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Maria Giemza, Illustrator

We and Maria Giemza cannot repeat it often enough: Step out of your comfort zone! Find some inspiration with this Keenly preesents guest.

I’m Maria and I’m a freelance illustrator. I work in Berlin. And I work in different kind of projects. I work individually and in teams. And mostly it’s editorial stuff or packaging-design or animation, pitches. I also make my own prints. And currently I’m actually working on my own series of wrapping papers. But actually I studied architecture for actually six years, I did my master in Germany. After graduating I kind of thought, that maybe it’s not my way. So I shifted more towards illustration.

Can you remember your first intense experience with design?
I think there wasn’t actually like a single experience. My father is an architect, so I somehow grew up with it. Strolling with him through the city always involved some stories about buildings. Like where they were build, how they were build and so on. Also deep inside I really wanted to be a graphic designer. And my parents gently suggested me that maybe there are some more certain professions out there. I felt that architecture is a good compromise. And I went this way and yeah, I don’t regret it at all actually. I think that architecture taught me a lot and I love it absolutely. It combines so many different fields. And it taught me problem solving and technical thinking. And on top of that, there is the design. And I think it’s actually a big part of me, being an illustrator. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Back in the day when I was little I really, really wanted to be a ballerina. Which has nothing to do actually with reality, because I never had dance classes in my life. So I dropped my dancing dreams kind of quickly. But deep inside I think I’ve always known that it would be something art related. Because I loved drawing and I was drawing for as long as I can remember. 

Your first design?
My first, like a serious illustration that I’ve done, was called “Modernism”. It’s the one that I’ve done right after graduation. I wanted to illustrate something familiar, so architectural thing was kind of obvious choice. And since I’m in love with modernism buildings and they are kind of forgotten, at least in Poland. I thought that it would be a nice idea for an illustration series. And know when I look at it, I think I would have done it totally differently. Not in terms of aesthetics, but mostly because of technical skills that I had back in time.

I mean like I’m a self-taught illustrator and I had to figure out bit by bit how to do stuff. But I love this project. I mean maybe not because of how it looks, but because of the certain dose of nostalgia to it. And the fact that it was actually a breaking point for me, when I published it and people were actually enthusiastic about it. It was amazing, because it was the first time when I’ve seen, that leaving my comfort zone and going to illustration-world was actually a good idea.

Which current trends in your profession are currently particularly interesting for you?
There is a lot stuff going on actually. I think I follow the 3D-World also kind of intensively and I admire it. And I tasted bits of it already when I was in architectural school. When everybody was in kind of a race to the most realistic project renders and stuff. And I think it’s amazing how it evolved actually, how it happens in real time now. And I’m like really impressed, but also kind of worried, because my 2D world is kind of forgotten. I think sometimes it’s perceived a bit oldschool and maybe too artsy for some reasons. But I think illustration is a really nice way to visualize stuff. And it can show those metaphors and illusions and jokes that actually sometimes can’t be shown by photography or realistic renders.

Some words to future designer?
Yeah, I would say:

Get a dog and go for a walk.

I think that’s a great advice. My dog taught me a lot. Like everyday before work we go for a walk. And even though the routes we take are kind of similar every day, she goes with this unbelievable enthusiasm. Like it would’ve been the greatest adventure of the day. And our walks for her are nothing but repetitive. And that actually taught me how to observe and get inspirations and take my time and also to listen I think.