December 31, 2021

The Queen of Graffiti Hearts


The Queen of Graffiti Hearts
This is graffiti in Russia. It is not Kate Tova's work. For that, go to her Instagram page. Wikimedia Commons user IngimarE

A famous new American graffiti artist is a Russian import, Ekaterina Toluzakova. She goes by Kate Tova, which probably makes her name much more accessible to American ears and eyes.

She grew up in a village in the Saratov Region, imagining the oceanic scenes she painted while staring at smokestacks.

Toluzakova met an American guy on a language learning website and found herself in San Francisco. She had begun learning English in the village just because she believed it was a good skill to have, never dreaming she would end up living in an English-speaking country.

Most of her street art is of Black Lives Matter activists, LGBT San Franciscans, and representatives of other marginalized groups.

Tova describes her style now as bright colors using reflective materials. But her work ranges from impressionistic landscapes to realistic portraits. She did not even start painting on the sides of buildings until the COVID-19 pandemic began – when wooden boards adorned the buildings of downtown San Francisco, especially during protests. She started with hearts. Eventually, she signed the work with her Instagram information, and people started thanking her for the uplifting hearts.

There is a large Russian-speaking community in San Francisco, though Tova is not really a part of it. Find her artwork here.

You Might Also Like

Russian San Francisco
  • March 01, 2002

Russian San Francisco

Ever since the late 18th-century, when Russian fur trappers from Alaska first hunted along North America’s Pacific coast, there has been a Russian presence in Northern California.
Russian Finland
  • November 01, 2011

Russian Finland

Most Finns define their nationhood and heritage in terms of Russia, of which Finland was a part from 1809 to 1917. We explore the complex interplay of Russo-Finnish relations, past and present,especially those along the border.
From the Urals to San Francisco
  • January 17, 2021

From the Urals to San Francisco

Olga was born one year after the collapse of the USSR, but she witnessed both scarcity and communal living. Optimism and creativity have served her well.    
Worthy of Aivazovsky's Brush
  • September 19, 2021

Worthy of Aivazovsky's Brush

If you love the sea, Ivan Aivazovsky is your man. Everyone should know about this Armenian-Russian painter.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955