Born in Russia, London-based artist Sasha Tugolukova‘s first training in illustration came in the form of Khokhloma, a folk art drawing technique. The style js defined by vivid detail, careful lines and light pattern work. While art school at the London College of Communication and a formative internship at Alexander McQueen have undoubtedly influenced Tugolukova, it’s clear those early years of training in the traditional Russian method formed the foundation of her current style. Though instead of bright color palettes and floral motifs, the young artist prefers dramatic monochromatic pieces that are far more cerebral. Drawing on all aforementioned sources, Tugolukova is now presenting her work of fine, traditionally crafted, decorative china.
For some time I tried to change my style and make it more appealing for the mass market, but it felt wrong.
“After graduation, I tried to get hired like tons of other hopeful young illustrators, but all agencies were giving me one reply: my work was not commercial enough,” Tugolukova explains. “For some time I tried to change my style and make it more appealing for the mass market, but it felt wrong.” Instead, Tugolukova fully committed to developing in her own creative direction with conceptual, thought-provoking illustration work. Her two current collections—”Masks” and “Strokes”—are meant to be used, collected and presented, turning an everyday domestic item into art.
One of the major currents in Tugolukova’s work is layering details, inviting the viewer to interpret each piece and project their own analysis to find a unique meaning. “The ‘Mask’ collection seeks to challenge our vision and sensations—in other words, I wanted my products to interact with the users on an emotional level and challenge the way we look at everyday objects. That’s why I really enjoy when people study my designs and [when] it triggers different emotions in them—or when [viewing] ‘behind the dark mask’ they see individual delicate details,” Tugolukova explains.
While the illustrations are entirely Tugolukova’s own, she hands off the china-making to the experts. At the center of the British pottery industry, all of Tugolukova’s plates are made by hand, using traditional techniques in Staffordshire. “I’m very proud and passionate about the preservation of traditional skills,” Tugolukova says. “The whole process, from firing to the application, is crafted by hand by skillful artisans. It ensures the high standard and fine quality of my products.”
Tugolukova’s collection is available from her webstore, where plates start at £40.
Images courtesy of Sasha Tugolukova