Her name is Yulia Shur, a Belarusian-born art director, photographer and director based in Tokyo for the past 4 years. Yulia’s works try to stretch the definition of photography from taking pictures of what the human eye would see to creating images using her toolbox full of shapes, lines, colors and lucid dreams. She enjoys playing with concepts of illusions, poisoned beauty, death, fear, and subconscious fantasies. A list of magazine work includes NYLON, King Kong Magazine, i-D Japan, MUSE, Office, Sorbet, Hypebeast, Rolling Stone, Purple magazine and many more. As well as companies like Beats by Dre, Casio, Apple music, Thom Browne, 88rising, Christian Louboutin, Lenovo, KAO, Shu Uemura and REVLON.
By Meikee Magnetic and Daniel Merlot
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in a small town in Belarus called Mogilev, that according to legend, translated as the grave of a lion. I Moved to Tokyo in 2015 and since then I’ve been based here.
What brought you out to Tokyo and why has it been your home for the past four years?
I have always been attracted to Asia with it’s magical tales and beautiful traditions. At first, I spent a year in China, but in the big cities there I couldn’t find the Asia that I was looking for. China was a little heavy for me emotionally, so I moved to Japan. Japan has made a big impact on me. Japanese mythology, with it’s magical characters and artists such as Suehiro Maruo, Toshio Saeki, Araki, Hajime Sorayama, Shintaro Kago and Yamamato Takato. Also recently I’ve been practicing Japanese dance theatre Butoh with one of it’s creators Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno who really inspired me. It definitely feels like my so-called third eye opened here.
Your art is beautiful, surreal and inspiring, what are your inspirations and influences?
A huge part of my inspiration comes from my dreams. I always had a really vivid imagination, but dreams especially. At some point of in my life they were especially intense and deep. I could hardly keep balanced between dreams and reality.
Tell us some more details about the various artists you have worked with in the past:
I photographed a lot of artists, mostly musicians such as Sevdaliza, Oliver Sykes, Brooke Candy, Kom_I, Crossfaith and others. It is always interesting to work with artists, each has its own strong and different energy. In my photographs first of all I try to emphasize it using my vision and aesthetics. In the end, you get a full collaboration, like the dance of creative ideas and a combination of art energies.
What project are you working on at the moment?
At this strange time it’s difficult to do any kind of collaboration, so I try to look more inside myself and find new ways of expression. I began to learn 3D, this is a new exciting journey that I spend most of the time on during my quarantine. I also shoot few self-portraits, the last one was for a Japanese magazine Nylon. This one was quite interesting, the task was to inspire people in this difficult time with my work. It will be out end of May.
A surreal visual look into the mind of Tokyo-based photographer, Yulia Shur. She leads us on a journey into the labyrinth of her creative mind and world, the inner workings of an artist’s fantasies and stories inhabited by an alter-ego. These stories exist in a place where the edge between reality and imagination is erased or never existed. (WATCH BELOW)
How has the current pandemic effected you?
It’s quite difficult time for me. My energy works like a snowball, the more I do, the more I want to do. After a productive full working day, the most interesting ideas come to me. So now I have to force myself to turn on the mechanism itself and I think it’s so difficult to create something truly incredible and sincere like that. Therefore, I try not to judge myself for not doing a lot, spending time studying new things and reading books that I never had enough time for.
DROPDEAD/CRADLE OF FILTH
I have a couple of interesting collaborations I’m working on now. In general, I would like to work more with musicians, various visual artists and the film industry in future.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
I personally have always been close to this aesthetic. I could watch several horror films a day when I was a kid. One of the main concepts of my art is poisoned beauty. It is a dance of emotions on the edge when you find something beautiful and repulsive at the same time. That’s the only one thing I really want from people looking at my works is to feel something. I want people to sense beauty and become infatuated, to experience epiphany, fell fear or even disgust. It does not matter if it will come all together or only one sensation will happen unless it happens.
CREDITS Jiro, DropDead, Cradle of Filth, King Kong Magazine, Petrichor Magazine