Irene Smirnova – Jano Lapin

Irene Smirnova

When you see a movie like Xmen – you will quickly notice that there are a whole lot of “special effects” involved.  These effects will make your dream of the fantasy world they are showing you. The reality is that most movies today will have visual effects that you may not even notice!  Have you ever thought about the artists behind their creation?

Irene Smirnova is a senior texture artist in Montreal that has worked on movies such Xmen, The Revenant, Hunger Games and Birdman to name a few. Her experience and talent is rare and needed, as Montreal has become internationally renowned for its production of special effects in movies.  In addition to her talents being showcased in Hollywood, Irene is also a talented visual artist who mixes new and old techniques to complete her evolving work.   She is a multi-talented contemporary artist that uses paint, 3D software and other digital platforms to create her masterpieces.  Below is a video of the work she did for Game of Thrones.

One of the challenging aspects of working in optical effects is that the software being used is evolving and improving.  It makes it difficult for the users to stay up to speed with the demanding industry.  Russian-born Smirnova is a self-proclaimed “super geek” who has become accustomed to learning the new tools.   It ‘s hard to imagine someone who is as creative as this 46-year-old.  The longer we spoke, the more I discovered the layers of her many talents.  She is never satisfied and always thinking of what is to come next and how to create it.

The ability to visualize the different possibilities of each of the platforms to reproduce one piece.  Is this the future of art? It will be for some.  The more I learned, the more that these digital techniques really felt like new and exciting art forms.  For Irene,  it is not just about creating one image, it is about layering images that turn into something else altogether.   Her artistic statement talks about collective memory.  She explains that this means that her images reproduce things we already know, but in an entirely different way.  For example, in her Imaginarium series, she could use fractals, scans of her oil painting or any other image created digitally.

She states that she likes to express herself with a combination of “old and new.”  For example,  using multiple high-tech software to reproduce the general shape of a beautiful butterfly is a great illustration.

Artist Statement

My art makes connections in timeless and complex space, filled with archetypes of our subconscious. I look for connections between old and new, using traditional painting techniques along with the new technologies for my artworks. I chose 3D printing for my sculptures and combine them together with oil paintings in installations. Digital techniques help me to dive into the unreal world, explore imagined space. I use different software to make digital artwork and incorporate traditional elements like composition or subject.


Irene Smirnova is a Canadian artist, born in Russia in 1970. She had always a passion for art, attended numerous art workshops, studying traditional oil painting techniques. She received BA from Moscow State University. Then settled in Canada in 1991 and she studied in NAD Computer Graphics college. Since then for the last 20 years, she contributed to numerous feature films like Revenant, Burdman, Xman, Games of Thrones series and many other exciting projects. Full filmography on IMDB: Irene always turn to her on projects, starting with oil painting featuring moody landscapes and developing into digital art mixed with traditional oil painting techniques. Already fluent with various computer graphic software, she learns something new every year, extending her knowledge of different techniques and invents her own worlds linked by imagination.

We hope you love Irene's digital art as much as we do.  We also offer her oil paintings on request.  Please send us an email at for all inquiries on Irene's work.  We will be happy to create the right art for you!
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