Ukrainian illustrator Anton Abo is one of those creative people who come straight from Eastern Europe and who possess the secret recipe for success. An illustrator, art director and co-founder of the Syndicate Clothing brand and Orka collective, Anton Abo is someone who is super active in illustration. His work is mastery and has a sense of composition that will certainly leave more than just one admirer. Often inspired by nature and life, he loves to use strong meaningful symbols within his creations.
Hi Anton, first of all, before knowing where we will end this interview, I’d like to know where you come from?
Hi, I was born in a small and beautiful town not far away from Kyiv, where I spent my childhood years, and later on I moved to Kyiv
There’s a question I’ve asked myself for the last few years….how is it that there are so many talented people in Eastern Europe in the illustration field? Seriously, what is your magic potion?
Hmm… I suppose, that the reason is that a lot of artists and illustrators got inspired by folk art, which used to be very much popular in Eastern Europe. However, currently, a lot of illustrators take inspiration from Western Europe and the USA.
Speaking of Eastern country talents, do you have any nice names for us to check out?
I would like to mention the following names of my friends – Ooli Mos, Ripley, Tame 69, Grino, Baradon, Cowek, Mute, Dopludo, as well as Erko, Interesni Kazki and Kislow.
After some research I came across your Syndicate Clothing your clothing brand. Can you explain the concept of the brand a little more and the work around the organization of the new collections?
When we started our T-shirts project, we wanted to integrate the designers, illustrators and artists. It took only a while to extend our business from T-shits to clothing and at the same time we continued working together with illustrators and designers. We are inspired by American comfort and European style and at the same time we would like to use our native motives in our clothes. Currently, we are investigating American and European culture, trying different technologies and fabrics.
You created the collective group Orka with your sidekick Ooli Mos . Where did you get this idea from and above all why did you create it?
About five years ago, I came across Ooli illustrations (the artist from St. Peterburg) on the web, and was really impressed and inspired by what I saw. So, I proposed Ooli to create something together. As a result of our collaboration, we have created Inkink – a creative team that was working on non-commercial projects only. But in the meantime, the number of individual requests to create either logo or illustration significantly increased, so we decided to set up a commercial project – Orka Collective. Since then, we continue our collaboration between two artists and two countries – Russia and Ukraine.
I thought I noticed a certain fondness for symmetry and a special detail for space management in your work. Your compositions are often that of a large structure that sends the ball from one side or the other, all work is around this balance, is this something you force yourself to fit into your visuals or is it sometimes accidental?
Absolutely, symmetry is my problem. People say that dissymmetry is the real beauty, but I still continue starting my drawings from the centre and creating symmetric compositions. However, recently I am trying something new, in particular dissymmetry, and I like the results.
The sense that you convey in your creations really reminded me of the work that we think about in symbolism. Was this inspiration from the beginning or a happy coincidence?
Frankly speaking, I am fond of symbolism, mystery and mysteriousness. In my early works you can find puzzles and a lot of symbols. I’m very much inspired by Bosch and Pieter Brueghel and the way how they use symbols.
You collaborated in the “Planchettes” exhibition. Can you explain a little why you followed us in this project and how you dealt with using the wooden boards?
It was a very interesting project for me. I was thinking a lot about what to illustrate and decided to depict a Ukrainian kozak and you can see the respective symbols in the old school tattoo. That is quite recognizable character, which is associated with Ukraine and, by the way, Ukrainian kozaks used to serve for one of the French kings.
Is there any other important news in the coming weeks?
Just now, I am working hard on the Syndicate collection and at the same time trying to find a little bit of time for my creative projects.
Artwork by Ooli from Orka
Artwork by Ooli from Orka