Artist of the magazine “Crocodile”
Famous Soviet graphic artist, cartoonist. Member of the Union of Artists of the USSR. Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1966). He did not receive a professional education, he studied drawing on his own. Despite this, he achieved high results in caricature. He executed posters on various topics, most often political, directed against imperialism, American world politics, NATO and revanchism.
Fomichev was born in St. Petersburg in the family of a polygraph worker. But his early years were spent in the Urals, where the Fomichevs were thrown by the civil war. At school, the future artist took up pencil and paints for the first time, designed and edited wall newspapers, then became a young correspondent of the Yekaterinburg regional youth Komsomol newspaper “Na Smena!In 1925, Fomichev was hired as a staff member of this newspaper. Thus began Fomichev’s long journey in art. Then, his drawings appear on the pages of the Ural Worker and other regional publications. The artist worked in Yekaterinburg until the mid-1930s.
In 1934, funny drawings appeared on the pages of the Ural Worker newspaper with the signature “V.Fogel” (behind this pseudonym were the cartoonists Vasily Fomichev and Gennady Lyakhin). The topics of the sketches are very diverse: from political caricatures of the anger of the day to everyday episodes from urban everyday life. The latter eventually begin to prevail, turning into a kind of graphic “series” with a specific place of action – Sverdlovsk of the 30s, and an end-to–end character – an awkward little man who regularly “gets into trouble” in history.
At the All-Union competition for the best caricature organized by Komsomolskaya Pravda, Fomichev was awarded and in 1936 invited to Moscow to work for Komsomolskaya Pravda, and two years later to the editorial office of the newspaper Moskovsky Bolshevik. Since that time, he has become a permanent artist of Moskovskaya Pravda and Komsomolskaya Pravda.
In 1939-1940, during the Finnish War, he was sent to the North-Western Front from the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. On the pages of the frontline newspaper “On Guard of the Motherland”, a satire department appears with the popular hero of serial drawings — Vasily Terkin, created by Vasily Fomichev in collaboration with the artist Veniamin Briskin. With him , V. Fomichev executed several campaign posters: “Subscribe to the loan of the third five-year plan” 1939, “… there is no doubt that in our country there will be the necessary number of straitjackets for such crazy people.”
Since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the artist Fomichev has served in the ranks of the Red Army as part of the editorial offices of front-line and army newspapers of the Kalinin, Southern, Crimean and North Caucasian fronts and in the Special Moscow Air Defense Army, leading satirical departments, regularly placing drawings, feuilletons and poems on the pages of soldiers’ newspapers. He was awarded several orders and medals of the Soviet Union.
After the war, Vasily Fomichev heads the satirical section of the editorial office of the newspaper “Gudok”, leads a ruthless and well-aimed fire at bureaucrats, mouthguards, idlers and grabbers. In 1949, Fomichev returned to the Soviet Army, became deputy editor of the Illustrated Newspaper, and since 1953 – art editor of the magazine “Soviet Sailor”.
The leading theme of the artist’s post–war work is the struggle for peace and mutual understanding between peoples. He participates in all international exhibitions “Satire in the struggle for Peace”. He works fruitfully in various periodicals of the central press: Izvestia, Pravda, Trud, Krasnaya Zvezda, Gudka, and various magazines. Being a member of the editorial board of Agitplakat since its foundation, Fomichev has created many satirical posters.
In 1970, at the international exhibition “Satire in the Struggle for Peace” in Moscow, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Peace Foundation for his great creative contribution to the cause of peace. Possessing an extraordinary imagination of a satirist-graphic artist creates complex original compositions saturated with funny details – this makes his sheets capacious, expressive, and understandable to the masses. Signatures to his cartoons were made by V. Ardov, D. Bedny, A. Tvardovsky, N. Tikhonov, A. Bezymensky, S. Marshak, A. Zharov, M. Spirov, S. Smirnov, N. Entelis and D. Demin. Solo exhibitions of the artist’s works in Moscow on international politics (1978, 1983, 1985) were held with great success.
Fomichev’s works are kept in the funds of the Rybinsk State Historical, Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve.
Reference: tramvaiiskusstv.ru , 2010