Artist Spotlight: Masha Falkov

What she does: I work with a wide range of media: ink, digital mixed media, and glasswork. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of game design and animation. It’s been taking over the rest of my practice. I like to think about bridges between nature and technology when I’m working. Science and engineering are some of my biggest inspirations, and I find art is a great way to communicate the excitement I get when I learn about those things.

Her favorite fall activity in the Methow: In the fall, my favorite activity is to visit the high peaks around Washington Pass. The jagged, unforgiving landscape is a reminder of the harsh elemental forces at play in our world.

What she’s recently completed: The new ink pieces I’m working on are an attempt to capture the verticality and exposed elemental experience I find out there.

“Crobazon Towers” is an 11”x17” ink piece I just finished with digital color. It’s a vertiginous city with the architecture of many cultures layered on top of each other. It’s all brass, chitin, and other materials you wouldn’t expect to see in typical circumstances and definitely without proper building codes! Hopefully it conveys the sense of vertigo and space that I get during my hikes.

As an artist working with digital media, it’s been impossible to ignore the rise of art generated by AI. My initial reaction was frustration that anyone could simply type in a phrase and generate a beautiful image in any style they pleased. It felt like an existential crisis. The machines were coming for one of the jobs I was certain was impossible for them to ever do. Curse you, incoming singularity! But when I finally tried one of the engines, I was blown away. This was the most powerful tool artists have had access to since the invention of the camera.

For example, right now I’m making art for a video game, Unstable Scientific. In the game, there are highly advanced cultures from a different universe that don’t even have the same anatomy as us. What type of technology would they use? What would record would humans that saw them leave behind? While I know my way around the history of scifi, anthropology, and electronics well enough, I’m not a team of advisors and specialized concept artists typically hired for a large production touching upon these topics.

Our game is indie, but I don’t want the concepts to be small. Using using the AI art engine Midjourney helped me bridge that gap, and allowed me, though hundreds of iterations, to create a series of photographic references I can now use to make the art I need. Furthermore, by having my visual references, I was able to refine the ideas further, and to fix inconsistencies I didn’t notice we had. AI has been helping me do all this, on top of making me images of shark kittens, Muppets visiting Burning Man, and Saruman the White taking duckface selfies.

What’s making her smile: Every year I work together with one high school student from the ILC who interns at my studio. It’s a delight seeing how resourceful, and dedicated these young people are. Growing up when you’re that full of creative energy can be really challenging if you don’t have an adult on your side to support you. I’m really glad that the advisors and teachers at the ILC can be there to help these youths grow to their full potential, and to navigate the emotional challenges that being a creative person can sometimes bring.

How to get in touch with Masha: I keep late hours, typically 12:30 until 9pm or later, every day except Thursday and Sunday. Phone: 509-978-9037. Email: