Ukraine’s art of war: 'There’s always fresh blood'

Igor Gusev, a noted Ukrainian artist from Odesa, changed course after Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s art of war: 'There’s always fresh blood'
Scripps News

After Russia invaded Ukraine, artist Igor Gusev put aside his work on large canvasses and his his signature works — modern takes on classical scenes.

"When the air raid sirens come on, the brushes fall out of my hands,” he says. "It’s impossible to do anything."

But he also found it impossible to do nothing — so he began creating a series of pieces small in size but potent in message.

"When the war started, I understood that I had to start doing something," Gusev said. "I understood I had to start doing something or start drinking a lot of whiskey, or leave the country."

He chose to remain in his native city, Odesa, producing on used book covers: his art of war.

"When the war started, a lot of stores were closed and it was impossible to buy any paper or paint,” he says. "So I was walking through a market and saw old books that cost a few cents."

Gusev realized books are a symbol here, particularly for people with memories of Soviet times when many books were banned.

It makes them a powerful canvas for protest. 

Packaging made from leaves is on display at the Releaf Paper booth

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