Although her homeland of Ukraine continues to be ravaged by war, the artist known as Floweirdy is creating some unexpected beauty for the world.
The Ukrainian talent, whose given name is Litovka, teamed with the Ukrainian apparel label Sleeper for its most recent ad campaign. Adept at reconsidering modern fashion and creating elegiac shoes made from flowers, fruit, vegetables and other unexpected finds like lollipops, medical masks and chestnut shells, she did just that for the dreamy imagery.
As one of the more than 7.7 million people who have left their homes in Ukraine since the Russian invasion started in late February, she said her departure was so rushed that she left behind an unmade bed and daffodils blooming on a windowsill. “It’s like something unfinished — an old life forcibly left behind. These are shattered dreams and plans for the day and for life,” she said.
Despite uprooting her life in Ukraine to relocate to Spain, she said, “My heart is in Ukraine. It is impossible to cope with it and it is impossible to run away from it.”
Her preference now is to stay indoors while absorbing the pain of her “big home, the Ukraine.” After Russian soldiers invaded, she became disillusioned with beauty, which “began to seem irrelevant, unimportant and un-saving.” Dreaming of being able to make magical shoes that would “keep every Ukrainian woman and child safe,” Litovka said, “Unfortunately, all I can do is make beautiful shoes.”
Having felt like an artist since she was a child, Litovka said, “I don’t think it’s a job. I like doing it and being inside. It’s better to describe it from the outside.”
However resigned that might sound, the artist explained, “At the same time, I realized that not much remains unchanged. But beauty hasn’t gone anywhere, although now I feel like I’m blind. I will try to see it again and create it, even out of tears.”
Sleeper approached Litovka, who majored in design at the Faculty of Art, about the project. Inclined to admire simple things that can elicit a poetic response, the artist said, “Love makes them come alive.” That sunny outlook hasn’t been evident for the past few months for Litovka, who needed to be swayed to collaborate with Sleeper.
Inspired and encouraged “to at least give it a try” by her stylist friend Ira Lan, they teamed up with Lan serving as stylist, model and muse. Despite being in different countries, they managed to find the inspiration to see and create beauty again.
With the Sleeper campaign, Litovka tried to create dreams that are safe and beautiful. That required heads of purple cabbage, wildflowers, whipped cream and other unexpected touches. “Let it be a strange other better world, as the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu said, where you are a carefree, wonderful butterfly, who dreams of being you,” she said.
Art is both a buzzword and a superpower, “it is an act of empathy. It brings people together and makes them human, unlike war, which divides and dehumanizes. Art and Ukraine will win,” she said. “I don’t think art should change the way people see the world. I think if people change, they can find happiness and create beauty.”
At this time, there isn’t any place where she sells ready-to-wear designs. She creates what she likes and art for those who contact her, provided she is inspired by the proposition. Overall, she is mostly inspired by people, and enjoys seeing what types of beauty they choose for themselves and figuring out why they do. “I like the randomness of moments and images.”
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