You’ve probably seen Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” remastered in many forms: with mosaic tiles, on canvas shoes, in stained glass, projected in 360 degrees on the walls of a warehouse, and even in LEGO bricks. Now, with the help of air-dry clay, one artist has found yet another way to portray that classic piece, creating an entirely new genre of art in the process.
Sweden-based artist Alisa Lariushkina uses sculpting tools to fashion the intricate details on her re-creations of famous paintings, mostly those of Van Gogh and Monet. She also creates bright, inviting landscapes inspired by the world around her.
Describing her work, Lariushkina says, “I make figures and framed landscapes of clay. I developed my own style in 2015. I use various materials for sculpting: air-dry clay, paper clay, acrylic paints, crystals, and beads. …I can tell you that I came to [clay sculpting] quite spontaneously…Since then, I improved the technology, found the best materials, and made my products more durable and of better quality. I have made a lot of designs and still do new ones.”
With no formal training, the artist played around with the Japanese air-dry polymer material until she learned to bend the clay just right with her hands. The various pieces are then glued in place individually. One picture of an autumnal tree shows her work in process. She first paints the background and then typically works from the bottom up, filling in the scene with clay, placing larger chunks with her fingers, and using her tools to turn and twist the smallest ones into tight spaces.
Air-dry clay, as the name suggests, hardens at room temperature, as opposed to more traditional art oven-bake clay. Lariushkina’s choice of medium means no kiln or excessive curing is necessary fo the substance to solidify into a permanent tactile shape.
The three-dimensional effect is playfully impressionistic. Her landscapes seem to come alive with layered curves of swaying green or gold grass and swirling blue skies. Wavy ripples are often texturally contrasted with a wash of tightly wound coils. Sometimes she shapes the clay into bulbous tufts to act as rocks or clouds in her layouts.
Her scenes depict everything from bucolic fields and seaside sunsets to marshlands and ocean floors. And while those landscapes are stunning, Lariushikina has also posted pictures of beautifully sculpted animal ornaments. In these, her clay spirals and loops fill the insides of polar bears, mice, butterflies, and delicate hummingbirds. The artist has even turned her curlicues into unique jewelry like tiny brooches and necklaces.
Alisa’s work is primarily available on her Etsy shop LiskaFlower, but she sells prints of her versions of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Cypresses,” as well as one of a summer field, on other platforms. She recently stated on her Etsy shop that she tries to update her offerings with at least one new landscape a month. Her style has been so popular lately that she stays busy making custom pieces year-round.
Fans can also follow her work on her Instagram page.