Oleg Lipchenko


Artist Statement

I always studied the light. I know its magnetism cannot be expressed graphically, because of the huge difference between the range of colors in nature and the range of colors on the palette. The contrast between the lightest and darkest spots in the visible world is several times higher than the contrast between black and white color on paper or canvas. But this is not the only obstacle. Or take, for example, optical color mixing, but what about the light of the incident and reflected light, and so on. Light, as an object of contemplation, has many qualities. Therefore, to express the play of light on paper (canvas, etc.), to create a sense of light in the viewers eyes requires a very subtle and thoughtful interpretation. Light is very difficult substance to transfer to paper or canvas. But the artist would not be an artist if not tried to. And I’m trying hard to teach canvas to absorb the light, time and again, applying different methods and techniques, and combinations thereof. The artist should always learn to work with the relationship of colors of light and dark masses. Even more: the artist not only paints, not only blends the color, but also applies to the psychology of the viewer, to the visual experience of the people, to their clichés and phantoms. A lot of these sides of the art remain outside the picture, as overtones in music do. All that witchcraft which is invisible, but it does sometimes snuck viewer to the bone. So artist, do – conjure! This is all related to the plastic component of art. But who can undo meaningful, “literary” side of the art?

When I studied art at the Art School, Claude Monet was painting in my God. Monet’s paintings, his works of the later period mostly, are quintessential of art of painting. But the figures, silhouettes in his work disappear, melt under the moving mass of color. Objects, buildings, nature become phantoms in ghosts. Impressionism, whose task was like, to bring people back to the world, actually obscures it, encodes it into a complex light-color patterns. Paintings become chromatic encrypted messages. Thus, the method immediately became obsolete. This once again proves that the method or style of conversation is only makes sense when embodied in a master and cannot be considered separately of one. I am still in love with the art of painting by Claude Monet, but I understand clearly: it’s not my way, I do not want to bury the image. I have discovered Pavel Filonov with his passion for art and a strong graphic discipline, I discovered painted world of Peter Brueghel, in which color and line work together very naturally. I mention here only two of Great Masters, as an excellent example of co-existence of organic color palette and graphics, but the list goes on. Graphic component of art is equally important as the coloristic. Each and every part of my work proves that.

Pencil drawing, this is what I value more than any other variety of graphic techniques, because it requires no special environment, such as studio and sophisticated equipment – only a pencil and paper, which are always with me. Some preferences still do exist – I love some special types of paper and pencils, but generally the lack of such conditions never kept me from drawing. The other side of my love to a simple pencil drawing is the flexibility of this method, its ability to instantly reflect my thoughts. That’s why many of my graphic work called “Improvisation”. They actually look like jazz improvisation. At the end of each line begins something new, unpredictable, what I’m thinking right now at this very moment about, it is a real ‘train of thoughts’.

My art work with the time passing, gradually become more abstract, sometimes very abstract. This, in general, does not depend on what I love, and I do not like in art. I’m not really a supporter of abstract art, or on the contrary – the realism, but ironically I perceive all sorts of applications, programs and manifestos in art. They exist and each one has rational part in it. I’m more a human being than a small part of the machine called ‘Art Market’, and more interested in basic composition of existence. If you ask me what style or direction of my pictures belong to, my answer is unlikely to satisfy you. Directions, styles and movements are only labels or brands, they help dealers to classify and sell art. An artist does not have to care about this issue. I like words such as realism, surrealism, abstract expressionism and so on. But these are only words, and I’m not good enough to describe my work. My work focuses on the things that are usually invisible, but play a role no less important than the visual forms. While many regard my works as anything else, but realistic, I think, it is realism, in its true, original meaning – to present an existence. And it can be Sur-, over- or B- realism? I only know that my work makes sense of concern for someone to resonate certain variations in the human soul. If this happens, there is no need for manifestos.

Art is not only a professional filling the space of the canvas with color and lines. It is much more complicated, and at the same time – simpler. All that is drawn or written becomes a symbol. Symbols form a combination, design and texture of the painting. Canvas or paper, is gradually transformed into living matter.

Sometimes I think of myself as a musician without a voice. And then what I use, paint and canvas – are my seven notes. It’s really very similar to the singing. Sing a song, when you want, listen to your inner tune, and be sincere.

Oleg Lipchenko, artist
LCSNA member, CANSCAIP member
phone: (1) 647 724 6940
email: Oleg@Lipchenko.com



View Oleg Lipchenko's Bio

Oleg Lipchenko is an artist, architect, designer, illustrator, and a member of the Ukrainian Union of Artists and Lewis Carroll Society of North America and CANSCAIP.

Oleg is graduated from Poltava’s Art School, where he studied the disciplines of painting, drawing, composition, sculpture, and history of arts in 1974. He achieved his Master degree in Architecture in Poltava’s University (Ukraine) in 1979. He studied such visual art disciplines as: painting, drawing, composition, sculpture, and history of arts, architectural design and history of architecture in the University. After graduation he worked as an Architect, designing residential and commercial projects and dedicated his spare time to Art. Oleg then taught students in an Art school in Kremenchug for several years. From the beginning of nineties, Oleg has been working as freelance Artist and Designer. In 1999 Oleg with his family moved to Canada, and since the he lives and works in Toronto.

In 2000, Oleg completed course and obtained Graphic/Multimedia designer diploma at Digital Media Studios in Toronto. After that he worked on two animation projects with Nelvana Animation and with Sullivan Animation.

In 2002 Oleg Lipchenko signed 2 years contract with IBM on Graphic designer position where he completed several print and web projects including Flash animation.

Oleg created a number of paintings in the style that can be characterized as a blend of surrealism, symbolism and abstract art. Medium: Painting, primarily in oils and also many different graphic techniques. His style can be described as symbolic, surrealistic, and plastically sophisticated, with the emphasis on the expressiveness.

He had about 30 exhibitions in Canada, Ukraine, Germany, France, Austria, and Luxembourg. His artworks are in museums, private and corporate collections, such as “Brita”, and Euro Stat (see images below).

In 2007, Oleg released his Limited Edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, being its designer, illustrator and publisher. The rights to this book have then been bought by Tundra Books, Toronto. Tundra Books has published their edition of Alice in Wonderland with Oleg’s illustrations in 2009, as well as a book of nursery rhymes ‘Humpty Dumpty and Others’ in 2010 and ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ by Lewis Carroll in 2011.



View Oleg Lipchenko's CV

PERSONAL: Born 1957, in Ukraine; immigrated to Canada, 1999; married; wife’s name Nataliya; children daughter Olga and son Dmytro. Nationality: Canadian Education: Attended Poltava Art School (diploma) and graduated Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) Poltava Technical University in Ukraine.

ADDRESSES: Home– 26 Plum Tree Way, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Email– oleg@lipchenko.com.

CAREER: Painter, graphic artist and book illustrator. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at museums and galleries in Canada and Europe, including City Museum, Kremenchug, Ukraine, 1987; Art Museum, Poltava, Ukraine, 1988; Centre Die Scheune, Geizenheim, Germany, 1992; Jean-Monnet Building, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 1993; Council of Europe, Avenue de l’Europe, Strasbourg, France 1994; House of the Artist, Kiev, Ukraine, 1995; Hoffbourg, Vienna, Austria 1996; Gallery Michelangelo, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2000-02; Arta Gallery, Toronto, 2004; Jacob Gallery, Toronto, 2006; and Bezpala Brown Gallery, Toronto, 2012; TIAF – Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto, 2012.

MEMBER: Lewis Carroll Society of North America, Ukrainian Union of Artists, Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.

AWARDS, HONORS: Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, International Board on Books for Young People–Canada, 2009, for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


  • Katja Kotja, The Handmade Sun, Esslinger Verlag (Stuttgart, Germany), 1994.
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Studio Treasure (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2007, new edition, Tundra Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2009.
  • (And selector) Humpty Dumpty and Friends: Nursery Rhymes for the Young at Heart, Studio Treasure (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2008, new edition, Tundra Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2010.
  • Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, Tundra Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2012.


A Ukrainian-born Canadian artist, Oleg Lipchenko earned the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for his version of the Lewis Carroll masterpiece Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Lipchenko, who spent some three decades creating his work, noted that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland offered a host of artistic challenges, particularly the need to create order from Carroll’s nonsensical text. As he noted in an Open Book: Toronto interview with Clelia Scala, “Lewis Carroll was an artist, but his task didn’t require him to make the story follow the logical reason of the real world. However, it remains a task for [the] illustrator.”

Lipchenko’s edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland earned praise for its sophisticated and dramatic artwork. “Lipchenko’s illustrations, in monochromatic sepia and black-and-white tones, combine precisely drawn detail with broad architectural perspectives,” Joy Fleishhacker commented in School Library Journal. The artist “creates a dense canvas for the unfolding story,” Lois Peterson observed in Resource Links, and Deirdre Baker noted in the Toronto Star that the pictures are “sinuous, crowded and oppressive in just the way Alice feels Wonderland, with its volatile inhabitants and arbitrary ways.”

Lipchenko’s other illustration projects include creating the art for his own Humpty Dumpty and Friends: Nursery Rhymes for the Young at Heart. Featuring such childhood favorites as “Rock-a-Bye, Baby” and “There Was a Crooked Man,” as well as lesser-known rhymes, the anthology will appeal to readers of all ages, critics predicted. A Publishers Weekly reviewer cited the “highly detailed and surreal nature of Lipchenko’s illustrations” as a highlight of the volume, and Valerie Nielsen, writing in the Canadian Review of Materials, concluded that the “rhymes Lipchenko has selected provides wonderful scope for his amazingly clever and detailed artwork.”



  • Canadian Review of Materials, March 19, 2010, review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; October 1, 2010, Valerie Nielsen, review of Humpty Dumpty and Friends: Nursery Rhymes for the Young at Heart.
  • Children’s Bookwatch, September, 2010, Valerie Nielsen, review of Humpty Dumpty and Friends.
  • Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2010, review of Humpty Dumpty and Friends.
  • Publishers Weekly, August 9, 2010, review of Humpty Dumpty and Friends, p. 50.
  • Resource Links, December, 2009, Lois Peterson, review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, p. 13.
  • School Library Journal, February, 2010, Joy Fleishhacker, review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, p. 106; October, 2010, Joan Kindig, review of Humpty Dumpty and Friends, p. 100.
  • Knight Letter (the official magazine of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America), #80 – Summer 2008, Andrew Sellon, review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, p. 43.
  • Knight Letter #89 – Winter 2012, Doug Howick, review of The Hunting of the Snark, p. 43.


  • Oleg Lipchenko Home Page, http://www.lipchenko.com (October 1, 2012).
  • Open Book: Toronto Web site, http://www.openbooktoronto.com/ (December 4, 2009), Clelia Scala, “Ten Questions with Oleg Lipchenko.”
  • Studio Treasure Web site, http://alice.studiotreasure.com/ (October 1, 2012).
  • Toronto Star Online, http://www.thestar.com/ (January 17, 2010), Deirdre Baker, “Small Print: Alice through Another Glass.”*
  • Oleg Lipchenko CANSCAIP page,



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