Masha Reva’s career began in fashion design, a foundation still seen in her fabric-based works and fascination with the human figure. After graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Reva felt she had more to say than the fashion industry could hold. She turned down a job in London and returned to Kyiv, temporarily terrifying her parents, who were ultimately supportive as her father is a sculptor and understood the magnetic pull.
She started drawing and never stopped, going on to collaborate with top fashion brands, exhibit at international museums, and craft a scene-setting piece for Kyiv’s Bursa Hotel. In one of her most striking projects, Reva designed sets and costumes for Culture Device’s production of The Rite of Spring, a ballet performed by artists with Down’s Syndrome at London’s Royal Opera House in 2019. With every new project she takes on, Reva has challenged herself to learn, leading to revelations that are so beautiful they've been well worth the wild ride.
Reva is always observing, taking photos as she moves through the world. She begins projects with an involved research process, then starts sketching. As she is constantly building her own skills, Reva believes that the journey is more exciting than the finished product.
Reva created prints for Rachel Comey’s Fall 2016 collection, designed an editorial series called “By the Sea” for Jacquemus, and collaborated with handbag brand KARA, NY.
She explores fabric and skin as canvas.
From a drawing to a complex project, I’m always learning. This state of self-transformation brings me joy.
Everything I do has a personal approach. I aim to create an impulse that will energize others.
I met Vasily Grogol, the owner, back when Bursa was in the making and we became good friends. The day before the opening, he called me to ask if I could create a painting for the lobby. When the couriers brought the canvas I was shocked. I didn’t realize how large it would be! And I rarely paint on canvas. I called Vasily to say that I’m not sure the whole thing will work out and he was like, “Masha, it’s one shot!” Well, it would be fair to say that I love challenges. The canvas was created overnight. It’s my self-portrait.
I absolutely love the chaos. I almost feel more like an outsider to the local creative scene, like an observer who plays her own game. I’m more inspired by the streets of Kyiv and the characters I randomly meet. In any case, all my favorite young Ukrainian artists are my dear friends and I’m glad we can discuss work and inspire each other.
I’m about to read a book called Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel about woman abstractionist artists in the U.S. My boyfriend and I recently watched a movie about the abstractionist movement called The New York School, which was also very inspiring.
On the one hand, I adore surrounding myself with beautiful things and love to search for rare garments on eBay, for example. But during the pandemic, I’ve reconsidered what I actually need and have made my apartment and wardrobe more minimalistic. I love to recycle my old garments into a smaller size or cut off skirts because I have had quite a dramatic weight loss in the last two years. In general, I think this time spent at home brought deeper realizations on how we live, who we’re with, and what is essential.
I love movement—it’s a necessary part of my thinking process. When I move, my thoughts speed up. It’s hard to imagine a world without the rhythm of emotions we feel when we’re on the go.
Portrait Images Vitalik Melnikov