- Kęstutis KasparavičiusIllustrator–Lithuania
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Kęstutis Kasparavičius (born 1954) ranks among Lithuania's leading contemporary artists. His illustrations for children's books are published not only in Lithuania but also in various European, Asian, North American, and South American countries. In Lithuania, the first books illustrated by Kasparavičius came out in 1984, and since 1989, the artist has been actively cooperating with publishing houses abroad (including Germany, the USA, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Ukraine, Latvia, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Korea). Presently, the artist has fifty-eight illustrated books to his name (for some of them, he wrote the text himself), published in twenty-six languages (such as German, English, French, Russian, Danish, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, to name a few). The artist has participated in numerous exhibitions, and his work has been awarded many honorable prizes.
Kasparavičius has illustrated many books of classical children's literature—by H. C. Andersen, Carlo Collodi, E.T.A. Hoffmann, A. Bürger, Edward Lear, and Oskar Milosz. Kasparavičius has also illustrated children's books by contemporary Lithuanian writers and foreign authors. Over the past few years, the artist has often created and illustrated texts himself. These include picturebooks such as Braški diena (Strawberry Day), Florentius, the Gardener (2007), Mažoji žiema (The Little Winter), Kaimyn už kampo (The Neighbour around the Corner), and many others.
Being a gifted animalist, Kasparavičius portrays the appearance, movements, and facial expressions of animals in a lively and true-to-life manner. The artist humanizes not only animals but other objects of the environment as well. By wild force of the author's imagination, eggs turn into whatever they like—clocks, cactuses, balloons, kettles, etc. Such metamorphoses excite children's imagination, teaching them to discern similar forms in the diverse reality.
The artist carries on the best traditions of illustrating picturebooks. In Kasparavičius' works, a clear form, readily perceived by the child, is well reconciled with artistry, flight of fancy, and play of nonsense. The hand of Kasparavičius is easily recognizable: his light drawings with dabs of intense watercolor always uplift one's mood. In his illustrations for picturebooks, Kasparavičius creates a charming and ingenious world of childhood that children of different nations can relate to. Kasparavičius is a highly prolific artist, with a distinctive style and an exclusive, lifetime dedication to this creative field. His individual artistic style can handle a variety of themes and genres and perfectly bring out the gist of each illustrated text. [End Page 57]