Starting the new Spotlight interview series of 2018 with Fil Dunsky.
Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Fil: Hi, my name is Fil Dunsky and I am working as a freelance illustrator for last 10 years drawing advertising, web and children books illustrations. During past years I was lucky enough to work with lots of famous brands all over the world such as ASUS, Blackberry, Bounty, Danone, Heinz, Kinder, McDonald’s, Orion, Panasonic, Pepsi, Wrigley (list goes on). I worked not only with big agencies like BBDO, DDB, JWT, Leo Burnett, Lowe Adventa, Prior, Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R etc… but also with many private clients.
Sometimes I am gathering people to draw together and learn something new from each other. It may look more official as an illustration lectures with lights and cameras or just as a sketching sessions in cafes. I love such an events for the different reasons. First I learn a lot of new things there. Second is life conversations with other people. This inspires me to continue and the third is when you are telling to others how cool you are showing your works and sharing your achievements you are really starting to feel that. You see and realize “Oh God is that really my works? Am I really lucky to work with such a big client?..” This motivates a lot.
In a free time I am trying to be useful for the society as a Sri Sri Yoga teacher in the Art of Living. Yoga is helping me to develop human qualities and values, to become better and to do my work in a free, calm and efficient way. This practice is opening the source of life – love inside all of us and it is worth it to share this path with others.
Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your experiences from childhood have influenced your present creative endeavors?
Fil: I was born in Russian family of artists and was appreciated by my father every time I was drawing. He was working as an illustrator in local Soviet publishing house and sometimes he was asking me and my sister to draw some particular things for some children books he had to illustrate. He even paid us some salaries. We bought pirate copy of ZX Spectrum computer from the first earnings. I’ve started to learn Basic language from that time at the age of 6.
We had lots of exhibitions with our father. In the black and white photo you can see winter fisherman piece which he done inspired with my drawings you can see below. He just copied my work actually. I draw him fishing on the ice.
*We had a siberian chipmunk living in our flat. It was so nice creature. When my father came home after work this small soft piece of life usually climbed up at fathers leg diving inside his jeans pockets. After some time coming out with fat cheeks full of sunflower seed hiding them all around the house. My mother found that seeds everywhere. Even in between each and every bed sheets inside a closet.*
I loved animals and different creatures from the childhood. My father influenced that so much. He was always telling me about how beautiful and interesting the nature was. We had lots of different kinds of animals in my childhood. Fishes, hamsters, cats, dogs, pigeons, crows, turtles, hedgehogs, hares plus cockroaches which every Soviet family had that time.
And the most inspiring thing was every night before sleep I saw how my father was working sitting at his working desk. Drawing something. Making the collages, cutting, correcting, taking photos and printing that. It was something I really would like to do. When I was drawing I had a feeling that I am doing the most important thing in my life. And I wanted to be like my father. He was so big, smart and kind for me that days. Now, when I grow up, he is not that big anymore but still smart and kind. He is always helping other people and he is very humble person. He afraid I will stuck in photorealism and he taught me to draw freely showing different artists who worked in naive and simple styles stylizing and distorting reality. He always said why do you have to draw in real style if you can take a photo of that?
Subsign: What did you wanted to be as a grown up?
Fil: After sometime my drawing passion fade away. I guess this is because creativity moved and transformed into procreative things… At that moment I loved maths and programming so I thought I will go and study programmer stuff in university or architecture. We’ve done some applications and games with my friend together when I was in school. Learned programming languages from books. There was almost internet that time in Russia.
Luckily my parents reminded me of my child passion to draw and softly convinced me to go for an arts and graphic design since I started to design some simple flyers and advertisements in school earning good money for that.
*Wow! I just found one of our child projects. This game is still working in Windows 10! The only thing is wrong encoding. All the graphics and code made by me and my friends at the age of 10 or 11 I guess. It was done in Visual Basic. Two players, limited ammo and fuel…*
So I can not tell that I was thinking about my future seriously that time. I was serious about girls only. In Russia you have to choose a university at the age of 16-17 usually. At that time I was unable to think at all. Now I am so grateful to my parents they’ve guided me to choose the right place for education.
Subsign: How does your workstation look like?
Fil: Since I am travelling a lot as a yoga teacher and just to see different countries my working place may vary. From the airport or plane/train chair to the cafe, friends house or luggage bag. 8 years I’ve worked with MacBook Pros and Wacom Intuos 3 tablet (without a screen) but even that was pretty heavy setup. So last two years I’ve switched to Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and now I am using new Surface Pro 2017 model these are nice devices. I’ve got all in one in just 700 grams weight. I can draw right on the screen and easy to use in the planes now during long flights.
*Current minimum working setup. Microsoft Surface 2017 with any place.*
*One of my old travel temporary working places. Macbook Pro 2010, Wacom Intuos 3*
Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?
Fil: Definitely! All that I have in my portfolio is done in the same style. It is hard to see from aside but I guess key words might be: bright, colorful, whimsical and smiling volume with illogical distortion breaking perspective laws. I’ve heard somebody called that Marmalade illustrations because they are so tasty you wanna eat them. For each and every of my new illustration my best friend always says this is you! Look! You’ve drawn yourself.
Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?
Fil: I don’t know how it works for sure but it works 🙂 Daily morning breathing and meditation is the main inspiration for me. Then I just researching or studying the subject I have to work on, searching for some beautiful references, photos or illustrations on similar theme and start sketching. After some time I am realizing all I do is weak and helpless and I nearly forgot how to draw. Then I am opening my portfolio and thinking alright, I am sure I am Fil Dunsky and I am drawing like that. And I am copying myself realizing I can do really cool and new things. If this is not helping then I go for a walk or just do something else. I may draw something just for myself as a warm up and then for a client. Then goes coloring. Usually I do it in on Mac or PC with Adobe Photoshop, sometimes on iPad with Procreate. I am writing about the process in details in my Steemit blog.
Subsign: What advice could you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Fil: My advice would be to WORK! To get good at anything takes hours and hours of focus. Be willing to adapt and grow, enjoy the process, and don’t be too precious with your early work – your style and skill-set will change.
I love to invent something new. I am just trying to relax somehow and when the process become unserious like a play everything goes simple. If there is no time and the client rushes to do faster I am thinking okay so what will happen if I will fail the deadline? Nothing special. I will still have cool work in my portfolio. I am not saying you should not do everything on time but if you will shift the stressed focus from that then you will create something much more valuable.
Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?
Fil: I worked for a long period of time and learned a lot since 2008 but still in my opinion I’ve never created something better than these works. There was much more sincerity and uniqueness in the beginning when I knew nothing. Looks like it’s time to come back to the roots.
Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?
Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?
Fil: Any creative field is connected with self expression. If you don’t know yourself, if you don’t have the way to achieve that Self then you will have nothing to express. This is like you have a window but you are not allowing the light to enter closing the curtains all the time. Try to create something else rather than a child in such a darkness. You will still have something to express but this will be not deep. It will be on a surface. And what we have on the surface? Our botheration of chattering mind and negative emotions. So it’s good to develop and strengthen your inner faculties spending some time with yourself alone. Listening to yourself. What is that what you really want to tell? What is your message? Is it really important? Will it be useful? Will it help others?
Subsign: If you would have a super power, what would it be?
Fil: Making others feel as good as I feel. I feel good, you know?
Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie for our readers?
Fil: Book: Patanjali Yoga Sutras commentary by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Song: Alexi Murdoch – Some Day Soon
Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Fil: Meditation party. Spend some time together in a company of good people for the peace and love, to share positive vibes and knowledge with each other.
Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?
Fil: I am thinking of Jim Kerry. He is a nice guy with good sense of humor. I like all his movies and I know he is a vegetarian doing yoga. So I think we will find themes to talk or laugh about. Also I would invite Sri Sri. He is really famous master these days doing good job for this planet. Making people happy and smile again even after He had conducted yoga in Eu Parliament few times and gathered millions of people to celebrate happiness in diversity in World Culture Festival in Delhi in 2016. I had been there right on the stage. It was spectacular. We had been doing yoga dance for thousands of people on the stage which we had been preparing via internet only with one final real rehearsal!
Thank you Fil for being a part of it!
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