Ruslan Agirba’s detailed etchings take their inspiration from a wide variety of sources, including mythical – Leda and the Swan, Europa, the Sirens; literary – The Three Musketeers, Midsummer Night’s Dream; and historic – Arab dance and ancient Egypt. A surrealist strand runs through them all, using a variety of etching techniques to create swirling patterns and fine lines, always concentrating on a tight composition that does full justice to the small scale of his work.

Most of his etchings originate as commissions for Ex Libris or bookplates, a genre which has a strong international following. The same dedictees often appear several times, as his clients return for new works to add to their personal collection, though of course the bookplates are destined never to be attached to actual books.