Inspiration

The Art of Hideous: Sadan and His Creations

Ukrainian artist Sadan has been inventing and drawing all kinds of monsters and mutants for a while now. Recently, though, he has envisioned a creature that lives not in his imagination alone — the swinedog, a personification of Russian looter soldiers. Sadan told Bird in Flight how reality turned out much scarier than his worst ideas of it.

The monsters that Sadan has been creating for over a decade already are aesthetically reminiscent of the Alien and other works of Swiss painter Hans Rüdi Giger. They all inhabit the world of Sadania — something in between a zoo and a reserve. The author himself calls his output the art of hideous and believes it’s too marginal for the domestic audience. At least, that’s how it used to be. Now, his creatures have become relatable and relevant in Ukraine, too.

Vasyl Palianytsia (Sadan)

A Ukrainian artist and sculptor. Born in the Khmelnytskyi Region in 1985, he is a Lviv National Academy of Arts alumnus specializing in Artworks Restoration. As of late, he has been doing 3D modelling for the game and film industries, living and working in Lviv.

— I find it hard to do creative work now because the war occupies my thoughts all day long. I start reading the news channels on Telegram first thing in the morning. The news and thoughts about the war were especially paralyzing in the first weeks. I even had to turn down a few projects because I couldn’t do anything creative.

The tipping point was when all those horrible details of the atrocities committed in the Kyiv Region became known. It was the first time I cried, perhaps. Also, this is where I realized that I had to keep working and help our army and our country in any way I could, no matter what. We couldn’t let those barbarians win.

Some of Sadan`s pre-war works

The news and thoughts about the war were paralyzing. I had to turn down a few projects because I couldn’t do anything creative.

“Even Elder Gods support Ukraine. How about you?” (2022)
“Even Elder Gods support Ukraine. How about you?” (2022)
“The expectant mother in Mariupol” (2022)
“The expectant mother in Mariupol” (2022)

My works are all rendered 3D models — they are actually digital sculptures. It takes me a few days to make one, but sometimes it might drag on for weeks.

My “Second Army in the World” piece is a generalized image of Russian soldiers. It took the web by storm because it reflects everything about their army that we see in the news — not how it’s painted by the Kremlin’s propaganda, but how it really is. It’s not an army of honourable and proud soldiers. It’s an army of dumb shag-rags that takes pride in torture, rape, and looting — the shag-rags stealing women’s underwear, children’s toys, and toilet bowls.

Z Nation depicts spineless lapdogs — the quiescent people of Russia. Now that we have seen how much support Putin has in Russia and how savage the Russian soldiers are, I would change the image of a typical Russian, picturing them rather as aggressive, angry Neanderthals.

It took the web by storm because it has everything about their army that we see in the news.

“Second Army in the World” (2022)
“Second Army in the World” (2022)
“Second Army in the World” (2022)
“Second Army in the World” (2022)
“Second Army in the World” (2022)
“Z Nation” (2022)
“Z Nation” (2022)

I felt the first hints of the future escalation on the part of Russia way back when the Maidan started. The sudden occupation of Crimea was very much indicative of our neighbour’s intentions. Therefore, in 2014, I totally understood that a big war was coming for sure. However, it is already apparent that the war between Russia and Ukraine has been inevitable in any case since Ukraine became independent. Moreover, this existential war has been continuing in one way or another since the very inception of Muscovy. It couldn’t accept the fact of our — Ukrainians’ — existence, and it can’t do it to this day.

After the war, I will probably switch to serene and warm images. The reality turned out to be much scarier than the worst things imaginable.

After the war, I will probably switch to serene and warm images.

I currently have an audience in the USA — I sent my works for a few exhibitions there — though I have yet to find my place in the domestic art landscape. I don’t showcase my work anywhere except online because I see no need to.

“St. Javeline” (2022)
“St. Javeline” (2022)
“Poo” (2019)
“Poo” (2019)
“The Ones Who Meet Invaders to Show a Proper Way to Hell” (2022)
“The Ones Who Meet Invaders to Show a Proper Way to Hell” (2022)

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