Despite drawing and being involved in art and illustration from a young age, I deliberately chose to major in a non-fine art but still artsy field in college (Interior Design), because I thought I wanted nothing to do with the art world. I found it to be too intimidating for an introvert like myself. After graduation I worked a myriad of jobs, none of which were art related, and none of which I found very fulfilling. It wasn’t until I found out about Etsy in 2013, and decided to put a few of my hand painted mugs and prints up for sale, that I started to seriously consider art as a profession.
Etsy made it easy for me by providing a wall between myself and the harshness of the art world, the “internet wall.” I really needed that anonymity at the time to share my art with the world. My shop has changed a lot from those early days, though my most popular item remains the coffee mug.
As Etsy has rapidly grown, I have had to grow as well. I used to think that being “on trend” was the key to success, but then I realized that all of the mug and print shops were starting to look the same, and commonality was winning over uniqueness. I made the change away from that by focusing on art that made me happy to make. I find that most of my customers are those who have loved ones living far away from themselves and want to give them a gift they can use everyday that reminds them of each other and the importance of that relationship. The most satisfying part of running my Etsy shop is hearing about those kinds of stories via emails and reviews people write me.
I love drawing animals and the relationships we share with them as humans. To me, the bonds I share with my own companion animals (two bunnies), as well as those I happen to meet on the street or a friends house, always seem immediate and lifelong. I am definitely that person who hangs out with the dog all night at a house party.
The innate goodness of animals has always been something I have drawn strength from and drawing them gives me great comfort. I often use the juxtaposition of an innocent animal in an environment where they don’t quite belong, somehwere cold and possibly sinister, to reflect the frustration and awe I feel about fitting into the world around me. I think that my color palette also comes from growing up watching old Ukrainian and Russian cartoons on a fuzzy television, cartoons that were made for children but often had melancholy imagery and a haunting soundtrack that seemed to hang in the air of my childhood in post Soviet Union, Ukraine.
Yuliya Pieletskaya was born in Odessa, Ukraine, but spent the later half of her childhood in upstate New York. She studied design and business at the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating in 2012 with an A.A.S in Interior Design and a B.S. in Marketing. Since then, alongside working on commissions and freelance illustration work, Yuliya has been designing, making, and selling her own collection of greeting cards, prints and coffee mugs on Etsy. Her illustrations draw on themes of nature, eastern European art, and a love for animals, as well as more mysterious and melancholy themes.