From combines to classics: product designer moves onto cars
Ilya Avakov’s highly rendered illustrations bear the stamp of the industrial designer – striking angles, slashes of colour, carefully worked up reflections. Not surprising, as Ilya trained as an industrial designer in St Petersburg and worked for a major Russian design agency. While shaping anything from bath toys to combine harvesters he developed an interest in classic cars and these now feature large in his artwork.
“I’m just discovering the world of cars now,” he says, “and painting them gives me a chance to properly learn the car.” While he works in tempera, acrylic and mixed paint and pencil, oil is his main medium, on large canvases.
“Working from my own drawings or photos – and sometimes finding just the right angle takes a lot of time – my technique is to create a quick sketch on the computer and work that up in oils, though sometimes I also make a digital print onto the canvas and finish in paints.”
While he says it’s the beauty of classic cars that inspires him, he also paints modern vehicles which he reckons demand a different graphic language, more like the studio concept sketches that begin a new car design. His works hang in many Russian private collections, but the Royal Automobile Club’s 2017 show was his first outside Russia.
He’d love to see these cars in action but laments that there hasn’t yet been a major historic race meeting in his homeland. However, there are classic rallies, and he is currently doing the illustrations for a Chopard gathering in Moscow.