The reality-bending art of Andre Tkachenko
Words Iron & Air Art Andre Tkachenko
In some alternate timeline of history, the Second World War was fought alongside towering, clunky robot guardians, cobbled together from the remnants of post-industrial revolution-era technology. When the war ended, new peace treaties rendered these demilitarized armored allies neither friend nor foe, leaving them to wander a postwar wasteland without a reason for existence. When we first came across the work of Andrey Tkachenko, this alternate reality was rendered plausible through his unique illustrative style. Lumbering robotic giants coexist alongside hardened veterans in a dystopian world turned upside down by war. Clearly influenced by World War II propaganda art, motorcycling, vintage racing, and science fiction, Tkachenko has created an art-based universe where he is free to explore the limits of this re-imagined world — and make us believe every ounce of it.
Russian-born Tkachenko has been drawing cars and motorcycles as far back as he can remember. Citing artists such as Alexandr Zakharov, Leonid Soyfertis and Syd Mead as influences in his career and work, he says that it is his goal to always have his work be interesting to the beholder. “I try to give people a new way to see something that has always been familiar to them.”
He gains the most satisfaction when his ideas are expressed clearly and people understand where he was going with a certain piece. “It’s the worst thing when I can’t depict my ideas clearly," Tkachenko says. "But those are the pangs of creativity.” To be able to get those ideas across in his work, he needs to be completely free from distraction. “I need to be alone, to close the door off to the rest of the world and focus on my work,” he explains.
Lately, Tkachenko's inspiration comes from the films of the modern Marvel Universe, and he hopes that his drawings will eventually lead to the creation of similar movie and video game characters. “I have many big ideas that I want to get out there," he says. "Hopefully, you’ll see them soon. I think they’ll be very interesting.” In the meantime, we are happy to live vicariously through the worlds that Tkachenko continues to create.
This article was originally featured in Issue 038 of Iron & Air Magazine.