Israel-based Russian ceramicist Inna Olshansky creates fun, colorful sculptures out of clay and oil paint. These works are so full of personality and color, they’re reminding me of the work of some of the more iconic animators and character designers from the 1960s. Olshansky’s work is so distinctive and skillful, it would be at home among the works of Heinz Edelmann and Terry Gilliam.
Olshansky doesn’t plan her sculptures. Rather, she lets the muses speak to her.
“I work very intuitively. Starting with a raw idea or concept, I usually have only a vague, nebulous collection of ideas to begin. As I set up the structure of the sculpture, the vision becomes more real and solid in my mind… the elements I want to use, the overall look of the form… the attitude of the head, the expression and shape of the face all start to become more solid in my imagination. One part of the design is confirmed, leading to the next and the next element. Until I get my hands on the clay, I am never sure exactly what the end result will be. My way of working is to be guided by my instincts and to let the flow of ideas take me where they will. The evolution of ideas, shapes, forms, technical challenges, and design elements constantly circulate through my mind until connections start to be made and the art comes though.”
In addition to her wonderful sculptures, Olshansky also makes menorahs like the knock-out above. I feel like her use of matte finishes further add to her pieces’ appeal. By leaving off the typical glossy finish, her colors are clear and bright and so effective.