Name: Nicholai Farber (aka. @yoshikisblue)
Preferred Medium: Drawing, Writing, Poetry and Comics
Nicholai is a self-taught illustrator by craft, and a storyteller by compulsion. His most recent publication is Torontovka, an urban horror comic about the challenges of coming to terms with one's identity from within an insular immigrant community, featured in the freshly-launched Shout Out Anthology. Between personal projects and commission work, Nicholai is an occasional art instructor. He currently organizes a series of costumed figure drawing sessions in Newmarket, Ontario. He also regularly collaborates with many newcomer, LGBTQ2SIA+ and HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations, creating media and promotional materials for awareness-raising campaigns and community outreach programs.
What is integral to your work as an artist?
Authenticity. A sense of getting to the heart of the matter, regardless of how messy or difficult that truth may be.
What has been the most influential moment in your life?
I have to admit there has been no single moment. Perhaps it would be most accurate to say that being confronted by human extremes, suffocatingly painful and unspeakably happy by turns, has shaped me into a person willing to depict the world as flawed, but nonetheless brimming with hope. I prefer to leave the details to my work, where I am better able to express something so deeply personal.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I gravitate towards exploring the intersections of queer and trans identity, ethnoreligious diaspora experiences, class conflict, and mental health. Often, I do this through the lens of fantasy. The distance fantasy provides allows me to delve more earnestly into emotionally challenging subject matter that is so intimately tied to my own life.
Who or what is your inspiration?
The incredible resilience of my friends and family (chosen and otherwise) in the face of hardship.