BEHIND THE ARTIST – ROMAN ISMAGILOV FOR R. CULTURI

R.
CULTURI IS A MEN’S ACCESSORIES BRAND UNLIKE ANY OTHER YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED. INSPIRED BY CREATING 100% ORIGINAL ARTWORK, OWNER ANTON BROVCHENKO’S SOLITARY GOAL WAS TO FIND AND COLLABORATE WITH ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND PROVIDE A DIVERSE RANGE OF ONE-OF-A-KIND PIECES. SOME OF THE ARTISTS YOU WILL FIND IN HIS COLLECTION ARE CLASSICALLY TRAINED PAINTERS, ILLUSTRATORS, AND DIGITAL ARTISTS. NO AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE OR CACHET PLAYED A ROLE IN HIS SELECTION PROCESS. HE SIMPLY CHOSE INDIVIDUALS WHOSE WORK AND STYLE WERE DISTINCTIVE, ENGAGING AND MIGHT BE ALLURING TO HIS CUSTOMERS. HIS PHILOSOPHY IS TO CELEBRATE THE ARTIST AS MUCH AS THEIR WORK AND TO GIVE A VOICE TO THESE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS WHO MAY NOT HAVE OTHERWISE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE THEMSELVES ON A GLOBAL STAGE. R. CULTURI’S ACCESSORIES ARE UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT THAN YOUR AVERAGE “EXPECTED” POCKET SQUARES, TIES AND SCARVES. BROVCHENKO PRODUCES HIS PRODUCTS OUT OF THE COMO REGION OF ITALY. WORKING WITH FAMILY-OWNED MILLS AND FACTORIES TO ENSURE THAT EVERY ACCESSORY IS CREATED FROM START TO FINISH BY LOCAL CRAFTSMEN WITH DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN FABRIC PRINTING AND TEXTILE PRODUCTION.

WE RECENTLY MET WITH BROVCHENKO TO INQUIRE ABOUT R. CULTURI’S MOST POPULAR PRODUCTS, “KNIGHT’S MOVE” AND “BOUND BY CULTURE” POCKET SQUARES. BOTH ARE TOP SELLERS AT R. CULTURI BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE ARTIST WHO CREATED THEM. BEING BASED IN NEW YORK CITY ALLOWED US TO MEET WITH BOTH ANTON BROVCHENKO AND RUSSIAN-BORN ARTIST, ROMAN ISMAGILOV TO TALK MORE ABOUT THEIR COLLABORATION. THOUGH HE SPENDS HIS DAY JOB DESIGNING FOR DIGITAL DEVICES, ISMAGILOV WAS COMMISSIONED TO CREATE TWO ARTWORKS FOR R.CULTURI. HE STATED THAT WHILE HE LIKES PAINTING AND SKETCHING, ULTIMATELY HE DECIDED TO PRODUCE THE ART DIGITALLY WHILE MAINTAINING A MORE UNORTHODOX, HAND-DRAWN LOOK. IN ADDITION TO HIS INTERVIEW, GENUINE MEN’S MAGAZINE WAS ABLE TO HARMONIOUSLY WORK WITH HAND MADE MEN’S JACKET MAKER, NIKKY NEW YORK. TOGETHER, WE PUT TOGETHER 3 CLASSIC MENSWEAR LOOKS AIMED AT BEAUTIFULLY DISPLAYING ROMAN ISMAGILOV ARTWORK FOR R. CULTURI. YOU’LL QUICKLY NOTICE HOW R. CULTURI’S HAND-CRAFTED PRODUCTS CAN ULTIMATELY FIT INTO YOUR CLASSIC WARDROBE AND MAKE YOU LOOK TIMELESS AND EXQUISITELY SOPHISTICATED.


ROMAN, CAN YOU TELL OUR AUDIENCE ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN DESIGN?

I grew up in Russia until about the age of 11. Right before my 11th birthday, my mother and I moved to upstate New York. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, so art was always very prevalent in my life. Once I got to college, I instinctively took up graphic design.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DESIGN BOTH “KNIGHT’S MOVE” AND “BOUND BY CULTURE” SQUARES? DO THEY SPEAK OF A CERTAIN TIME IN YOUR LIFE PERSONALLY OR WERE YOUR INTENTIONS TO VISUALIZE A PARTICULAR EMOTION?

I think it was more of the latter. I wanted the pieces to be authentic, something you wouldn’t usually see on a pocket square, but also regal and timeless pieces of art. I wanted the person wearing them to be able to enjoy them for the imagery, as well as clothing accessories.

WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING PART ABOUT SEEING YOUR DESIGN BECOME SO SUCCESSFUL FOR R. CULTURI? AS A DESIGNER, DO YOU FIND THAT IT’S DIFFICULT TO APPEAL TO OTHERS CREATIVELY, OR DO YOU JUST SIMPLY DESIGN WHAT YOU LIKE AND SEE HOW OTHERS REACT TO IT?

For me, it was simply seeing people wearing my artwork. That’s a very satisfying feeling. I think knowing your audience is everything. You have to know what you are trying to say and to whom you are speaking to. Once you figure out those two things, there should still be plenty of room for being creative.

HOW DOES THE IDEA OF WEARING YOUR OWN ART RESONATE WITH YOU? HOW DO YOU BELIEVE BRANDS LIKE R. CULTURI HELP ASPIRING ARTISTS WITH THEIR VOICE?

As long as you’re not wearing only your own art all the time, I think that’s ok. There is no reason not to, if you believe in your work, which is a must. I’m very thankful for brands like this one for the way they search for their talent. There are so many great artists out there that might not be the loudest voices on the block just yet. Brands like R. Culturi push artists to find their own voice in telling their story through their art. I think that is the best way to get the highest quality product you can from an artist.

WHAT DO YOU THINK DIFFERENTIATES R.CULTURI PRODUCTS TO OTHERS YOU’VE SEEN IN THE MARKET?

When it comes to R. Culturi, I think it’s easy to recognize you are seeing something different. Their designs are rich in creativity and background. They get their work from all over the world. All their designs have different styles and stories, no one design is alike.

WHILE A POCKET SQUARE MAY SEEM LIKE JUST A PIECE OF FABRIC, WHAT DO YOU FEEL IT REPRESENTS TO THE GENTLEMEN WHO WEAR IT?

A pocket square gives you an opportunity to add some more creativity to what you are wearing. You can go subtle, or choose something that stands out on its own and accents your whole outfit, it’s really up to you. I think R. Culturi pocket squares are a bit more than that, the wearer knows what he has folded is an actual piece of art, and not just a generic pattern of a certain color.

WHAT’S BEEN ONE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED THUS FAR DURING THE PROCESS OF DESIGNING FOR R. CULTURI? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO ARTISTS WHO FEEL RELUCTANT TO PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING THAT MIGHT NOT GENERALLY BE THEIR STRENGTH?

What I took away from working with R. Culturi is that you should always be trying new things. That’s how you grow. Even if it’s not your strength, try it! Put yourself out there, make some mistakes, get uncomfortable. Crack your shell and keep growing!

WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU SEE SO MANY CUSTOMERS RESONATING WITH YOUR WORK?

I am extremely appreciative. As much as it is motivational and inspiring, it is also humbling. You remember that no matter how good you get and how amazing your work is, the most important thing is the communication between you and your audience. For them to feel what you felt when making the design. If you can communicate that properly, I think you’ve done your job as an artist.

CULTURI AND NIKKY NEW YORK COLLABORATED TO PUT 3 LOOKS TOGETHER USING BOTH OF YOUR POCKET SQUARE DESIGNS. FURTHERMORE, THEY ASKED YOU TO MODEL THEM. WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE BEING IN SPOTLIGHT RATHER THAN JUST DOING THE ARTWORK? AS AN ARTIST, IS THIS SOMETHING THAT WAS COMFORTABLE TO YOU? STRESSFUL?

It was definitely an interesting experience. As an artist you focus all your time for your work to be in the spotlight, so this was something new. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m thankful to R. Culturi and Nikki New York for the opportunity.

DURING OUR PHOTO SHOOT, YOU MENTIONED THE LOOKS YOU WERE RECEIVING FROM PEOPLE WHILE WALKING AROUND. IS DRESSING LIKE THIS SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD? WHY DO YOU THINK DRESSING THIS WAY CREATES SUCH ATTENTION TO THE PUBLIC?

Yes it definitely resonates with people I think. To the person wearing it, it is a reflection of how they feel inside, knowledge of self, and a mastery of this knowledge. I think that sends out a certain kind of energy that others pick up on, and it encourages them to feel the same way.

WE THINK YOU HAVE A MODELING CAREER AHEAD OF YOU, ANY THOUGHTS ON A CAREER CHANGE?

I certainly wouldn’t shy away from any future collaborations, but I love what I do now!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO OUR AUDIENCE?

I want to thank Steven from Genuine Men’s Magazine and Anton from R. Culturi for getting me involved in this feature. It’s been fun and I appreciate how it all came together. If anyone wants to contact me for any artistic commissions, you can do so HERE. Also, make sure to go buy a pocket square from Anton at R. Culturi.

YOU CAN GO BUY AN R.CULTURI POCKET SQUARE DESIGNED
BY ROMAN ISMAGILOV HERE

About The Author: StevenDElliott

Steven is the founder of Genuine Men’s Magazine. He graduated Drexel University with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. Along with his passion for photography and design, Steven loves helping men find new and emerging menswear brands and offer his opinions when it comes to real-life situations.