Stand For Ukraine: Artist Olga Severina

Stand For Ukraine: Artist Olga Severina

Today’s episode is an incredibly poignant and powerful one, as we are joined by Olga Severina, an artist, curator, and graphic designer who was born and raised in the Ukraine. She grew up in a thriving creative community in Kharkov and moved to Los Angeles with her family in 2010, but she still has friends and relatives who are currently hiding in basements in Ukraine, hoping that they won’t be killed by advancing Russian Armed Forces.

Click play button above to listen to this important episode

As you’ll learn from this episode, Olga is the founder and curator of PosterTerritory, a project that launches socially conscious poster exhibits. As artists, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to do in the face of injustice, which is why Olga started the PosterTerritory initiative, which provides artists with a platform to spread awareness.

“The poster needs to be seen. It yells. It cries. It speaks. It has a strong message, an idea, or words, strong words. Sometimes, it’s just one word and it’s enough. It’s fast. It mobilizes ideas in one, flat sheet of paper or, like now, we mostly share everything digitally. This is why I think it’s important, because each and every poster—and you can see this in the [Stand with Ukraine’ poster call] folder—is really strong. You can feel how people feel, how they want to cry with us, how they support us.” — Olga Severina [0:16:12]

PosterTerritory was built on the belief that art and creativity have the power to save the world, and this concept forms the main theme of our conversation today. We discuss how posters are the ideal art form for social change and Olga shares her perspective on the horrific consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She also shares the power of design to make a statement, her love for the creative community in her hometown, and where and how you can contribute and donate to PosterTerritory and other organizations that are supporting Ukrainians during these dark times.

Tune in today to learn from Olga as she sheds light on what artists can do to spread awareness, show solidarity, and rise up against injustice!

Ukrainian designer and artist Olga Severina
Ukrainian designer and artist Olga Severina

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What Olga is doing to help secure the safety of her friends and relatives in the Ukraine.
  • Seeing past the fake news and propaganda and focusing on the stories of real people.
  • Learn more about the ‘Stand with Ukraine’ poster call that Olga started with The 4th Block.
  • Why Olga believes that posters are the art form that can change the world for the better.
  • How the visual language of emojis is similar to the visual language of posters.
  • Olga shares what she loves about Ukraine and the landscape of her home city, Kharkov.
  • Insight into the creative community of Kharkov and how they are now fighting for survival.
  • Olga’s perspective as someone who has lived and worked in both Ukraine and Russia.
  • How Ukrainian perceptions of Putin have evolved over Olga’s lifetime.
  • Ukrainian perceptions of the West as the conflict rages on and why Olga is careful to separate politics from people.
  • Whether or not she believes that international sanctions against Russia will be effective.
  • How seeing words of support and Ukrainian flags helps Olga understand that she is not alone.
  • How Olga was inspired by the work of folk artist, Maria Prymachenko, as a young girl.
  • Hear why she chose to study in the Ukraine and some stories about her favorite professors.
  • Why she believes that design is more than graphics; it’s about making a statement!
  • The work she does to advocate for sustainability and raise awareness for biodiversity.
  • Find out how Olga still finds hope in her two young children and in her work.
  • The messages she receives on a daily basis from friends still trapped in Kharkov.
  • Where and how you can contribute and donate to PosterTerritory and other organizations.

“Posters speak to people and I truly believe that this is the art that can change the world for the better.” — Olga Severina [0:13:17]

“If you have a space where you can print [one of our posters] and put it on the wall, put it on your car, whatever [you] can do, it’s worth it. It’s important because when I see [Ukrainian flags], it’s so touching. It makes me understand that we are not alone in fighting this.” — Olga Severina [0:46:14]

“You can always use the computer and do the graphic but, mostly, you need to feel how you can move it further, not just client-to-client, but create something that speaks up. Something social that [makes] a statement, because this is what design is about. It’s your statement.” — Olga Severina [0:54:56]

“If you can’t or you don’t have the option [to donate], just spread the news. Grab a poster, post it on your social media channels with the hashtag. This is powerful. This is what we can do from here.” — Olga Severina [1:12:35]

“[Right now], I can’t find the creativity to start doing something, working on something, but I think there’s only one way. When you lose hope, it’s wrong too, so you need to start doing something. This is why, to design stuff, to create something that might help, that you can share, it’s really important so that you don’t go crazy. You can keep your mind focused.” — Olga Severina [1:02:00]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.