Christmas card illustrator inspired by Ukrainian culture

Kathryn Durst, the creator of the Shevchenko Foundation Christmas card for 2021, is a Canadian illustrator inspired by folk art and traditions. A native of Peterborough, Ontario, she began her artistic career as an animator interning with Pixar Animation Studios among others. Her love of classic books and vintage illustrations led her to illustrating. Represented by a UK agency, Kathryn has illustrated several books including the fiction series Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire.

One of her most recent projects involved an exciting collaboration with Paul McCartney who selected Kathryn to illustrate his best-selling children’s books – Hey Grandude and Grandude’s Green Submarine.

Kathryn’s interest in folk traditions of different nations led to her engagement with the Toronto-based Kosa Kolektiv – a group of women that aims to revitalize peasant folklore in an urban context. Having conducted workshops during their summer folk camp, she also joined the group for its annual koliada. This fun experience inspired her creation, Woodland Carollers, featured on this year’s Shevchenko Foundation Christmas card.

Her involvement with Kosa Kolektiv also inspired her to create a mural in the library of St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic School in Toronto featuring the whimsical animals from different Ukrainian children’s tales.

“I hope that my Christmas card inspires other artists to see the beauty of Ukrainian culture and its potential for influencing contemporary art,” stated Kathryn Durst.

What’s next for Kathryn Durst? She looks forward to one day writing and illustrating her own book or recreating a classic folk tale in her own contemporary style. Follow her journey on Instagram @KathrynDurst!