Serguey Cheshkin born 1957
professional (book) graphic artist and book designer,
Khabarovsk, Far East of Russia

Serguey Cheskin's design Serguey CheskinSerguey Cheshkin, BookMaster

Graduated from the Fine Arts Faculty of Khabarovsk Pedagogical Institute (currently, Pedagogical University) in 1980 and is working for domestic Khabarovsk Territorial Publishing House and its later offsprings ever since - as well as for several newly born private ones. The overall amount of books he designed exceeds three hundred now. 1 "The late cry" here currently is private / personal book publishing what he is serving as well.

Proto- "Copywriter"

When book design is his speciality though, he possesses with the strong professional reputation as a graphic artist and the reputation of some specific feeling and designed trademarks / logotypes on direct orders from industrial enterprizes etc.

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As a student, Serguey used to strum guitar in a student rock-group and - in his personal forever since established hippydom ... - was always very fond of music. Indeed, artists are pretty often tasteful listeners at least. These are not only their genetical code and psyche that are so kindred to music. Their lonely hours with clean canvas / list of paper and paints/Indian ink - and background music ... - make them being so able, and Serguey is the example.

Amazingly, he was rather in art-rock and was never introduced to jazz, improvised, music concrete etc until his works for domestic jazz circles. Instead, he has experienced strong ethno influence from the traditions of the root people of Amur-river basin ... - and even when rather on (isolated enough from the very grass roots position of non-traveller, some artistic hermit...2 ) verbal, artistic, poetic, literary - not too much of music! - level, 3though, it was enough for him ...

Young Tiger Roars ...

click for bigger  image... to create Amur tiger-club Kesha 4 logotype (1985) on a request from the domestic Jazz Section of Music Society (or so...). Made more or less with international standards / orientation in mind, Kesha 4 turned out to be the strong impetus to uprise domestic jazz activity (as the more / less conscious process, with unique-to-the-region details...) and just the year later (and due to Perestroyka, of course ...), Kesha have became both the matter of proud and the official trademark of (pan-Far East of USSR) JAZZ-ON-AMUR festival in Khabarovsk ('86-'91). Serguey designed all forthcoming posters of the festival also.

click for bigger  image Amur tiger-cub Kesha was one of the most personalized and humanized logotypes in (late?) Soviet jazz. 5 It is only the peculiarities of the very time and the distance of Khabarovsk from the heart of USSR that had prevented both the fest's logotype and its mother artist from enough of reputation within jazz circles pretty successfully ...

click for bigger  imageIt is interesting, how lucky Serguey has - involuntarily? ... - managed to reproduce the very courage of time here in Kesha.4 Just look: It is the face of newcoming (to the field), young, growing, adventurous, joyful, positive, constructive, hopeful - and naive! - (domestic, distant from the centres ...) generation, instantly released from (just the smallest part of, though ...) its fetters 6 ... It is equally symbolic, the festival was over in 1991, killed with the Gaidar's "shocking therapy" as the next wave of incoming wild capitalism etc.

Ashes of Tchurtchzeng Empire10

click for bigger  imageDuring closer-to mid-Perstroyka (1988), the spiral-like "face of death" logotype (or "snout" on our inner slang) have emerged from Serguey to become the trademark of an indie-like ethno-impro oriented "Kesha's Arts and Musics" (1989). This time, it is something both horrifying, hidden, unriddled, mystical - and even a bit cruel and cynical5 - in the "white-on-black" type of logo (where the absolutely identical - except for the reverse colouring - version looks more peaceful). 5 When Serguey tells it is nothing special in this pretty common (in ethno world) spiral, his - seems, common ... - attitude to humanization proved to be the impression in a borrowing some piece of a spirit from really mighty Tchurtchzengs Empire era (pre-Tamerlan, at mid-to-low current of Amur-river basin) here. Strangely for us, in no degree the experts on the ethno field surely, "the snout" turned out to be more/less similar enough to the Scottish national triangle one ...

The Face of "Friendly British Invasion" ...

click for bigger  image ... tour, a (A1) poster was modelled by Serguey "a bit consciously" (colour, etc) under the one from "Indie Musicians to the of Africa" festival (Moscow, 1989) and designed under the impression from music of SHAMS and Ken Hyder - as well as some unintelligible requests from the tour producer ...

Of no our particular impressions from the very tour though, the poster was the success: there existed nothing like this back than generally ... nothing like that ...

In 1994, during his happy stay in USA, the producer reduced the poster/JF's article (by means of the mighty "domestic US" polygraphic base ...) on-the-run to a raw prototype leaflet / flyer just to give domestic (US) music people some impression of Russia made with both Russian feeling of an artist and the authentic language and senses of external observer (Ken Hyder). He was amazed when (stranged...) both agressive skinhead and haired and intelligent looking punk-like people showed the thumb-up (or so equivalent ...) and asked for extra samples for their friends!

Seven years plus later producer has recalled the deficient graffities at last and so the poster's final offspring leaflet / flyer (A4) was born to bring a tribute to sponsors - initially, to bring it to Internet - incidentally ...

The Tour Partner

click for bigger  imageAll his experience with music encoding and the benevolent personality have made Serguey the welcomed assistant during the tour. When hardly fluent in English, he turned out the right person to communicate to Brits diplomatically and deserved the high rank of (the newly developed kinda order ...) sobakaman6 from them... It seems like them enjoyed talking to him ... - and that provided so less turbulence indeed ...

Tales of the Russian East ...

All these ethnic pictures (and much more really) Serguey designed (by hand, scanned, painted in PhotoPaint or so) in '99, on special request from Khabarovsk Territory Administration to design a schoolbook, ABC or so, for smallest Udege 7 kids (6-7-8). ... and the book was released the same year - in Udege 7 language of course 11 ...

click for bigger  image The pair of the pictures are from famous Russian tales (bear - from "Terem-Termok"/i.e. "Attic"; mouse - from "Kolobok" / i.e. "Round Loaf"). Incorporated obligato, they occupy insignificant place in the total amount of generally more ethnic book.

Other ones are more exotic and so more interesting for all of us ...

The man with a spear is not a man and rather the very Sun instead; the fallen down girl from other picture is a seal really ... Both pictures are from Udege's "Man-the-Half" tale.

Old man and woman together; running man wearing a caldron on his head - both pictures are to "The Seagull" tale.

At last, "two girls climbing the mount" and "a girl and man with a spear, a mount behind them" are pictures to the "Gamuli" (female name) tale.

"We're not telling the tales here now ..." - so I hope we shall be able to place some sample of it in the Web some day later. All those pro-interested ones can ask Serguey for more by e-mail.

End of a Tiger's Tail ...

but last not least: a new picture, from a series of children books!

I hope, you enjoyed travelling through his logos and pictures here in the Web - as I am always doing (due to rather unfinished conditions - with less comfort, though ...) during all the years of our acquaintance.


I believe Serguey is the great one on his own field, not everywhere of course ... when I don't know him even fully after 16+ years of knowledge, for he is rather shy etc. For example, he may be good in painting ... - when he possesses with the kind of a gift strong enough to impress, beast-like ethnic feeling and the feeling of - ethnic - line and form and a style. (This all have brought him an unique position among - well developed ... - artistic circles of Khabarovsk and popularity among customers, including the officials.)

Khabarovsk is known to (ethno) artistic world due to the really talented artist like Gennady Pavlishin who has created an unique ethno style of his own well over 30 years before, obtained international recognition after "Amur Tales" book (Golden Prize at Leipzig Book Fair) in early 70ies and enjoyed the situation and the status of some Court Artist for years until now. Currently, Pavlishin has abandoned graphics totally - for some (more expensive in trade ...) mosaic works made out of endemic Far-Eastern minerals. (Besides, he is not too much satisfied with this world and is totally locked for an external intercourse unconditionally ...)

Maybe just on its way to something more yet, Serguey is the logical continuator of the "adopted ethno" artistic tradition at Far East of Russia, and - maybe - the next one to the same Pavlishin - at least potentially.

Boris A. Podkosov, a buddy and an admirer

       N o t e s

1 Among others, "Tchevengur" by Andrey Platonov, "Evenings on the Farmsted Near Dikan'ka " by Nickolay Gogol, "The Lost World" by Arthur Konan-Doyle.
2 Who works at home - and all-the-night-round exclusively: leaving the daytime for family, meeting of incoming friends and rare excursions to publisher etc.
3 Among other influences, he illustrated books of rhymes of such renowned domestic (Soviet ...) poets as Jansi Kimonko (Udege7), Gregory Hodger and Nikolay Beldy (Nani8 people).
4 Kesha is a diminitive/endearing from original Innokenty - (Christian?) male name that was particularly popular among the ?ossa?ks, pioneers of Eastern Siberia / some parts of Western Far East (far behind to East from Baykal lake, Zabaykal'e) during up to XVIII (and is popular in Siberia until now).
Blended with domestic Siberian population, the very Cossacs became a sort of micro-ethnos of their own: they obtained a bit Mongoloid/Sina-like features and (ironic?) name "gurans" (in Buryat language, the term stands for the name of male deer/goat blend-like or so type of domestic animal (don't know the right English term now, apologies).
In the second half of XIX and pioneering of Amur-river (due to Russia/China's Aigun Treaty of 1855), guran Cossacs came to Amur as both pioneering engineering troops and migrants.
With root people of Amur-river basin dragging in Christianity, the name Kesha had became particularly popular among - fishing / hunting practicing - root Nani8 people already. Later in XX, the name came out of Russian use generally - when was staying popular among Nani8. A slight disdain to Nani8 people (among less edicated / less ethical Russians) resulted in the unjust and mocking (even more diminitive from Kesha) name/term Keshka.
At the same time, Amur-river basin based type of a longer wool tiger (Amur tiger as the official term) is pretty endemic sub-species of the greater one and the only one in the world of such a Northern areal of live (mid-North and South of Khabarovsk Territory), with Winter temperatures below -40'C! It is probably the most big and strong type of a tiger as species equally.
Root minorities of Amur-river basin call a tiger "amba" and esteem him as some tribal native. Their very ancient tradition prevents them from not only hunting / shooting - and even resisting him: for them different all consider a tiger both embodiment of their own tribe(s) retired souls and the upper divinity equally.
With all this history in mind, you can easily join the name Kesha to Amur tiger yourselves ...
All in all, Amur tiger is some symbol both unique to the region and international in scale (as tiger species per se geographically resided in South Asia etc) really to represent this distant territories - Khabarovsk Territory and Far East of Russia. (Tiger is even presented at the emblem of Khabarovsk Territory - now, years later, but not as the main person and rather next to the "principal" Himalayan Bear ... (what lives here as well)).
The sporadic tradition of impersonation of a tiger into trademarks/symbols have existed here in Khabarovsk earlier already - with say some symbol of domestic Bendy World Championship of early 80ies - but nothing more than just dull symbol, no life in its eyes ...
5 This is the subjective opinion of the author of the text, no more - that you certainly should not share, of course.
6 Something like "man-the-dog", means "improvisor" - the term from the inner slang of the tour. Look "Anatomy of the Tour" for more ...
7 Very small (several hundred or so) root people of the South of Khabarovsk Teritory, near borders to Primorsky Territory (you understand me when I'll mention Vladivostok as the capitol of the latter). Resided in places of the former wild forests (i.e. "deaf tayga" in Russian) and (much smaller than Amur but rather) wild rivers, pretty much changed with chemical etc industry currently. Before, a bit fisherment and great hunters ... 9,10
8 Small ( and big enough due to our standards - over 20 thousand or so, seems the biggest of minorities) root people of the very Amur-river (mid-to-low current) basin with some cultural influence from China. (Part of them even lives in dedicated districts of China until now.) Fishermen and hunters ...
9 ...who have never shot a tiger in their life ... - and they follow the tradition now.
10Both (and other) - peaceful! - minorities are considered the splinters of the ancient - martial and incredibly civilized ... - Tchurchzengs (and their empire) who had been disseminated by Tamerlan and his natives across tayga almost millenium ago (to loose most of the civilization - but not the art and traditions).
11 In Cyrillic letters: for Udege (as well as Nani and other minorities) had no any written language before, until 30ies when it was created from scratch (initially, in Roman alphabet!).

Contact: Serguey Cheskin
Khabarovsk, Far East, Russia