AntikBar – Interview with Kirill Kalinin

Visual media is a big part of our lives these days and we see no evidence of that changing.  It may seem like this is something relatively new, but art has been used for hundreds of years to create impact and provide exciting advertising.  Vintage posters are one such medium and throughout the years they have been used in many ways.
Kirill Kalinin has a passion for antique art work in the form of posters and has made a business out of it.  We had a chat with Kirill to find out more about him and his posters!

How did you end up in business selling vintage posters?

I started as a collector focusing on 1920-30s Soviet constructivist poster art and graphic design. A few years ago the idea of becoming a poster dealer started to develop and, when I was between jobs four years ago, I took the opportunity to realise my dream. We launched the business in 2010 offering a wide variety of original vintage posters with subjects such as advertising, travel, cinema and sport from around the world. Most of our posters are lithographs and most were printed between the 1890s to 1970s. Lithography involves printing each colour on a separate plate resulting in strong vivid images on par with other modern artworks. 

Do you have a favourite poster/collection?

I’m still a big fan of Soviet constructivist art and my favourite poster collection would be Soviet travel posters from the 1920-30s. These are very unusual for Soviet design of the period as they don’t feature any propaganda elements and are very Western in style. They were printed by the state travel monopoly, Intourist, to promote Russia and the Soviet Union as a travel destination, for display in travel agencies and embassies abroad. These very glamourous images somehow paint a completely different image of life in the Soviet Union at that time. Our set of “Welcome to the USSR” poster reproductions was printed to accompany an exhibition of these posters in Moscow, St Petersburg and London.


What era do you think is the most interesting for poster art?  Why is this?

The 1930s was an interesting era. It was a very stylish period with Art Deco worldwide, Bauhaus in Germany, Constructivism in Russia and other such dramatic artistic movements influencing design in all aspects of life, especially so in poster art. I also like mid-century modern design for the colour and fun portrayed in many posters of the 1950-60s.

What is the rarest piece you have procured?

The rarest piece would be the iconic Battleship Potemkin poster by the Stenberg Brothers. This movie poster was designed by Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg in 1925 for Sergei Eisenstein’s film, one of the classics of the silent cinema era. Russian posters from the 1920s overall are very scarce. Due to the shortages of paper, they were either recycled or used for other purposes and, as a result, not many have survived.  

What is it you love most about doing what you do and why?

It’s great to be able to turn a hobby into a business. I really enjoy the aspect of being able to organise my day to my own schedule. I also like chatting with visitors at our stand at fairs and hearing their stories triggered by our posters on display. It always makes me happy when clients come back to tell me how much they love their posters.  
Thank you to Kirill for sharing his passion and business with us.  If you would like to know more then check out AntikBar and don’t forget to stop by and say hi on Facebook and Twitter!

About Author

Founder of Eclectic Enchantments blog, Erika has also been a beauty writer, fashion writer and Beauty & Accessories Editor for a large online magazine before starting Erisea. Erika lives with her dog, Hendrix and beautiful baby girl. She suffers with Fibromyalgia and CFS, among other illnesses which leaves her housebound much of the time. Her passion is writing.


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