Sexy American pinups of the ’40s and ’50s take a special place in the hearts of post-Soviet artists. When pinups were on the rise in the States, the Soviet government had decisively excluded such “bourgeois decadence” from the culture of the builders of communism. Instead, Soviet men were encouraged to rest their eyes on the portraits of exemplary workers and collective farmers who happened to be women, painted in the tradition of socialist realism.
Today, feeling nostalgic for that which never was, artists in different parts of the former USSR are trying to reconstruct the missing link in their cultural evolution – either by drawing a series of clever mashups, mixing vintage American pinup girls with Soviet propaganda posters, or by visualizing scantily clad retro-babes in classic pin-up poses but with Soviet enthusiastic fire in their eyes, who can only exist in an imaginary alternative timeline, in which the Soviet government hadn’t been so zealous in suppressing the sexuality of its citizens.
And today, Ukrainian graphic artist Sviatoslav Pashchuk is bringing back military-styled pinups – after all, it was during World War II that the pinup culture was born originally, satisfying the need of American GIs to gaze at creatures of beauty in the midst of cruel wartime brutality.
Now that a brutal war is raging in the east of Ukraine, the new series is quickly becoming a hot item among Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, who are defending their country against the Russian aggression. The guys are grateful to the artist for the diversion. They get the reference, admitting that this patriotic erotica is even sweeter to their eyes than it was to the American GIs during WWII. These pinups are also a reminder of the bigger world they had left behind and to which they hope to return after the war is over. Alas, not all of them will.
Each pinup is dedicated to a different branch of armed service or a volunteer battalion, accompanied by humorous and often rhymed patriotic slogans, with a warning at the bottom in fine print: “separatism is dangerous to your health.”
The artist is offering them for sale with the understanding that part of the proceeds will go to support the Ukrainian military. Since this is not a real commercial operation, the only way to order them for now is by sending him an email at email@example.com.
Last night I contacted this Ukrainian artist via Facebook, sending him a link to the Cube and some additional questions. When I woke up I already had his responses (the time difference is seven hours). Here’s what he wrote:
Sviatoslav Pashchuk: Good day to you! We are already sending our posters to American buyers and soon we will also have a special website, it’s almost done now. I’m also going to make English-language versions for the American market.
You are correct – all money from the sales will go to help our soldiers. Most of the proceeds will be used to buy sniper equipment and ammunition for volunteer fighters. Thank you very much for the promotion.
I’m going to continue with this series, making as many as 12 posters. The site will have a link to the blog where I’ll keep the readers updated on my coming creations.
* * *
See the seven existing posters below:
Donbas Volunteer Battalion: Goodies For The Bullies
Special Forces: Fatal Dating
Artillery: The Final Lullaby
(The stenciled acronym on the howitzer stands for “F-U Putin”)
Air Force: A Hot Nosedive
Border Patrol: The Hunter Instinct
Aydar Volunteer Battalion: Our Kind of Happy
Ukrainian National Guard: Gentle Ukrainization