Ilya Yulievich Bolotowsky was born on July 1, 1907, in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (currently Russian Federation). He was a son of Julius Yuryevich Bolotowsky, a lawyer, and Anastasia Abramovna Shapiro, a graphiс designer.
The artist had a sister named Mirra.
Ilya spent his childhood in Saint Petersburg. At the outbreak of the Revolution of 1917, the family moved to Baku, Azerbaijan and then to Constantinople.