow I’m inspired by my life and everything I see and experience. And of course by my memories. I’m interested in Soviet and Russian imagery and often use it as inspiration. Currently I’m more into  the past: Soviet era and post-soviet 90s—the time when I was a child. Once in a while I look through Soviet children’s magazines, trying to analyze this huge distopia of USSR in my own way, in a way that is really personal and intimate. I should say that in general I’m a big fan of all kinds of -topias.
Besides this I used to watch an enormous amount of films of different sorts—good or bad, no matter.  Sometimes I think that I should consume less, but it’s kind of my current addiction. I’m also into video games. Especially adventure games and survival horror. I’m more curious about the worlds and the characters than anything else. That is why I play very seldom, because I prefer to watch the walkthroughs on YouTube. In a way it’s a part of my fascination with cinema. Often I watch those gameplay videos out of the corner of my eye when I’m working. To be honest I don’t know if the video games’ aesthetics influence my work, although I haven’t noticed it yet.

How would you describe the physical nature of your artwork? 

I’ve experimented a lot with the texture. I tried different ways of drawing and painting when I studied at the painting faculty, but I always felt that a smooth texture is more attractive to me. Maybe it’s an influence of my father, also a painter. I really liked the smooth texture of his paintings when I was a child. I believe that it also goes well with my ideas and stories. Currently I’m making a new series of paintings for upcoming exhibition with gouache. Oh, and I use Wacom for my books and other printed matter. Also screen-printing is my new hobby, but I guess I still need a lot of training to make prints of high quality.

Do you have any friends who are artists that you talk to about your ideas/work on a regular basis?

I’m not used to discussing my ideas with anyone except my husband Timur, I guess. He’s not an artist, he’s an architect, but his opinion helps me a lot. It gives me an ability to see my work from another standpoint. Also Stas Orlov (aka Unomoralez) is a great person to talk to. We don’t discuss our ideas very often, but we frequently chat about different things that inspire us. Those things are pretty the same for me and for him.

What recent work are you the most happy with?

I’m quiet satisfied with the works that I’m making now for my upcoming exhibition in Rotterdam (unfortunately I can’t give out the details yet). A week ago I’ve finished my first pop-up book which is also for this exhibition. Everything is ready, it only has to be published. It turned out a bit scary: it’s about ghosts and shadows of my childhood.

That concludes our interview with Masha- Inspired? Ya -me too! You can explore more of Masha’s work at . Or try to track down a copy of her current book, which looks like this:

Mercedes Helnwein

Brendan Monroe

Irana Douer

Irana Douer’s work shows a brilliant approach to mixed media. I am really enjoying her slightly sinister female subjects and the combined force of water colour application and strong line work.

Inka Essenhigh

Inka Essenhigh’s paintings seem to exist in the realm of fantasy while creating an hommage to the elements of nature.

These paintings are some of my favourites.

Each piece draws you in to an element of nature (ocean, snow and earth) making them into very tangible ideas.