Winner of over 150 awards at international design and advertising festivals including Red Dot, Golden Drum, The European Design Awards and Graphis and often invited as a juror in reputed competitions, #UkraineTalent: Mykola Kovalenko is a cultural impact world-class designer fueled by the belief that “To live means to create”. He worked for influential ad agencies in Kyiv, and later on, he launched his eponym design studio while in Bratislava. He sees beauty in simplicity and consciousness but also in images that have a double meaning or a new, non-standard sense.
Discover his rich visual world and his story below.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS RELATED TO UKRAINIAN CREATIVES
Look at the portfolios of Ukrainian artists and choose specialists for certain tasks, but also make the bold move of including Ukrainian artists in cooperation projects. There are a lot of talented and creative Ukrainian artists, and they are capable of creating interesting work.
A SAMPLE OF YOUR BEST WORK
It is difficult to narrow it down to just some pieces. Each is interesting and important in its own way. Here are a few pieces of work that I am most proud of:
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
When I was in elementary school, my art teacher called my mother to the school and said: “Your child needs to be taken to an art school.” My mother took me by the hand to the children’s art school where I then studied for 4 years. Next I attended Art College and later I graduated from an art institute in Kyiv, with a degree in graphic design. I now happily work as a graphic designer.
A UKRAINIAN CUSTOM REFLECTING THE BEAUTY OF YOUR CULTURE
Ukraine is rich in customs and traditions that are deeply rooted in the past so it is hard to narrow it down to just one custom. I would say the cultural tradition of Ukrainian vyshyvanka (the wearing of traditional folk costume with characteristic patterns and embroidery), but also pysanky eggs, motanka dolls, amulets, holiday celebrations, Ukrainian cuisine and ethnic music all reflect the beauty and richness of Ukrainian culture.
UKRAINE SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
The world knows a lot of outstanding Ukrainians: Igor Sikorsky, the Klitschko brothers, Kazimir Malevich, Nikolai Leontovich … But for me, Ukraine is still one people – a generous, open, talented and freedom-loving people.
THE BEST THING ABOUT UKRAINIAN CREATIVITY IS
RECOMMEND AN UKRAINIAN CREATIVE THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
There are a lot of talented and creative people in Ukraine but in my opinion, architect Slava Balbek, illustrator Sergiy Maidukov and photographer Gennady Chernega (whose photography gives an interesting view of the world)
WHAT IS YOUR CAUSE AND HOW OTHERS CAN HELP?
At the moment I have a very special project that I have been working on since the beginning of the full-scale aggression and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I have made it my mission to create a poster each day since the start of the invasion. At the moment, I have created 125 posters and I will continue to do so until this conflict comes to an end.
These posters will soon be available for purchase in the form of NFTs. The funds from these sales will go to help Ukraine. It is my hope that the purchase of these posters will help to end the war. It would bring me much joy to stop the creation of these posters.
THE STORY OF YOUR WORK/BUSINESS, BEFORE THE WAR & NOW. HOW GOOD LOOKS LIKE IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Now it is much more difficult for me to work because I constantly think about my loved ones living in Ukraine, I worry about those Ukrainians whose cities are being bombed I read the news about new tragedies of our people with horror.
HOW PEOPLE CAN FIND YOU IF THEY WANT TO CONNECT WITH YOU?
Here are links to my website and social media:
Mykola Kovalenko graduated from the Kyiv State Academy of Arts and Crafts and Design, named after Mikhail Boychuk. He has 20 years in the design field and is
an honorary member of the Art Directors Club of Ukraine, a member of the Association of Graphic Designers of Ukraine “4th Block”, the Czech Association of Designers Brno Biennale and a member of the Club of Art Directors of Slovakia.