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Interview With Living Buddhism Illustrator

Photo courtesy of Valeriya Dubrovskaya.

Valeriya Dubrovskaya
Kyiv, Ukraine

Living Buddhism: Hi, Valeriya! It’s an honor meeting you, and we are so appreciative of your beautiful work on the 2023 Living Buddhism covers! When did you begin creating art?

Valeriya Dubrovskaya: Drawing has been with me for most of my life. In school I studied interior design and architecture, and loved this direction. After university, for a period my art materials were closed in a box, and the work I was doing was far from my beloved art. But small steps helped me return to my favorite pastime—drawing. Today, I am working as an illustrator, and I feel so lucky to earn a living by doing my work! In particular, I fell in love with drawing architecture as a student. This is a separate universe for me: majestic buildings, curly window frames, intricate facades. And what about the light during the golden hour or sunrise? It’s like my wonder of the world. This all makes harmony with nature.

What have been your impressions reading Living Buddhism?

Valeriya: I love the experiences. As a teenager, I thought an ordinary life was one without problems. But such people live only in a world with pink unicorns. I discovered people’s struggles can be a plot for a book or movie. Each person’s experience is unique. I especially liked Lance Powell’s experience from Atlanta (see June 2023 Living Buddhism, pp. 6–11). I had similar emotions that he experienced. I sympathized with little Lance and worried about him at each new trial as an adult. I know firsthand about complicated family relationships. But I haven’t reached the stage where I have learned to love my parents again. And this makes me respect him. Also, I was impressed that he became a teacher. This is a challenging mission! Going where you are scared is one of the main principles of life. Even if Lance was not afraid at the beginning of the teaching path, it is a difficult and brave decision to continue walking. Do I think being a good teacher is harder than launching rockets into space? It’s possible. I’m proud of this guy!

We are like flashlights to each other: illuminating the path for one another. Based on this philosophy, I’m striving to be a good person who can help others see their inner light and become happy myself.

From the December 2023 Living Buddhism

The ‘Wish-Granting Jewel’ Within

Nichiren Daishonin—His Lifelong Vow and Great Compassion