Welcome back to our International Artist Series.
Today we're catching up with four incredible artists from Israel, home of the biblical Holy Land and the diverse people along the Mediterranean Sea. I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered great responses.
Our first artist is Vladimir from Haifa, Israel. Featuring a mixture of portraits and still life, his paintings are an exquisite combination of flat art and hyper realism.
Israel is quite a unique place, definitely one of a kind. The life is quite tough here, but the people continue being nice and friendly to each other, despite all the problems. I live in Haifa and I love this city.
I have a view of the sea from one window, and the view of green mountains from the other. And in the evenings I have boars and jackals right next to my building. Generally, what is so impressive about Israel is that on this small piece of land you have almost everything, and it continues to exist despite extremely hard conditions.
I never thought of being an artist before coming to Israel, I hadn't even drawn before. I was born and raised in Uzbekistan, the former Soviet Republic, and you don't think about art as an option for your future career.
It took me a while to realize that I actually want to deal with visual arts. This simple idea that you can have fun and express yourself and make a living on it doesn't come easy.
Israel is also a country of new repatriates (immigrants or "Olim Hadashim" in Hebrew) who are ready to work hard to make their dreams come true.
You meet people through the places you work in, and then you discover the others through the internet. Most things happen in the Tel-Aviv area, usually about the comic and animation industries.
Sonya is an illustrator living in Tel Aviv, Israel. With a focus on culture-related projects including ones from her Russian background, she creates beautiful vector illustrations of powerful topics.
See more in her portfolio.
Labor is a War
I love the spirit of freedom. Israel is a multicultural country and it accepts everyone. You can truly express yourself and just be you. You can be gay, any color, any shape and have equal rights in the society.
Tel Aviv Restaurants
I love that people are easy to talk here, they are so open. I can draw a man eating a soup in a cafe, and when he says “nice drawing” after five minutes you’ll find out that he teaches art in a university and your conversation can last for an hour. I also love the hummus.
The culture here helped me rearrange an internal dialogue with myself and get rid of limiting frames and ideas I had from my Russian background. I constantly experiment. Also, Israel is very colorful and it has affected the color palette I use.
Nature of Russian Feminism
Israel has a very artistic environment. There is so much street art here, as well as many small and large art galleries.
I don’t belong to any specific community here. But I love the fact that you can go to an exhibition of a local talented artist in a contemporary art museum, post a picture of his work on Instagram and the next day he'll invite you to his studio for coffee.
Nurit (Benchetrit) Motchan
Nurit is a freelance illustrator and accessories designer living in Tel Aviv, Israel. When she isn't making lovely editorial illustrations, she creates handmade accessories with a nostalgic, modern twist.
A Walk in the Park
This is the place where everything happens, it always has something going on. After visiting many cities around the world including New York, Berlin, San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai, I can definitely say that Tel Aviv feels most like home for me.
It's just the right amount of busy and crazy, while you can still escape and have your quiet spots, like at the beach or at the park. There's a huge variety of restaurants, bars, shops, and a variety of people! I love the diversity it has to offer.
Everything surrounding me and the places I go influence my choices. Tel Aviv is a very global city. It is a blend of cultures and it is very hip and trendy. The mixture of cultures surrounding me, the sunny weather, the people and fashion, they all have a certain influence in my art.
Israel is a place where people are constantly creating. Tel Aviv is the place for designers, there's lots of fashion, design and jewelry shops here. Most of the industry's job opportunities are in the center of Israel.
I sell the merchandise of my pins and jewelry line, "Shugarush Accessories," in various shops around Tel Aviv. Asufa is also a shop showcasing only Israeli designers, including myself.
Lior is a graphic designer and animator living in Tel Aviv, Israel. Featuring exceptional backgrounds and beautiful prints, her digital art is cinematic and unique.
See more in her portfolio.
Backgrounds for Animation Film
Aside from the nature and deep rooted diverse history, first I would say I love the weather in Israel.
I will also mention the city of Tel Aviv. If this great city could be a country, I would be the happiest citizen. Here you can be a woman, man, lgbt, black, and white and you would still be treated equally.
The culture here is diverse. I'm a part of an immigrant family who moved here from the Ukraine in the early nineties along with several millions of Russian speaking immigrants who flooded the country back then.
Animation Film Poster
It's a country very familiar with constant war or terror attacks. We attack our neighbors and they attack us. This miserable "ping-pong" is not doing any good for either side. Blame our governments.
If I step aside and analyze my work process, in order to report what influenced me and how, I would say that escapism is a big part of it.
Above all of these political issues I am definitely influenced by the Ukrainian culture, although the atmosphere, the weather and the Israeli culture always inspire and motivate my creations.
Israel has a long list of very talented and successful artists like Dan Reisinger and Shahar Kober, who also happens to be my instructor.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: