Ūla Šveikauskaitė imagines a dystopian future with her deliciously dark illustrations
Growing up in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, Åªla was introduced to creativity from an early age. Her father is an architect who also enjoys painting, while her mother is a journalist and therefore often took her to art exhibitions and show launches. It was this exposure to art and journalism that led her to embark on editorial illustration.
She studied printmaking and illustration at the Vilnius Academy of Arts where traditional printmaking techniques and academic drawing formed a large part of her classes. “Even though I now work digitally, the knowledge of lithography, etching, woodcut and screen printing is still present in my work as much as my love for shape building and shading. in graphite pencil, âÅªla told Creative Boom.
As for her style of work, the weighted narratives and the dark atmosphere are something for which she has developed an appetite for: âMy usual method is to create a visual metaphor and to describe seemingly well-known subjects through the prism of ‘a surreal metaphysical mood. A friend of mine told me that my work is dark but so heartwarming – and that’s how I would describe my style in one sentence. “
While drama and mystery is a recurring theme in Åªla’s often disturbing illustrations, it’s not necessarily something she comes back to on purpose. “When I draw faces, I am very tempted to fragment them or cut them out by the edge of the format. Large masses of heavy, faded colors are also often encountered in my images. Besides, when I look at my work in retrospect. what unites them is the feeling of loneliness and often a female figure at the center of the composition. “
A recent piece she is proud of is a personal illustration she produced following the Belarusian protests of 2020, the biggest anti-government protests in the country’s history. “I have received a lot of positive and grateful comments about this from the Belarusian people,” she said. “On such occasions, as an illustrator, I think this profession can have a relevant impact or provide a good deal of support to those who need it.”
Represented by Synergy Art in the UK, Åªla’s recent clients include The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and Vilnius University. Today she lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Find out more about ulasveik.com or follow her on Instagram.