Valdis Villerušs

Valdis Villerušs (1942, Ikšķile) received his artistic education in the Graphic Arts Department of the LSSR State Academy of Arts, graduating in 1968. Since 1970, he has been working as a lecturer at this educational institution. In 1997 he was elected professor. His areas of creative activity include book graphics, wood engraving, and assemblage. Villerušs has taken part in exhibitions since 1968, including 11 solo exhibitions. More than 250 publishing houses have commissioned him for the artistic arrangement and graphic decoration of books. Villerušs has researched the history of Latvian graphic and book art and has published articles on the subject. He has been an honorary Doctor of the Latvian Academy of Arts since 2000.

Ojars Vacietis “The Earth”
Woodcarving, 1978

Earth is one of the basic motifs of Ojārs Vācietis's poetry; in his understanding, it is the foundation of everything. “Explore the earth – / you will have to stand on it, / you will have to walk on it, / you will have to dig in it / and bury ...”. As you listen and explore, the eye sees a circle along the base and a similar one along the skyline. Graphically, this double arc in the illustrations of the Earth collection of poems and in its English counterpart has taken the form of a semicircle, in which sharp points are placed in layers, as symbols of the author's piercing, knotty, multi-layered insights.
The images printed in the miniature poetry collection Zeme / Zemlya (1979) are executed in wood engraving, a printing technique widely used for illustration in the 19th and 20th centuries. The images carved with pointed chisels in Caucasian hardwood from the buxus tree and pressed out in printing ink are not direct illustrations of the thoughts expressed in the poems of Ojārs Vācietis. They capture the artist's feelings, which have come to the fore when reading the author’s poetry. Oļģerts Ābelīte made the illustrations for Vācietis’s poetry collection Breath (1966) in wood engravings.