The Brilliant Illustrations of Yelena Bryksenkova

Yelena Bryksenkova is a talented illustrator with a flair for daubing bohemian narratives and beautiful, baleful women. Born in Russia, Yelena grew up in Cleveland, studying illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and then at the Academy of Applied and Decorative Arts in Prague. I’ve greatly admired Yelena’s illustrations for some time, enjoying the wonderful mix of influences to be found in her paintings, drawings and editorials.

These days, Yelena lives and works in New York as a freelance illustrator and fine artist, collaborating with magazines, publishing houses and brands for unique fashion and lifestyle projects and events like Fashion Week. A flat use of block colour lends Yelena’s paintings and illustrations a folk art-inspired vibe, while her subjects –natural plants, flowers, patterns, textiles and pale, bookish women – weave a fantasy world peppered with modern feeling and social subtexts.


Using pen and gouache to create each piece, Yelena’s work documents homely scenes of ruminating women with magical undertones, borrowing themes from Russian folklore and modern-day life. Her portraits read like contemporary fairytales, especially when presented on miniature pieces of wood or roundels as seen in some of her past shows in the US.

From illustrating book jackets and mini paintings to designing the front cover of Flow Magazine, Yelena is a highly accomplished artist whose bewitching style lends itself a wide variety of creative projects. Among my favourites is the self-directed ‘The Nudes’ series, depicting naked women at home, chilling and relaxing in the buff, and her illustrations of floral petals and green fronds that cover super-beautiful wrapping paper and stationery.

Yelena’s Facebook and Twitter are filled with works in progress, updates on exhibitions and events and plenty of finished projects and illustrations to fall in love with, but her blog is where it’s at for updates.


Find more here


Words: Emily Beeson | boogiemargaret