You never know what you will find on one of his canvases. Cathedrals and council houses perch on the fragments of a giant's overpass. Submerged kitchen tables morph into living chessboards. Gun-headed sportsmen shoot grenade fruit from trees while dinosaurs watch.
"Real life is so complicated and complex. I like to show that by showing familiar things all mixed together," Poyarkov said.
Poyarkov's desire to combine and synthesize extends beyond the subject matter of his graphics. His portfolio mixes posters, book and magazine illustrations, ads and logos, and stand-alone canvases. And numerous techniques play a part in the creation of each and every image. "I use many mediums in one picture: pen, ink, gouache and more," Poyarkov said. "They are all happy together."
Trained at the Kiev Art Design College, the Lvov Book Design Institute and the Ukrainian Academy of Art, Poyarkov worked for some of the biggest Soviet magazines. However, during Perestroyka, he found himself condemned in the official communist press.
What might have proved disastrous to some artists became an opportunity to Poyarkov. He began selling his work in Swedish, Bulgaria and the Czech and Slovak Republics. After winning L. Ron Hubbard's Illustrators of the Future Award in 1990, Poyarkov spent two years in Los Angeles working as a book illustrator.
Numerous free lance commissions followed. Poyarkov began exhibiting at science fiction and fantasy conventions -- and winning awards. In 1995, he placed second among the professional artists at the WorldCon 96 Art Show. And at DragonCon 1998, his surrealistic paintings were named "Best in Show."
Plus, the vagabond existence of a roving freelance painter and illustrator suits Poyarkov's temperament. "I couldn't do so many different things when I lived in Russia," he said. "Now I can do anything, and I am very happy."
But some drawbacks remain, especially to winning awards, American-style. Obstreperous ezine reporters stick microphones in your face and demand you explain your imagery, its wellsprings and its implications.
"Artists should work, not talk," Poyarkov demurs. "I cannot tell you about my pictures; I can only show them to you."
Teri Dohmen and Jean Marie Ward