Earth is Mama Nature’s planet: we’re just binge-watching TV on it. We can build as many cities as we want, but nature will always turn the concrete jungle back into an actual jungle. Heck, humankind doesn’t even need to be gone for nature to say “NOPE!” in the form of grass coming up through sidewalk cracks, pollen getting all up in our nose space, or the never-ending fight between your neighbor Jerry and the ivy covering his house. (Give it up, Jer.) Nature will always triumph. And that’s why we love the winning design of our Spring Challenge, “Nature Will Win“! Artist Petr Stepanov (@Steppeua) has nature giving an ax the ultimate axe, topping off the message by “putting a bird on it”. Read more about this artist and see how this design came together below!
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Icebreaker time! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you do art for a living?
I was born in the country which now doesn’t exist, it was Czechoslovakia. A year later I moved to the country which now doesn’t exist, it was the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, I found myself in Ukraine in a small town, Drohobych. According to my mother’s stories, my first creative success was at the age of five when I drew a bee taken from life and which I pressed with a cup to stop it from flying away. I have painted a lot but it wasn’t enough to become a professional illustrator. Now I am a freelancer and my main direction is pretty boring vector icons and fighting with my laziness.
Minimalism seems to play a role in your work – do you prefer minimal art?
I make a lot of small icons, so minimalism is already a part of my mentality. But if you observe all my works, it seems that they were painted by different people. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own style. Obviously, I go on looking for it and I am rushed from side to side.
Tell us a little bit about your spring design. Where did the idea come from?
I usually quickly sketch out my ideas on standard printer sheets, just not to forget. There are already a lot of them. Hundreds of ideas are waiting for their time. I have sketched this axe on a paper and put it aside. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember what made me think of it.
Is this an axe left behind and forgotten or is this a world where humans are no more?
It is an optimistic view on our future. Of course, optimism isn’t that humans will die, but that nature will be strong enough to correct their mistakes. The nature will overcome our foolishness.
The vintage-y look of your art is beautiful – what’s your process?
Thanks. It’s quite a digital work. I used Wacom tablet and just drew from scratch. Standard brushes, black color. It was as bad as if I broke my finger and learned to hold a pen. But the idea was interesting and I didn’t give up. I tried to do best. Years have passed… It’s a joke, of course, but I wasted a lot of time. It’s left a little from my original sketch and I wasn’t pleased with the result. But the contest was going to be over and I decided to let it be. Two first variants of this design are kept and you are able to be sure that I couldn’t get out from creative mud for a long time.
This was a spring challenge, but what’s YOUR favorite season and why?
Spring is probably the best time of the year. It gets warmer, but not as hot as in summer. Everything is in blossom and I have allergies, red eyes, snot… a wonderful time!
Is there a quote out there that always inspires you?
Maybe I don’t pay too much attention to the meaning of the words despite how nice they line up.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks everybody for evaluation and comments. The aim to win the contest is achieved. There were 59 submissions. Now I am looking for a new purpose.
Content & Strategy Manager at Threadless by day, dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I’m not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.