I was born in what used to be the Soviet Union or the USSR and was mostly surrounded with Slavic arts and crafts. To put things in context, it was quite challenging to travel outside the Soviet Union (although honestly, it still is!) and, of course, procuring a record or an art book from abroad used to be a rare win.
Now I firmly believe that our taste is formed very early on in our childhood. We may not necessarily remember the pattern on the wallpaper in our bedroom, but, I am sure, somewhere, on the subconscious level it influenced our likes/dislikes in future.
In our childhood we are exposed to different visuals: our flat/house, yard, city, country and other countries, things we see on TV and in pictures. All these things put together help us dream up our dreams at night, invent fantastic worlds, imagine worlds from books, etc.
I feel like I go through life, putting different pairs of glasses - I see the world through the many prisms of things I grew up with, both real and imaginary.
So, I will start now with children's books. I included the Russian names of the illustrators as it will be easier to search for their work in Russian rather than English.
My favourite children's book was an illustrated ABC by a Russian/French artist Alexandre Benois (rus. Александр Бенуа
). To say that I loved it, is to say nothing. As an adult I once went on a long journey across the USA and I brought it with me. This book was a "brush" for my imagination. It just combed, and styled, and curled it up, if I may say so! Alexandre Benois was an artist and illustrator, as well as a set designer for theatre, in particular Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev. By the way, the actor Peter Ustinov who famously portrayed Poirot, was his great nephew.