Feelings Conveyed Through the Language of Digital Graphics
Humanity and technology are two concepts that seem to be placed at different ends of the same scale. However, Oksana Bayra, who is a digital graphics artist, combines them harmoniously in her work. Using algorithmic technologies and knowledge in the psychology of visual perception, the author creates images that convey the ideas and feelings of people, thus making it possible for people to understand themselves better.
Digital graphics artist, graphic design expert
During 16 years of her creative activity, Oksana Bayra has carried out several hundreds of commercial and social projects. Her clients include Nestle, PepsiCo, Sberbank, ITM Group, the Moscow Mayor’s Office, Enjourney, and other famous brands and major companies. Ms. Bayra is the winner of many all-Russian and international contests. The artist’s works are highly appreciated in the professional community. Oksana Bayra sees her mission in conveying her thoughts and ideas and broadcasting human values close and interesting to her and relevant to the modern world by means of the graphic language.
– Which projects of yours are the most significant and interesting for you?
– I treat absolutely everything I do with warmth, love, and great interest. However, I would single out several projects that are of great importance for me personally as an artist.
One of my first projects with significant meaning was created in 2004. That was a social poster named ‘Third in Relationships’. The first cell phones were just beginning to be generally available at that time. Although they were uncomplicated and did not have many functions, people were immediately immersed in that new digital world. At that time, I noticed that being absorbed by phones contributed to the alienation and literally ‘disconnection’ of people from the world around them. They communicated increasingly less with one another in person. The quality of their relationships suffered and their personal satisfaction decreased because of that.
The ‘Third in Relationships’ social poster called for more conscious attention to live communication in the age of digital technology.
In the same year, the project won two nominations in the New Russian Poster Contest. After that, it became very popular and was exhibited in various Moscow clubs. That project was very important for me as an artist. I managed to ‘feel’ the topic, which not only was relevant to society at that time but also is relevant to this day.
In 2009, I won a tender from the Sberbank Non-Government Pension Fund and took on the responsibility to design a website for one of the largest organisations in our country. Together with our team, we implemented many functions that were just emerging in the digital space and are now part of our everyday lives. Those include interactive maps and the opportunity to manage data in a personal account.
In 2008, my friends and I launched a nonprofit online project called Magic Tales, which later won the Golden Website Award. The project’s key idea was that we published short educative tales for children in an animated format. Each tale ended with a take-home message helping children in guiding themselves in life better and was complemented by special games that could be printed out for playing with family or friends. In this way, the project solved the educational task and also helped the children socialize and strengthen their relationships with their loved ones and other people around them.
In 2015, I presented the concept of a tourist brand of Russia, which competed successfully with the works of famous designers and won in an open all-Russian contest.
The creation of Enjourney, a social network for travelers, is another reason for me to be proud. Together with another designer, I developed the concept from scratch. Each of us proposed our own vision of that online site. My idea won in an open vote and I was appointed to become the creative director of the project. Together with a team of programmers, editors, and promotion specialists, we worked on the extensive functionality and design of the social network for several years. That was a very interesting and meaningful experience for me.
– What projects do you work on today?
– The series of paintings titled ‘Mystical Beasts’, which I started working on back in 2019, is one of my main projects today. This is a great creative and psychological study. It can be compared to a ‘mirror’, in which human feelings and states are reflected.
The process of self-cognition is becoming more and more relevant due to the acceleration of the informational flow and the increasing complexity of social interactions. People strive for constant development and education in order to ‘stay afloat’, to survive competition, and be demanded in today’s realities. One of the key roles here belongs to self-cognition, It opens up enormous opportunities for people making it possible for them to regulate the quality of their lives and establish harmonious relationships with themselves, their loved ones, and society in general.
Understanding yourself always begins with paying attention to your own feelings and sensations. Through my paintings, I invite the viewers to immerse themselves in a certain state to understand how it resonates with them.
In general, my approach is based on the effect of synaesthesia and the psychology of informational metabolism carried out through digital painting. In my work, I aspired to transform the physical feelings of the human being into specific colours and shapes. There are several levels for perception in each image. The nature of the state and its rhythm is reflected in details. You can experience the emotional energy of the existing feelings at the level of the overall impression.
People find pictures and images that correspond with their personal feelings and moods to be most attractive and interesting. I want to depict as many different states as possible to make it possible for every viewer to find something that echoes in his or her heart. Today, the series includes three paintings devoted to such states as meditation, rage, and drive. In the future, I will definitely complete the series with many more works related to tranquility, relaxation, joy, and, of course, love.
Unconditional love is perhaps one of the most amazing states that people can experience although it is not easy to achieve it. However, I want very much to share this uplifting feeling with others through my work.
Today, love is often equated with passion, infatuation, and affection. However, I would like to depict that deep and multiway feeling that doesn’t need a specific object. I am talking about the love for everything around us that fills a person from within. That magical feeling gives us the strength and makes it possible to share our positive energy with the world without asking for anything in return. Such a state can fill the giver with energy and inspiration by itself.
– Today, you also work on the ‘Neurogames’ project. Is it also related to people’s psychology?
– The human brain processes all incoming information from the point of view of different aspects including logic, emotions, and physical sensations. One of these aspects has to do with what scientists call ‘intuition of opportunity’. Thanks to it, a person can see different options in front of him or her and choose from among them.
‘Neurogames’ is a series of paintings devoted to the intuition of opportunity. Through graphic works, I visualize how people think and make choices.
To fulfil such projects, I have to study psychology seriously and a lot. It is great that, today, we have a huge amount of accessible and high-quality information. I constantly read scientific literature, get acquainted with relevant research, and communicate with scientists. Such continuous self-education in the field of psychology is very important for me. It not only forms the basis of thematic projects but also generally helps me create works that are harmonious and interesting to the audience.
For example, I am particularly fascinated by the topic of human perception of graphic information. It’s important for me to understand how people decode the language of art and how it echoes in their minds. It makes it possible for me to translate my ideas and thoughts through graphics as effectively as possible.
– What inspires you?
– Nature and all forms of biological life. When I think about how we are all organised, how precisely and intelligently our bodies work, how everything in them is interconnected, I can’t help admiring all that. These processes of organic life are very complex but incredibly beautiful in terms of their harmony.
For me, the topics of nature, its preservation, and respect for it are important. At the same time, I divide ecology into two main areas: external and internal.
External ecology is the interaction of a person with the surrounding world. The internal ecology is the interaction of a person with him- or herself.
Preservation of internal ecology first of all presupposes personal growth of a person, development of his or her consciousness and culture, and upbringing of proper values. Why is that important? Because people harm others only when they do not feel harmony with themselves. In fact, their attitude towards the world including nature is nothing more than a projection of their inner state into the external environment.
Art cannot solve global environmental problems directly. However, it can influence an individual person and develop his or her inner world. Art can help people understand themselves and learn to live in harmony with themselves. In turn, this inevitably affects people’s attitude towards the world around them. That’s why, as an artist, I see my mission in preserving the internal ecology of people. I try to make people aware of the thoughts that could help them grow psychologically.
Waste sorting, conscious consumption, and use of eco-friendly materials should be based on awareness and inner culture of a person. Those mustn’t remain only ‘rules that must be followed’.
– As an artist with a very deep and conscious worldview, what would you wish women from different countries?
– I wish them to respect themselves. Self-respect is a solid foundation for establishing harmonious communication with people and yourself. This is what allows women to develop, improve, and fulfil themselves in different roles. Thus, they can enjoy what they do and benefit the world around them at the same time.
Photos are provided by Oksana Bayra from her personal archive
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov
Photos are provided by the article's heroine from her personal archive