Best known for creating dreamscape shadow box art, visual narrative artist Daria Aksenova uses paper to tell stories of mythology and folklore. Each compact, 3D composition is made from layers of suspended hand-cut and inked paper, meticulously arranged inside decorative box frames. The self-taught artist draws from her past experience in the fashion and film industries, creating stunning visual narratives that spark the imagination.
“I have always been fascinated with storytelling, starting with childhood bedside fables and mythology,” says Aksenova. “My mission is to bring back our childhood imaginations that are drowned out by the everyday bustle in our ever-busy lives.” Taking many hours to complete, each shadow box is full of enchanting hand-drawn details that illustrate imaginary worlds and the creatures living within. Aksenova reveals, “I choose my settings and subject material to draw the viewer back to the folklore and myths of their youth, hoping to create artwork that inspires the dreamer within.”
One piece, titled Kitsune-Ken, tells the tale of a Japanese fox who can shape-shift into a beautiful woman. In another work, called The Hunt, the same hybrid creature is depicted with an arrow through her chest, revealing a two-part narrative of her heartbreaking love story. “This piece is an exploration and introspective study on the initial shock and the creeping feeling of loss from the pain of betrayal and the breakage of trust that occurs within interpersonal relationships,” says Aksenova. Other works depict a carousel in the clouds, an enchanted forest, and even a shark in outer space. No matter the narrative, Aksenova’s shadow boxes all have one thing in common—the ability to transport the viewer into magical fairytale worlds.
If you’re in New York, you can see Aksenova’s mesmerizing work during her solo show at Haven Art Gallery from February 23 through March 31, 2019.