Family tree. The Mezen folk painting
by Natalia Kiseleva (eolay)
Process of creation
I am interested in the topic of data art, I am inspired by beautiful works of wonderful Shirley Wu, Federica Fragapane, Giorgia Lupi and Nadieh Bremer!

I have some modest data-art works that are done traditionally, but I wanted to try something a little more complex.

Working with markers and liners on paper is so fun, I recommend it to everyone!

photo of one of my data-arts "Friends" and sketches

pics taken from yandex-search
The idea of taking motifs and patterns from the Russian Northern paintings has long haunted me, so I collected the most interesting of the Northern paintings and took my favorite – the Mezen folk painting, a painting with black and red thin-legged horses.

The Russian Northern paintings, especially the Mezen, already contain some symbolism and interpretation of images, so it was particularly interesting to encrypt data there.
The following sites have become a great source of information for me:

1. Perunica, author svasti asta


3. Knittochka

Thanks to the unknown art creators for their excellent work and to the authors of articles for an extensive collection and detailed interpretation of symbols of the Mezen painting!


source: Perunica
Individual symbols in the Mezen painting already contain data, although without a legend they cannot be deciphered. Who knows, maybe this is one of the examples of ancient data-art, that no one except scientists tries to decipher!

The motives are simple: fire, water, sun, moon, natural phenomena, flowers, fields, protective symbols.
The theme of my data-art is my small family tree.
I have also been interested in the topic of family trees for a long time. I tried to create an interactive family tree on JSD3, collected some data on relatives unknown to me, but I did not manage to finish this project technically.

This time I decided to take a smaller amount of data and not immediately dive into the code, but pay attention to the data-art component, since manual processing is the best thing for small amounts of data.


my Figma workplace
After putting together a table of data about close relatives and selecting a few features that I’d like to display, I began to draw the main elements.

I worked at Figma - a great tool for vector graphics!
After finding some interesting symbols from different sources, I assigned them the appropriate level of kinship to each. Some of the symbols were used for special signs.
The one symbol called “criulka” is my favorite! I don’t know, what this word is meaning, but the symbol looks like some stalk motive. Ok, it just sounds cute.

After choosing “mountain” symbols for the round frame, I combined all elements inside it in order of connection between people.

Badge IIB 2022 Longlist
- An article written by me and dedicated to this project was published in the international datavision journal Nightingale: "Making a Data-Driven, Mezen Style Family Tree" - in 2020.

- The project was shortlisted for the Moscow Dataviz Awards in 2021.

- This project was included in the longlist of the international Data Visualization Award - Information is Beautiful in 2022.

Upd: The project was updated at 2024, because my family has changed a lot: I have a baby and two of my grandparents passed away.
That's it!
I hope you like the result!
I am Natalia Kiseleva
eolay is my nickname
I like data visualization, data art, and make funny and educational comics about it.
My other projects
Climate bracelet!
I used the Warming Stripes diagram principle to encode data on global warming in my homeland - in the Arkhangelsk region.
This data art is tangible - I wove it from beads!
Data-portraits of the D&D Community
Here are the data portraits of our local Dungeons & Dragons community. Player preferences and their experience are encoded here. 2024
Diary of Emotions
The Emotion Diary is a project that combines data from two diaries - the Sketch Calendar and the Emotion Diary - for one month. I decided to overlay these two projects on each other - in one part encoding emotions with color, and in the other leaving sketches.
This way, even on the hardest day, there was something amusing.
"Flowers and Numbers" Data Art Community
In 2024, I founded the data art community "Flowers and Numbers" - and based on the dataset from the group members, we visualized the community portrait using various methods. You can learn more about the community at the link below.
Data badges 'Moms, Folder, and Kids Stuff
Created data portraits of moms from the local parenting community based on Kimley Scott's project.
The Data Ink project
My new small challenge project.
As part of my practice, I decided to draw small graphic data-arts by hand on personal data.
I draw with a black fountain pen in a cute notebook.
My travels
In this project, I gathered my travels over many years. This project, resembling the music of the winds, is done on paper, but in the process, it's a tangible version.
Data-art: Mortality caused by road traffic injury
The theme of this data art is Mortality caused by road traffic injury. In the form of an ornate plant motif, data on deaths from road accidents in different European countries are encrypted, and other features of these countries are also hidden there. Details about the project can be found at the link!
Data-art "Family tree. The Mezen folk painting"
The theme of this data art is my small family tree. Patterns and symbols were taken from the Northern folk painting - Mezen. Each element in this work represents one of the closest family members. For more information about the decryption and description of the work, follow the link!
In this project, I gathered all my friends throughout my life up to 2020 and depicted them in these curls, trying to enrich the images with data about shared interests, frequency of communication, etc.
One of my first data arts.
If you interested in these and my other projects - please subscribe to my page in social networks for regular updates! I'll be glad!
For any questions about cooperation, please contact me by email:
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