Ivan Maximov

It’s safe to say that no Russian illustrator has benefited from YouTube quite the way Ivan
Maximov has. Soon after his animated shorts appeared on the site last
year, they began making the viral rounds, with responses full of
exclamation points and OMGs. It was a surprising turn for the Moscow
native, who had worked as an engineer in a space research institute from
1982 until 1986, when he began taking courses in directing and
screenwriting. By 1989, he had released his student film, From Left
to Right
. The four-minute short follows characters who evolve and
morph along a road; Maximov calls it “a sketch of transformation
and vanity.” The films 5/4 (awarded top prize at a 1991
Moscow festival), Provincial School, and Bolero continued
his mad hatter’s oeuvre, in which a tender pathos and slapstick
coexist in uniquely surreal environments. But Maximov disavows any
chemical intervention. “I never try drugs,” he says.
“Many people have no channel to their unconscious, so their
fantasy and imagination can work nice only with the help of drugs. They
cannot realize that someone can be constructed otherwise.”

What are your most essential tools?
Black pen and paper, or
Micrografx Picture Publisher 6.0 and Wacom.

Who first taught you to

My father. I’ve drawn every day since I was 4 years

What do you like most about being an illustrator?
like the limitations of the material, like a puzzle.

What do you
think you would be doing if you weren’t drawing?

be part of a wild nature research and rescue party.

Do you think
your work is Russian in any way?

No. It is cosmopolitan. It is
just mine.

How does your environment affect your

I just like wild nature.

Where did this love of
nature come from?

The theme of nature is from childhood. I had a
mother who loved nature. She was a physicist, in controlled fusion, and
she loved biology and zoology as well. We went camping every summer, and
I got used to getting pleasure from wild nature. I understood that I
love it more than civilization. This appears in my work all the time.

Where would you like to see your work most?
In the list of
interests in the profile of girls’ LiveJournals. It helps me to
find new girlfriends.

What’s the number-one thing that gives
you energy and inspiration to keep making art?

Love and sex!! Or
when I feel that I am doing something genial.

What gives you the
most pleasure about doing the kind of work you do?


And finally: Do you have a motto or favorite

All you need is love! Love is all you need!