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.
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.
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.    
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
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.  
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
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.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.

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
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955