Dominating national competitions and representing his country
proudly in numerous international collections, he has proven
an able ambassador for the renaissance taking place at home.
It has been important for the poster to be an integral part of this
change, as the medium has a rich history in Russia. Also,
for Surkov, “the entire process of creating a poster is magic.
Although he does not see the same energy in Europe, Surkov
is excited by the “poster explosion taking place in Asia and the
Middle East.” At home, he sees the rebound occurring slowly.
“I think the number of Russian poster designers is not the same
as it used to be; it has decreased. If in the 1990s Russia was
represented by hundreds of posters in international exhibitions,
now it is represented by no more than ten or twenty,” he
laments. This does not diminish his enthusiasm. The worldwide
poster community is expanding, and designers are able to touch
one another’s work more easily, thanks to the Internet. Surkov
considers himself a big part of the international poster design
movement. “This feeling of participation gives me support
and inspiration in my work.
Surkov “adores the posters made in the 1980s and 1990s.
He says his favorite designers make a very long list. “They had
a great influence on me as a student, and I still feel this influence
on my work,” he says. “The biggest inspiration is always the idea
for a poster project. If the customer is able to convey the purpose
of the project clearly, images start appearing in my head, and at
this point anything, especially music, comes into play,” as a work-
ing inspiration. Surkhov has also famously cited a 1989 visit
to Moscow by Massimo Vignelli that enlightened him about
the international nature of the design community. All designers
share the bond of communicating an idea by creating something
even larger than they might have dreamed possible.
It is the idea at which Surkov excels. Even for an intensely
stylized poster such as the Golden Bee Biennale solution,
Surkov keeps the concept at heart. The poster feels like a bee.
Such is the case with all his work. His color choices are inherent
to the solution. His designs are often plainly influenced by both
nature and technology.
Surkov has done the majority of his poster work on social
issues. These posters are meant to be “displayed in public
places and to influence the crowd.With that in mind, he holds
his work to high standards. “If the poster has vivid artistic form
and if the artist is honest—if the artist makes his work better than
anything he has previously designed, and, of course, if the visual
decision is the best representation of the main idea—the poster
will be successful.” He also has a passion for printing, which is
“an integral part of my work,“ he explains. “I am always involved
with it. I love to mix the inks and have the incredible feeling
of controlling the process, not to mention the opportunity to touch
that first copy right off the press.
That passion for the poster from beginning to end has served
Surkov well. He and his likeminded comrades will soon fill Russia
with astonishingly challenging design. For the time being, it brings
pleasure to our eyes and minds to gauge this progress through
the man his countrymen call Suric.
The entire process of creating a poster is magic.”
The man often known as Suric, Yuri Surkov is one of his country’s leading design lights
at good time for Russian design. After years of designers working as craftsmen in Russia,
this role has waned under the enormous changes the country has undergone. Now,
radical creativity is taking hold in all corners of Russia, and designers, especially Surkov,
are at the forefront.
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