Many opt for the freelance way of life for its sense of freedom. Nikita Savinov did just that, having left his full-time roles as a designer – first in-house, then in a small studio, then in a big agency – to pursue a more flexible way of working.
After working at an agency, his last job, he says: "I can't say it was a fun or interesting experience, as I've always worked with existing brand guidelines, mostly on mass consumer brands, and I often had to work overtime without any compensation. I felt like I'm just waiting my time." Working on his own terms, Nikita started travelling and working with clients from all corners of the world. To date, he's produced identities for restaurants, cafes, pet products, entertainment and video production companies from the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. "It was much better, but it wasn't something I wanted to do my whole life."
Adding yet another curve into the path, Nikita had another idea after living in Vietnam and being enamoured by the local club and fashion culture. "I got so inspired that I decided to start experimenting with digital art and 2D, and publish it online every few days, no matter what. Quite soon, people started sharing my works." Growing an audience, Nikita started receiving commissions, and it wasn't long until he began working with his favourite music artists and exhibiting worldwide. And there we have it.
Having finally landed on his niche, Nikita spends his days crafting these anthropomorphous entities where colourful squiggles and blobs are layered on top of one another. You can imagine that, at any moment, an octopus might creep out from behind these designs. So perhaps you'd be surprised to hear that Nikita's "biomorphic" creations are not inspired by nature. Instead, it's like everything else – the "good and not-so-good architecture, passers-by with their taste in clothes, dogs, cats, flowers, ridiculous street signs," and so on. He adds: "Nature is perfect, and I like to find beauty in imperfection. In something human-made."
When he's set on his influences, he will commence the 3D sculpting process and create each object one by one. Sometimes he'll use VR for speed, but mostly he utilises a graphic tablet as his tool of choice. Then, everything is "thrown" into 3D software for him to start picking the colours and textures. "I often use photographs I make as textures. Sometimes I make drawings and paintings and wrap my objects in them. I just go with the flow, have fun, assemble objects in different ways, and repeat the process again and again until I'm satisfied with the look. I treat my screen as a canvas, and these objects as simple colour spots or brush strokes."
Flicking through his portfolio of works, you'll likely get a little mesmerised. You might even notice a face or character or two appearing to jump out at you – especially in the ones that look a bit more abstract. In other works, you'll see those that are far more sculptural – the type that could easily fit in a gallery setting or even in someone's home. And he's also made an artwork of his friend's dog, a "friendly, funny and social" character. Clearly, there's nothing that Nikita can't turn into a 3D artwork.