Why art direction?
At its core, art direction is all about the idea and I love the idea of thinking for a living. Every day is different and every brief has its own unique challenges. I’m also a pretty visual and detail-oriented person. And hopefully it’ll be a while before my job is replaced by AI.
What are you currently fascinated by?
My kids. Living vicariously through their imaginations, their wonder-filled perspective of life and all the details we take for granted. To us it’s just a blanket hanging over the edge of a couch, to them it’s a mysterious cave full of potential adventures.
How would you describe your approach to design?
I’m pretty loose and intuitive when it comes to the process these days. Sometimes I’ll jump straight on the tools, other times I’ll spend a few hours deep diving into research and inspiration. Once I’m happy with the overall result, I’ll play and refine until it’s “perfect” to me. The devil is in the details.
Who or what has been a big influence on your way of thinking?
It would be stupid not to give a massive shoutout to the internet. Particularly anything and everything unrelated to design and advertising is where the most interesting inspiration comes from. Besides that I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by some of the best creatives in the industry, each with their own unique brand and way of working that I’ve adapted to my own methods (read: madness).
What would you say is your strongest skill and how have you honed that skill over the years?
I’d say I’m pretty good at creating brands from scratch or refreshing a brand. Starting with an idea, turning it into a platform and plugging in all the elements against it that make a brand come to life and really resonate with an intended target audience. I’ve also become pretty good at developing design rationale and winning a client over with fancy jargon. How have I honed my skills? Practice, never quit until it’s perfect and absorb from smarter people around you.
What’s your ultimate brief/project?
Ooh, this is tough. Anything where I can start from scratch and dictate how something looks and feels. Working collaboratively with an awesome, talented group of people. Ideally with a client that’s open to doing something fun, fresh and with tonnes of wit and personality.
What are you passionate about besides your work?
Recently, spending time with my family has been the priority, but besides that I’m a bit of an infofile, I’m obsessed with food and the restaurant scene (not so much these days unfortunately), I love film and TV, gaming (not so much these days unfortunately), obsessed with tennis (watching, not playing), stand up comedy, tech, fashion, sneaker hype.
What advice would you give little teenage Ilya, starting his way out in the world?
Go to the gym you skinny bitch. Never lose sight of your humour, vivid imagination and appreciation for the little things in life.
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
Teach it how to rollerblade and create a new driver category: Uber Elephant.