I’ve always wanted to go to Lviv.
I’ve read a lot about the city’s history – good, bad, and often controversial. Nevertheless, Lviv is, without a doubt, the arts and culture capital of modern-day Ukraine. It’s a place where people are trying to bring about progressive change in a country torn between a promising future and a past marred by corruption and greed.
Serhiy Fedynyak is one of those people.
He was one of many who traveled to Kiev to stand in the Independence Square when peaceful protests first started in late 2013. He also represents the country’s conflicted, often dark past – one grandfather fought with and one against the Soviet army during World War II. Still, only a generation of people like Serhiy will be able to bring about any real change in Ukraine.
What better way to show support than designing a scarf or pocket square together?
We first contacted Serhiy when we were researching artists for our premier collection. He was excited about the opportunity of working together and for his work to have a greater reach. First, he created the Reflections scarf and later the Carpathians pocket square. Both designs are absolutely stunning, personal works that fit perfectly in our collection.
In September of 2015, Aneta and I were fortunate enough to personally meet and spend time with Serhiy in Kiev. More than a colleague, I consider Serhiy a friend and I expect his work to remain a staple in the R. Culturi collection. In this interview, I’d like to share more of his story.
“This piece is meant to convey the burden of reflection. The symmetry symbolizes dialogue with oneself, as difficult decisions lie only on our own shoulders. The acute fractures and various details represent the many variations of thought and the difficulty of choosing the right solution. Tears suggest the sometimes tragic moments in life. But, in general, this work is about love. Like in most of the world’s artistry, it is an eternal theme.”
– Serhiy Fedynyak
Why did you decide to pursue a career in art? Why did you choose to be an artist?
Everything happened rather spontaneously. When I was a child my grandfather used to draw funny pictures for me, which always made me happy and encouraged me to do something similar. When it came time to decide my future career path, I prepared to study cinematography in order to become a film director. But at the last moment, and without the necessary training, I applied to specialize in visual arts. Thus, I majored in Art Restoration. I can’t say that this necessarily developed any artistry in me but I did learn to better appreciate other peoples’ work and creativity. The defining moment was when I broke my right arm. During the rehabilitation period, while I had a lot of free time, I started drawing a lot on my computer. I very much liked the creative process and the results. This became the beginning of my story as an artist.
How would you describe your style/direction?
My style is usually called Low poly, or sometimes Wedha’s Pop Art, although I try not to limit myself to just one style. To be honest, I haven’t yet found “my style”. I’m always experimenting with different techniques.
What inspires your work?
My biggest inspirations are people and their emotions, both the positive and negative aspects. I am also inspired by music and by my girlfriend. She always supports what I do and motivates me.
What other artists, current or past, have been your biggest influences?
I was always very interested by Andy Warhol. If he were alive, I would call him and invite him to visit his motherland – Ukraine.
Can you describe the brightest moment of your life or career thus far?
It seems that my birthday was a bright moment for me, but I don’t remember it. A lot of great moments are brought on by spontaneous travels, which I love to partake in.
Tell us about your personal goals and/or professional plans.
I would like to see more of the world, travel to the other side of the ocean, and visit the places where civilization was born. Professionally, I have many ideas I would like to pursue and actualize. It’s important to find the time and not to forget about them.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time I surf the internet in a search for interesting topics and ideas. I also roller-blade at the skate park, hang out with my friends, and travel.
What are the most interesting (or your personal favorite) places in your city? Tell us about them.
As it happens, I live and work in the center of Lviv and spend most of my time there. I love the narrow streets of Lviv – full of old architecture, particularly the atmospheric Lesi Ukrainky Street. Here you can find a bar/restaurant called The Room which is always home to good company and great music. In Lviv there are many places where city life bubbles, where you can eat well and relax. The number of great places to visit is always increasing. In particular, I love Baczewski Restaurant. Another one of my favorite places is a small square near Valovoy Street. A distinctive “underground” called Lviv Original Tusovka developed here and it is gradually becoming a platform for progressive young adults to connect, socialize, and hang out.
What do you like best about your city?
I love the carefree atmosphere and how it’s stirred by the city’s inhabitants, from the locals to the constant stream of students from out of town. This really livens the city. Here you can find a wealth of culture and many people that are taking big steps forward, towards the western world.
What does it mean to be an artist in your city?
I can’t answer this question precisely as not many people know me as an artist. But I know that an artist is what every conscious citizen of Lviv tries to be. The people here sense and experience art and culture.
What, in your opinion, does it mean to be a resident of your city?
For this question, I can cite the famous Ukrainian essayist and historian Yaroslav Gritsak – “Lviv is a city-office in which it is ideal to live and work. However, in order to understand this, every once in a while you must leave and then come back again.” He writes that Lviv is a small New York City within Ukraine. It is a warm, multi-cultural city with a human element and great potential. I think most citizens of Lviv undertand this. To be a citizen of Lviv is to be a human-being.
Check out more examples of Serhiy’s work on his Behance portfolio and watch out for more of his designs for R. Culturi!