New York -- Misha the Olympic Bear, one of the few USSR’s international graphic design hits, is reinvented by modern Russian artists, who created their own renditions of the 1980 classic and whipped the old bear into shape for the new era.
The 1980 Olympic games mascot, developed by children’s book illustrator Viktor Chizhikov, is virtually unknown to the American public because the US boycotted the Moscow Olympics – USSR invaded Afghanistan that year. However, Misha The Bear instantly became a graphic-design hit, especially in the Soviet block. Olympic posters were snatched up and t-shirts were fought over. And as Sochi, a Black sea resort town, has been chosen to host 2014 Winter Olympics and as Russian design landscape requires a new hit after the Constructivist fonts and the caviar tin, Russia! magazine has decided to commission the Bear renditions to the most prominent artists and designers.
“The Olympic Bear turns any Russian between the ages of 25 and 50 to quivering jelly. Our artistic compatriots were happy to whip the old bear into shape for 21st century use” – says Ilya Merenzon, the magazine’s publisher. “And the readers’ response was overwhelming. As soon as the new issue arrived to the stores, we constantly get emails requesting the Bear t-shirts. The animal is regaining his popularity”. – adds Merenzon.
The new issue of Russia! magazine, featuring Misha the Bear, is available in Barnes and Noble and other book stores in the US and around the world for $4.99. It is published quarterly out of New York since 2007. Readers can view some of the magazine’s contents on its website – www.readrussia.com.