Alexander (Sasha) Brodsky is a young Brooklyn based illustrator and printmaker born in Moscow, Russia. These are his first portfolio pieces. He studied with Hernrik Drescher and Steven Savage at SVA, the former suggested I see his work. I was blown away by their emotional intensity yet conceptual simplicity. In a way, they reminded me of Ben Shahn’s gritty New York City photographs with a hint of George Grosz‘s sidewalk vantage point. The corollary here is powerful use of white space and an element for grabbing the eye. I hope that this sampling of Sasha’s work from two series is just the tip of a creative iceberg. He has had a couple of shows and is currently in a group offering in Moscow. The other day we spoke about his future as and his art.
I use printmaking, which is a very traditional and old technique, but I often apply more contemporary ways of developing the illustrations to my process. But in a certain way, I do consider myself a traditional illustrator. I feel that the idea of printing an actual plate with an illustration directly into a book, like it was done in the early days of bookmaking is somehow very pure and true.
I think that due to gentrification, every day the neighborhoods in New York and in Brooklyn in particular become more and more the same. The subtle character of each different place gets thinner. And the daily situations that the inhabitants of these places find themselves in change too. In the area where I’ve been living for the past five years the authentic atmosphere is still visible. And the stories I tell are of people who exist in that atmosphere and create it.
You made a very beautiful book about some odd characters. Tell me about this one-of-a-kind piece of work?
The handprinted book I made is the first piece in my Brooklyn Field-Guide series. It observes the characters I encountered in the city from a point of view of someone who doesn’t know what people look like. These characters are presented as some abstract creatures that wander around trying to fulfill their daily needs. The etching plates with Illustrations are printed on rice paper and sewn together with transparent vellum pages that have text printed over them.