Spotlight: illustrator Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva’s world of whimsy

There’s a certain whimsy to Masha Krasnova-Shabaeva’s illustrations. Children float in fairytale scenes filled with monkeys, their heads replaced with flower petals. Her work has a comic book feel to it so it’s no surprise to discover that in 2011 one of her illustrations was included in a comic strip exhibition about Frank Zappa in Rennes, France. After graduating from art school in Ufa, the capital of the Republic of Bashkhorostan in southern central Russia, Krasnova-Shabaeva moved to Holland where she has been working as an illustrator for close to a decade. Although she works for publications from Europe and the US, most of her commissions are from Russian magazines, which she calls her “most devoted clients”. In Holland, she is better known for her animated videos, murals and self-published books than for illustration. “Visual culture in Russia is taking a turn for the better,” says Krasnova-Shabaeva whose work has appeared in magazines including Afisha, GQ, Elle, Rolling Stone and others. “There are more high quality art schools and well-designed websites, magazines and books.”

11 November 2013