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Toma Vagner’s Dynamic, Instructional Illustrations

Russia-born, New York-based artist Toma Vagner crafts dynamic, graphic-filled illustrations. Her works seem to combine the formalism of how-to guides with dynamic staging and absorbing messaging. Or, as the artist tells us: “My inspiration comes from Japanese bubble gum wraps, IKEA manuals and Russian Constructivism.”

Russia-born, New York-based artist Toma Vagner crafts dynamic, graphic-filled illustrations. Her works seem to combine the formalism of how-to guides with dynamic staging and absorbing messaging. Or, as the artist tells us: “My inspiration comes from Japanese bubble gum wraps, IKEA manuals and Russian Constructivism.”

These motifs and messages seem both humorous and enigmatic. She often dismantles common objects—or even people—with engrossing results. In some pieces, like “Adam,” the artist subverts the usual authority of how-to guides and instead crafts a mystery out of the subject’s engagement with the device.

The artist, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, was born in Sakhalin Island, Russia. She’s taken part in recent group shows at SVA’s Flatiron Gallery, Creativeblock Gallery in Brooklyn, and SVA Gramercy Gallery. She’s recently received the Sebastian Masuda Award and Jack Endewelt Memorial Award.

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