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Serhiy Maidukov, illustrator

“I love Kyiv more than anything else on earth. For the opportunities I got here, for the fact that the city changed my life and connected me with the best people. It is safety that gives the feeling of home. From an early adult age, I did not feel Donetsk was a safe place, so it is probably fair to say that I do not feel at home there either. I thought about it a lot. There was probably some sentiment, sadness, and longing for my hometown when I first moved to Kyiv.

Whenever I recall my childhood in Donetsk, I remember the yard where I used to hang out with a bunch of other children, the Soviet-built houses, “panelki,” creating a sort of well through which sunlight entered, and where someone was constantly playing football and screaming. There also was a lot of sea in my childhood, especially the Azov sea. We often went to Urzuf and stayed at the boarding house "Prybiy," where you could walk 5 kilometers along the coast to places where no one is around. It is like a dream I often have: the location I have to reach, and it looks like the Sea of Azov, blue-green and radiant.

If one uses colors to describe, I think it's yellow, black, blue. My God, the coat of arms of the Donetsk region is precise of such colors - yellow-black-blue. I just thought that the streets flooded with the sun are yellow, the blue air is everywhere, and the blue skyline is always visible because of the flat terrain. Black - because I used to climb across the heaps of coal near coal mines and across construction sites. Kyiv is orange for me. I now love orange, green and black. Black will always be present. Without it, there are no bright colors. Without black, there is no white and no other colors.

Recently, I went out onto my balcony at midnight and watched how the fall comes after summer. As advised, I tried to focus on all body senses to calm down after the day - on what you see, what you hear, on the smell, taste, and touch. I listened to the buzz of Kyiv and realized that I had lived here since 2006 - almost as long as I lived in the Tekstilnyk district of Donetsk, where we moved when I was six. Wild meadows surround Tekstylnik. The horizon and forest could be seen from our balcony. Until the age of six, I lived in the city's center, with my grandparents, in a four-room "professor's" apartment. One could go around the apartment in a circle through the rooms. One could ride a bike.

From the age of ten, all I remember of my childhood is traumatic experience: either someone beating me, or me beating someone, either us binding someone, or me running away from someone.

Or you have to walk up the stairwells, and there were groups of people playing the guitar, and it's better not to look them in the eye. It was an aggressive environment, and you could expect a test every minute. There was always trouble. I had six concussions. We drowned each other in our pits filled with water. I fell into a heap of coal. I climbed more basements and roofs than walked along the streets - such a way of life. When I moved to Kyiv, my friends laughed at me for walking and “staring” around. This habit disappeared with time.

Time passed, I grew up, worked in several companies, struck a glass ceiling, and at some point, a friend offered me to move to Kyiv. While still in Donetsk, I refused to move to London to work as a designer - I was invited to a London design office, but I got scared. So we agreed that I would have a fixed fee, and I would work from home - freelance in 2003. When I moved to Kyiv, I joined an American company that opened many things to my eyes. It was a happy period of learning to work in a team.

I started switching to Ukrainian gradually in 2014. At first, I spoke Ukrainian with new people who didn't know me before.

I still spoke Russian with my friends, but then some friends also started switching to Ukrainian. At the end of 2015, I spoke Ukrainian with most people. After the start of the war, my parents moved to Kyiv and also switched to Ukrainian. My mother is generally Ukrainian-speaking. She used to speak Ukrainian in Donetsk too. She was simply Russified over time. My mother was born in Hirnyk, Donetsk region, and her parents were born in the village of Yablukove, on the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions.

I still have two or three friends with whom I speak Russian. We often laugh, but I haven't learned to joke in Ukrainian quickly yet. With the transition to Ukrainian, I became softer and noticed that it was harder to quarrel. Especially on the road, when I'm on a bike, I used to swear onto the driver in Russian, but now I can't find the words - I can't remember the curses on the go, so I just go on.

I like the word "yovbak." I really like the word "zahrava" because it has many interpretations: the thunder, the game, the flirt and to start, and the danger of war.

It is phonetically so different. I will call a book with this word.

I don't have a Telegram. I don't look through the stories of my friends. I don't read Facebook at all. I just write there and reply to messages. Instagram is a professional tool. There is almost nothing personal. I follow the pages of art directors and fellow illustrators - it's like looking at a business newspaper in the morning. I want to learn about friends' lives when we meet, face to face, not from posts on social networks. I can call friends and ask about their affairs, I do. Even a friend we met two or three days ago can call and ask what he is preparing for dinner. And still, I am constantly torn by everything. I can not imagine having Telegram additionally to that.

I do not like Kyiv for all the aspects that have been talked about 150 times, for the constant competition in favor of old stereotypes - the competition between progress and regress. For some reason, yesterday often wins. I don't like Kyiv for the inertia we have - both in me and in the people around me, it constantly draws you towards the known. And you think: my God, the whole world has already understood the applicability of trams - but no, we use Bogdan. I do not like Kyiv for its laziness. I can't stand e-scooters on the sidewalk. I was run over twice. No one has the right to knock me down just like that on the sidewalk. I ride my bike exclusively on the road out of respect for pedestrians, and I want the same attitude towards myself.

I don't have a favorite bike route. Suppose I just want to turn the pedals. In that case, I can go to Trukhaniv if I want to really ride. On business, I can either go through the Shevchenko Boulevard or Vladimirska, or Lysenko, or Yarval, or Sichovy Striltsiv or to Dorogozhychi and back.

Of course, I rent an apartment. Owning one does not resonate with me. I feel protected when I have some savings. I know that I can always pay for my child's school and help my parents. I think buying bricks and cement will not make me happy. I don't really want to get hooked to the ground. Maybe I want to have free education? My daughter will grow up, go, and at 60, I will have a chance to go to study.

I have always loved Soviet graphics, and I always had enough of it: Moiseenko, Deineka, Archipenko, Yablonskaya, Malyavin, Feshin. I think this was the foundation for the way I painted until the years 2012-2013 - there was always a tendency to poster style and, in principle, in a way, to the ideal Soviet man in graphics. I felt the power, light, sexuality in it, something like that. When I got serious about illustration, this chamber of Soviet aesthetics continued to influence me. Still, American graphics seriously interfered, and I think it deprived me of that "Soviet-ish" poster style. Kyiv pushed me to open myself up because you are much more equal and much more open here. In the last two years, Kyiv has given me a sense of the need for perspective in the picture, perspective not in the sense of what is taught in art school but of air. The depth of the frame and, probably, strict forceful lines, because my eyes do not cling to the Kyiv Baroque, but more to the square constructivist houses, to modernism, functionalism.

When I started doing sport, I had to teach myself to drink a lot of water - two liters. I couldn’t achieve this, and then I bought a cool aluminum cup at a flea market, and afterward, I could drink 2 liters. I thought I had found something special, but then I remembered…

Every summer of my tender 13 to 15 years, I used to spend at a fish farm: hauling fish in nets, driving a tractor, mowing grass, collecting eggs from chickens, chopping off geese 'heads, feeding cattle, cleaning and untangling nets, scraping boats - and so on all summer.

My uncle had a business with some friends: they rented two ponds and corresponding farms and sold the right to fish in those ponds. My cousin and I were taken there for upbringing. We lived like builders in an old train carriage converted into a bedroom and a small kitchen with a washbasin. Corn, sunflower, and wheat fields were everywhere around. There were only ponds with reeds and a village 5 kilometers away. It was independence: I learned to smoke, fell in love for the first time, went for a walk in the town until 3 in the night. And there, I drank from an aluminum cup, which always hung on the can.

The same goes for the Shevchenko Boulevard, the place I love in Kyiv and where I walk and where it is very noisy. I like it because it is central - the city's central artery. In my early childhood, I lived in the center of Donetsk, and the sound of another trolley bus rushing past the windows at midnight is a very familiar urban melody for me. The noise does not bother me. I look at the boulevard, dotted with tall poplars and stretches far. Donetsk and the Donetsk region are all in these poplars ... Maybe it's just me because it's quite a primary connection. I'm sure some people realize this and put it aside, who base their habits and customs on new objects, people, and events, but I stick to the origins.

In June, together with IST Publishing, we published an art book about Kyiv.

At first, I thought to do it myself, but I met Andriy Bozhko and IST. My initial intention was not to turn to anyone, to publish an artbook on my own, simply because I needed to do so. However, it turned out in the best way. Through this book, I declared my love for Kyiv. "

Serhiy Maidukov, illustrator


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