Name: Olesya Shchukina
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Current City: Paris, France
Occupation: Animation filmmaker and illustrator
What does poetry mean to you?
I’m a chaotic reader. I don’t read poetry that much, but there have been certain moments in my life when poetry books have popped into my hands. And they have struck me. So for a while I get obsessed with them. Inevitably, the passion fades, and I go back to fiction.
For me, the shorter the poem the greater its impact on me. Poetry seems to be an opposite to animation, both technically and conceptually. A poem exists on a page, like a quick gesture. An animated film demands days and months and even years of work to create something that finally moves for minutes on the screen.
Who is your favorite poet?
Vladimir Mayakovsky continues to be one of my favorite poets, no matter what. He is like an earthquake, that is vulnerable, honest, and completely unpredictable. His poetry (as any poetry in my opinion) should be read out loud. It’s like a loud dance with complex and striking rhyme that also has a huge visual power (even the way it’s laid out on the page). Mayakovsky had an art school background and worked, as what we would term today, an illustrator. That’s probably why the vision of his metaphors is strong and at the same time so full of sound.
I don’t know if Mayakovsky’s poetry has the same impact on the mind and ear when translated. I believe that translation is a never-ending pursuit of truthfulness. As I can’t learn to read all the languages I wish to, I'm grateful to those who work to find truths in languages for me and other readers.
Here’s an excerpt of one of Mayakovsky’s poems translated in English. It’s called "Kindness to Horses" (translated by Andrey Kneller):
The street, up-turned,
I came up and saw
tears, — huge and passionate,
rolling down the face,
vanishing in its coat...
and some kind of a universal,
spilled out of me
and splashing, it flowed.
“Horse, there’s no need for this!
look at them all, - who has it worse?
we are all, to some extent, horses,—
everyone here is a bit of a horse.”
Olesya Shchukina (Олеся Щукина) is an illustrator and animation filmmaker originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. Today, she lives in Paris, France, where she makes short animated films and drawings for web/paper magazines, especially oriented towards children's entertainment. She is also a co-founder of ko-ko-ko. In her personal and professional life, she likes to tell stories and make people laugh and tease the boundary between comedy and drama.
Her films are produced by Folimage (France) and Soyuzmultfilm (Russia). She also worked for Ma vie de Courgette (directed by Claude Barras) as a set painter and illustrator and for Miru Miru TV series (co-directed by Haruna Kishi and Virginie Jallot) as a background artist.