To say I am delighted and excited to post this interview and showcase these works would be an understatement. I have been following Tatiana Plakhova’s work for a while now, and I must say that she is an artist and designer who has truly developed her own entirely unique style and consistently captivated me with the amazing pieces she creates. When she graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her work, I was ecstatic. She truly embodies fluxus and intermedia: combining science, illustration, photography, and music to create something fresh (that being said, I highly recommend playing the music as you look through the works).
Tatiana Plakhova is an art director, designer, and illustrator living and working in Russia. She holds a Master’s in Psychology from Moscow State University (she’ll talk more about her beginnings in science in a moment) and then went on to study graphic design in High Academic School of Graphic Design. She has worked with a diverse clientele including Proctor & Gamble, HP, and WIRED magazine. She has created a whole new style of design/illustration that she calls “complexity graphics” and you can view her full portfolio online at complexitygraphics.com. (You can also connect with her via Facebook, Behance, and Flickr).
Q. What made you want to go into a creative profession? Have you always been an artist and if so, what types of media have you worked with in the past?
A. I was working as a scientist and psychologist after graduation, but even then most of the time that I was working there I was designing book covers for our faculty. So the passion to design lead me to design school and a very talented teacher. And then I worked as a designer in my studio making identities, web, and prints. But for me it was not enough creative freedom. So I’m very happy to find my own way of illustrations that is able to show a space sense through a microscopic structure.
Q. Your designs now are “complexity graphics,” as you call them – and that seems to be a perfect name for them. They are beautiful pieces of art that seem to be weaving lines and shapes and colors in a way I have never seen done before. What inspired you to start in this style? Can you share any of the process behind creating a complexity graphic?
A. I made the first image in this series three years ago during a phone call – just doodling on a piece of paper; I think everybody likes to draw while they are speaking. Then the technique of dots and lines transformed into mixed media with hand drafts, vectors, math, photography and paintings.
Q. Music is obviously a major component of your artistic projects. How do you see music influencing what you work on visually?
A. I think music and books are about 90% of my inspiration. Sometimes I make a collection based on some composition that I like. That was what happened with Philip Glass; I just made his music visual. In my mind, he is just playing with patterns, math, and lines, but simply in a musical way. And sometimes I search for exact compositions for months.
Q. What is your favorite part about creating these designs? What part do you find the most challenging?
A. Ha, that’s a good question. I think when I find the basis for the form of the next collection. It’s like I can see it, and almost feel what the music must be, but it’s just not existing yet.
Q. Any last words of wisdom to people trying to get a start in the creative industry?
A. Do no try to be totally in client work. It’s necessary to make purely creative projects and search for individual ways of expression. For every creative, let it be clear how inspiring and wide the world around us is: from biology, geology, cultures, shapes, rhythms to space, our imagination and meditations.
From “LIGHT BEYOND SOUND”
From “MUSIC IS MATH”
From “CHAOS AND STRUCTURE”