Things can get really dull and mundane in big cities, especially when it’s a metropolis of nearly 5mln people. This Saint Petersburg-born and bred artist, Vadim Solovyev, fills the urban spaces with mysterious and sometimes familiar but oversized creatures. With nearly 60k followers, he posts the curious Photoshop-manipulated images together with short stories as a futuristic blog.
His images feature giant raccoons, chameleons on leashes, sleeping foxes that take up the whole block, and sky-soaring turtles—a concoction of familiar animals found in unexpected places. Bored Panda got to delve into Vadim’s surreal universe and take a look around the urban spaces in Russia with some surprising creatures. And you can check out our previous article here.
The 32-year-old artist was born and raised in St. Petersburg. “At the age of 20, I began to get interested in graphic design and this was the starting point for both my career and my creativity.” Since then, he has mainly worked as a digital and creative designer and is now running an advertising agency. Instagram appeared in his life only a couple of years ago and has become a great means to express himself. “The very concept of a blog about parallel reality came to my mind on its own. One day I just thought it would be fun to supplement the world around me with something unusual, to express my thoughts through fictional stories, accompanied by texts written in a casual manner. Over time, the fictional world has grown its own mythology, history, and characters. Someone liked my pictures, someone began to read the texts with interest, someone began to look for references and allusions to real events in the world. So gradually, my account gained a certain number of subscribers.”
As Vadim was born just before the collapse of the USSR, he grew up in the post-Soviet period. “The country was changing, many people were losing everything, while others were gaining something they could not have dreamed of before. For me, it was a great time. After all, I was a child, and the changing world around me gave me only the most beautiful emotions. I didn’t know how hard it was for my parents at that time and how much they had to do to make my childhood so happy.”
His adolescence and youth came at a time when the USSR was already history. “Globalization, the internet, and mobile gadgets have made the country part of the rest of the world. Yes, we, like in other countries, have many problems of our own, but in general, we live exactly the same life as many who read these lines. The young generation strives for freedom of expression, for equality, for a modern lifestyle.”
Many of his images feature giant animals roaming free in the streets of St. Petersburg. “They have long been part of my fictional world. How did this happen? I can’t really answer that question. These images just come to mind. Giant animals appear both in posts where I touch on social issues, and in works that do not carry hidden meanings, but simply convey the mood, the vibe that I catch while living in my city. To find out what each of the posts tells, you will have to read the texts on my blog. Texts are an important part of every post I make.”
When asked about his creative process, Vadim explained that it happens in different ways. “Sometimes first there is an idea, a thought, an experience that I would like to tell about, and then this idea takes shape in the form of a plot. Sometimes it all starts with an image that comes to my mind and then I try to figure out why it appeared, what subconscious experiences provoked its appearance. It is extremely difficult to explain how my content is born, I do not always understand it myself.”