Thursday, June 6, 2013

Artist Interview: Maria Ines Gul

Maria Ines Gul  / "MARJAINEZ"
Age: 22
Favorite blog/website:
Favorite song right now: Daughter - Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover)

Maria Ines Gul

Where are you from, and where do you currently live?
I’m from a small town in Poland. I’m currently living in Poznań, but I’m moving to London over the summer to study at Royal College of Art.

How would you describe yourself? (or how might someone else describe you?)
Introvert, ambitious, witty.

What is your educational background?  How do you feel about your schooling?
I attended a secondary school for the arts for 4 years, and now I'm finishing up a BA in Graphic Design at Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań I've always been the best and the worst student at the same time.  Some people don’t need school at all, but when I started working on commissions, I wasn't confident in my skills or ideas, so my BA has been a good warm-up.

Maria Ines Gul

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?   Does your family support your career choice?
My family is very supportive. When I was 6, they bought me a Mac computer with Kid Pix studio software. It was so expensive, they could have bought a car instead.  It was the right choice though;  that’s how my whole adventure started, and I will be grateful about it forever. They understand that it’s what I love the most, even though it’s not the most financially stable path. I’ve never really considered a different career for myself.  Choices like going to a secondary art school and then to the Academy of Fine Arts came very naturally. I've been drawing since I can remember.

Maria Ines Gul

Sketchbook Drawing by Maria Ines Gul

You are one of the artists in our upcoming “Smart” show.  How are you interpreting that title?  
For me, smart means simple. I’m highly inspired by the Polish School of Posters and the simplicity of children’s drawings and naive, primitive art.

What materials/processes do you use most frequently?
I stick to very basic techniques - I mostly draw with pencils, crayons, and ink. Since I’m very familiar with digital techniques, I do a lot of things on my computer.  I know how to cheat with my Wacom tablet, but I try to spend as much time as I can with a real pencil in my hand.

You have a really beautiful series of portraits, entirely of women, on your website.  How did you choose your subjects, and what inspired you to illustrate them?
Some of them were commissioned for magazines. The others were just inspired by the amazing, talented ladies themselves. Most of them are songwriters whose lyrics inspired me a hundred times over, and I thought I owed them portraits. Each of them is a kind of little, personal shrine.

Maria Ines Gul

You also work as a photographer, make-up artist, and stylist for ROOKIE magazine.  Can you tell us how you got involved? What’s fun about this work? What’s frustrating?
I joined the staff the year ago.  They were looking for a new illustrator, and I was recommended by a friend who had previously worked there. It’s a perfect job; the girls are always enthusiastic about ideas and happy with the results.  Tavi, the brain behind the mag, is just so talented and clever.  I can’t believe she’s only 17!  The only frustrating aspect is that all the incredible girls on staff live in so many different places around the world.  I'll never meet them all in person.

Maria Ines Gul
Work for ROOKIE Magazine by Maria Ines Gul

You seem to be involved in so many different projects. Can you describe a typical work day or week for you?
I know it’s bad, but I don’t really have a proper schedule. Some days, I don’t do anything.  I read books and go get groceries.  Other days, I maniacally fill tons of blank pages and sometimes spend entire weekends at my desk. One good thing about school is that it doesn't let me forget which day of week it is on planet Earth.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
Everything in life is so inspiring! People, stories, places, images..  My sketchbooks are like visual diaries. I’m often inspired by song lyrics, and my sketchbooks are filled with them. (

What art, design, or societal trends are particularly interesting to you at the moment?
I really appreciate how collage is in demand again these days. It's everywhere now. On my last trip to London, I've bought an amazing book about Matisse and his cut-outs. Blew my mind! I also love the returning trend of handwriting in graphic design. I'm really tired of excessively clean, vector, graphic design. Maybe I'm just too emotional about stuff from 50 years ago.

How do you spend your time when you’re not making art? 
If I’m home alone, I might watch some old movie with Anna Karina and then prance around the room to some 60’s French ye-ye songs. It’s spring, so as you're reading this, I’m probably riding on my beloved bicycle.

What’s the most encouraging feedback you’ve ever gotten about your work?
I’ve received a lot of really great feedback from ROOKIE readers across the world and, of course, when my drawing was favorited by [fashion designer]Paul Smith himself! The best feeling is when your favorite fellow illustrators keep saying nice things about your work.  Also, I've recently been invited to exhibit my works at Illustrative Berlin (

What would be your ideal collaboration/commission?
I'd really love to do a children's book, and design a poster for my one of my favorite bands. Besides that, my dream is to collaborate with a fashion designer and draw some cool patterns for textiles, or draw or paint window displays and interiors. I'm excited like a little kid when I can draw on a different surface than just plain white paper.

Maria Ines Gul

What other artists working today are you a fan of?
 Laurent Moreau, Carson Ellis, Jean Jullien, Bjørn Rune Lie, Paul X. Johnson, Riikka Sormunen, Ada Buchholc, Olimpia Zagnoli, Ping Zhu, Roman Muradov, Emma Lewis…. There are so many young and talented illustrators out there!

What’s the best advice on being an artist that you’ve ever been given? 
Draw everyday. Stick to your path. Don’t compare yourself to others too much.

We have another upcoming show about inspirational quotes.  Is there a quote that inspires you?
“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Pablo Picasso

Maria Ines Gul
Red Glasses by Maria Ines Gul
Smart Exhibition

Check out Maria's work at:
You can also see her work for the Smart Exhibition here


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