A guide to the New East
Kiev now part two
Love Curly
The illustrator picturing the dark side of pop life

For Kiev-based illustrator Love Curly (she prefers not to reveal her real name), her obsession with drawing started during childhood: she spent every summer at her grandmother’s house in the countryside, where she would reach for her pencil to escape boredom. The hobby was transformed by her encounter with MTV aged 12, with the channel's colourful ads inspiring her first narrative drawings. Years later, her first paid job was to design the idents for MTV Ukraine. This fast and fragmented in-your-face pop imagery can be traced in her present work, although her approach today is somewhat more subversive and complex. Love Curly works with images we’re bombarded with every day — advertising, branding, explicit sexuality — exposing the dark side behind the flat, bold colours. Her illustrations are surreal, with a strange hint of voyeurism, but they are also instantly appealing. The artists she is most inspired by are her fellow Kiev creatives: photography collective MNPL and fashion designer Sasha Kanevski, with whom she collaborates.

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