We had the good fortune of connecting with Kat Bielobrova and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kat, what role has risk played in your life or career?
By nature, I’m not a risk-taker, it took me a lot of stress and self-work to allow myself to make mistakes. I was always very self-demanding, and I struggled with it all of my life. But it got better when I was 21y.o. I went on a summer trip to a different country, on my own, with a backpack and almost no money. I have put myself in risky and stressful situations to see how I can swim in deep water. Sometimes I feel I have never actually come back from this trip, cause these adventures somehow transformed into my day-to-day life. And allowing myself to make mistakes with work opened a new horizon for me, it also means I enjoy the process more than the final result.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think I’m still on the way on this endless road, which by the way one of the most exciting things about being an artist. But it wasn’t easy to reach my current point as well.
I was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine in a family of singers and actors. My parents owned a little theater, so my childhood mostly passed on rehearsals and behind the curtains. I saw how my parents worked on scenery for the next play with their designers, so I also tried to create concepts and draws for the theater, I guess that was my first work that 6y.o. can consider serious. By saying that, I think I always knew what I want to do, so I never really has taken this choice – to be an artist, it was just the natural development of the road.
When I was 15 I started my education as a graphic designer in college, so that is when I actually started to think about how to establish a career. At 19 I moved to Poland to continue my education and as I had chosen a pricey school I had to immediately start working. I was getting my first job in a foreign country, so obviously that wasn’t easy, especially considering the range of jobs I could get as a foreign student. But the thing that I learned the most during my first years in the field- there is no good or bad experience, you have to try everything you can and say yes to every opportunity. I was doing a lot of volunteer work, free internships, etc. This helps to collect good recommendations and build networking, which in the end is the most important thing in getting your first paid job in the design/art field.
Since then I was mostly working in design and doing art and illustration in my free time, that time being a full-time artist didn’t sound very real. But with time, digging more into illustration, I realized that it truly is my dream job, and I just needed a good plan to make it happen. And that meant a lot of work, consistency, and getting feedback on time. I think the hard work factor is the most important thing that helped me succeed in illustration, I often heard from friends and family that I was crazy and no one works this much, but hey, this worked for me.
During the road to becoming an illustrator, you also pass through a lot of disappointment, not everyone likes your art, and you hear about that really a lot in the beginning, that hurts and sometimes makes you stop. So, after passing through several depressions, an extremely important thing was realizing the difference between you and your work.
I think my art is totally reflecting my road and my experience, it’s situated somewhere between illustration and fine arts, being practical and speculative at the same time. Growing up in the theater, brought into my art fun and sometimes satire, and my love for painting influenced my use of colors and light/shadow relation.
Looking back on all of it I’m proud that I didn’t give up and that I learned how to be a happy person while sensitive artist.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Although I’m currently located in Istanbul, my favorite city is Kyiv, my home. I love it because it’s so different, from one district to another. It consists of old soviet post-modern architecture, which I love, post-soviet buildings underappreciated by our community, and suddenly the city center has a different old European vibe, this is fascinating. This city taught me to love wandering. I think it’s one of the best cities to have a walk, the center is huge, however, you can get through all of it by walking. This gives an amazing feeling of freedom. Before the war has begun, I loved to go for breakfast to a Khlibny restaurant, located in one of the central places. I truly admire the amount of theater to go there, when I was living there, going to a theater or a classic concert was just part of the routine.
Right now, plenty of my favorite places aren’t working. Sadly, some of them turned into ruins, and it isn’t safe to wander anymore. Although, as quick as the war finishes and things get back to normal – I totally recommend to everyone go and see Kyiv, you won’t be disappointed.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are actually plenty of people in my story who significantly influenced my road. In fact, I think every person I have ever met has changed something inside of me. Education plays an important role in my style development, I’m especially grateful to my painting teacher in Kyiv and my diploma curators in Poland. But I want to dedicate my shoutout to my husband, who played the most important role in my success. We got married young and not yet established career-wise, but all these years together he was very patient and selfless towards my career and my success. He taught me how to be proud of myself which made my life much better.
All the images are part of my personal illustration projects.