by Zolton in New Illustration on Monday 7 January 2008

The illustration work of Monika Melnychuk is wonderfully detailed and beautifully coloured. We interviewed her recently and asked, given her rather nomadic existence, where she is based these days. ‘Right now I live beside Alaska, in Canada — Yukon Territory. The obvious next question would be what am I doing up here? Being an illustrator, I take advantage of the total flexibility and move around often to experience very different lifestyles. So far I have lived in Toronto, LA and here … for now’. Your characters seem to be the fringe dwellers of society. do you relate to them in any way or are you strictly an observer? ‘I do, in a way, relate to the fringe dwellers of society, especially right now living in this place with such a unique, bizarre collection of people. It’s fascinating. In another way, I am just an observer, a curious admirer, drawing strangers in bars and coffee shops. Their lives and faces are far more interesting — not beautiful, not perfect, not glossy — rule breakers. I love imperfection. Everything on the fringes seems to have more substance, emotion and depth’. Anyone out there whose illustration work is making you go weak at the knees? ‘I love so many other illustrators. Hmm, Juliette Borda, recently Jillian Tamaki, and I have this book another illustrator I love, Aaron Leighton, gave to me a few years ago by Juile Doucet called Long Time Relationship. It’s amazing’.
Monika Melnychuk