Thursday, September 22, 2011

Q + A: Niv Bavarsky

Name: Niv Bavarsky

Age: 23

Location: Berkeley, CA

Q: What are some of the main influences of your work? Do you have any advice for fighting creative block?

I'm influenced by my neuroses & fears, my dreams, comics & cartoons, Japanese woodblock prints, absurdism, my talented friends, my funny family. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with drawing noses and I'm not really sure what that's about now. Honestly, drawing idiotic things helps my creative blocks - I'll just draw a pile of poop (literally) or a cheeseburger until I'm ready to make real work again. It also helps me to work on a bunch of things at once or find some other creative output (like music) - there's no exact science to it, but something always brings me back.

Q: What is the first thing you do when you start working? Any warm-up rituals?

I wish I could say I have a warm-up ritual but it's mostly just chaos. I just sit down and draw (or stand up and paint) and hope that something works out. Maybe I should develop a ritual - I'll consider my options and get back to you. Are sacrificial goats expensive?

Q: Can you briefly explain your illustration process?

I'm always carrying around a sketchbook and a lot of my ideas/themes originate there. For illustration, it's pretty straightforward - compositional sketches lead to more fully realized drawings, and then I work in layers, combining hand-drawn elements in the computer. I also do a lot of more "traditional" drawing on a single surface, usually with gouache and ink.

Q: What’s a project you’d like to work on? Is there an artist you’d like to collaborate with?

I'd love to create some really elaborate gatefold vinyl packaging - cover, inside, labels, the works. Working with Brainfeeder records would be amazing for me.

Q: What has been your favorite Ten Paces swap so far? If you had to add a theme to the line-up, what would it be?

The last one with the musician portraits was really great! I really enjoyed the swap I did with Will Bryant. My theme: HEAVY METAL.

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of making awesome illustrations?

My other main creative hobby is music - I make some electronic music and play guitar. Other than that, all the normal human stuff - having friends, eating food, making jokes, playing games, talking nonsense, taking naps.

Q: You’re originally from LA, went to school in Baltimore, and now live and work in the Bay Area. How does where you live influence your art - has your change of scenery been a source of inspiration for your work?

Growing up in California made going to school in Baltimore kind of a culture shock, actually. I remember the little things really getting to me at first - different water bottle brands, for instance. That really weirded me out. I think there's definitely a lot of California in my work and my personality. Maybe the east coast gave me a bit more grit than I would've had otherwise. I feel like the people in my life have a much more direct influence on me than the places, though. In California I grew up around a bunch of funny Jewish immigrants and a jazz pianist brother, and in Baltimore I met many amazing artists and friends - they've all had a big impact on my work and my identity.

Q: Which of your illustrations is your favorite so far - or if you had to choose a piece from your portfolio to represent yourself, which would it be?

That's such a tough question - I feel like I'm constantly in flux, so pinpointing a single image is difficult. That said, here's a sneak preview at this painting I'm working on that seems to bring a lot of my recent ideas together...

Q: Is there anything else we should know about you, or your illustration work?

Hmmmm. Probably.

A big thank you to Niv Bavarsky for being our first contributor to interview! If you love his work as much as we do and want to find more check out his: website | blog | twitter | Flickr
You can also see Niv's past contributions to the Ten Paces blog here!


  1. Yeah Niv! I remember those nose-drawing days. It's been really wonderful seeing your work change and mature over time.

  2. Thanks Colin! Likewise.

    And thank YOU Alyssa, you rule.