Marija Tiurina, London-based illustrator and self-professed “pigeon stalker,” had a big, small year in 2018. Last year saw Tiurina producing more “small artworks” than she has in any other year. These small artworks are the biggest feature of her drawing and paintings. Her artwork is on the cartooning side, often depicting various female characters, personified illustrations of food, like toast with a smiling square of melty butter, or every day objects, like a coffee mug. The best part about all of it, aside from the delight of the illustrations themselves, is the various sizes of the pieces. The toast with butter is on stamp sized magnet backings, perfect for around the home but depressing if they fall of your fridge and get dingey. This small size of much of Tiurina’s art, is most enjoyable when applied to the various figures she has produced in this style.
These pieces, the small figures, enter Tiurina’s portfolio as though announcing an earthier, bizarre Banksy. Tiurina’s figures, rather than finding themselves on walls or in city streets, are often placed in natural surroundings. You’ll laugh at the sense of pure joy excitement you get from seeing a cartoon head with leaves and twigs for hair leering over the top of an actual mushroom actually growing out of the ground. It’s impossible to not at least smile when you see the cartoon figure as though it has come to life. My favorite being the seemingly lost traveler. She stands amongst some moss, a songbird standing on top of her head while she looks confused next to road signs pointing in competing directions to very different countries. The idea that this cartoon lady might be standing in the woods now, considering whether to keep heading on to Sweden or turn back towards Lapland, will never not make me happy. So many of Tiurina’s small artworks invoke this same spirit. It’s prolific in its variety of imagination and modes for depiction. If you walk the woods, be sure to watch for cartoon people and creatures out there and make sure you watch out for more from Marija Tiurina.