Welcome to the #ElloInterviewSeries.
Interview with Graphic Artist Pauliina Maus
Take one look at her impressive portfolio, and you’ll have a hard time believing that Finnish graphic designer @playliina is still in high school. To her, age has little to do with success. Heck, she’s already on Snoop’s radar. Pauliina’s unique style shines through in her spunky pieces, with a clean cut Scandinavian twist on hip-hop culture.
Interviewer Chelsea Kantola (@chelsea) is Ello’s Community Coordinator. When she’s not in the office, she’s probably doing yoga, shredding the slopes, spending time with her dog, or planning her next big adventure.
Chelsea: Tell us a bit about your creative background. What led you to the type of art you’re making now?
Pauliina: I’ve never had natural talent when it comes to logic in drawing. My hand-eye coordination has always been good, but if someone were to ask me to draw a logical bicycle (that would work in real life) without any help, it would not go well. Graphic design is a form of art, where you are able (and allowed) to use different materials, references, help and a thousand different techniques. It suits me, since I was never the “pencil and ruler” kind of girl. I wanted to paint, draw, sculpt, knit, and then put everything I made together. Collage-style!
Chelsea: What has been your biggest source of inspiration?
Pauliina: People. Everything about them, whether it’s what they do and create (music, movies…) or how they act and socialize with others. I don’t think that my inspiration yet reflects my work though. I have been quite simplistic, making pretty much just one dimensional art. I’m not saying that profound art isn’t good, because it really is, but I don’t mind art that is simply nice for the eye.
Chelsea: Do you have a favorite piece?
Pauliina: I still love the one I made of “Xmassy Snoop Dogg” (the fact that he posted it on his Instagram might have something to do with it).
Chelsea: What advice would you give someone looking to get into graphic design?
Pauliina: DIY! There is so much information, tips, and tricks online, that you can basically teach yourself. It requires time though, so don’t stress if something seems too hard. I’m not a native speaker of English, which makes reading long and full articles troublesome at times. I recommend simple instructional videos (Youtube is a good source), where you can usually see the tips in action. And if you need to practice, you can just pause the video or work alongside it.
Chelsea: Is there anything special that helps you stay focused?
Pauliina: I usually get into flow-mode when working. I lose track of time, especially if I’m working on something bigger and don’t have anywhere to be, so I just sit there and draw for hours. Other than that, music and coffee are great. And well, I can’t recommend this...but, cigarettes.
Chelsea: When you’re not busy creating art or being a full time high school student, how do you enjoy your free time?
Pauliina: I dance, so I go to the studio and practice a few times per week. I also have a “fourth job”, which is cleaning. I do it about once a week at an apartment building so it’s not a big deal, but even a small extra source of income can be very much appreciated in this time of life.
More important than work, I meet friends over coffee, cigarettes, candy and gossip. I’m not even being sarcastic, it’s like a bad chick flick. It’s honestly just therapeutic.
On weekends I travel to Vierumäki where my boyfriend lives, or he comes to see me. I live in the capital of Finland, so we have about 130 km between us, which makes it pretty much impossible to see each other during the week.
Chelsea: Do you think you’ll stick with graphic design, or are there any new mediums you want to explore?
Pauliina: I am part of a clothing project at the moment. The crew consists of people from different skill areas, and my role is to design prints and bring ideas to life. On top of that, I am going to try painting on clothes which is a bit out of my comfort zone. I am interested in painting with oil colors, but they are not suitable for this idea (unfortunately). The project is still taking its first steps, but I’m already feeling hyped up.
Chelsea: It’s pretty impressive that you’ve already accomplished so much. What are your plans for the future?
Pauliina: Thank you! Study-wise, I would like to get into Aalto University after high school to study art. It’s a highly ranked school, so it’s going to take a lot of work to get in. Work-wise, I’m not quite sure. There are many doors open at this moment, and I don’t think I’m ready to choose a specific one. Fashion and graphic design (surprise, surprise) are the most intriguing options at the moment.
Chelsea: What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts artists today? Specifically, can you share some thoughts on Ello?
Pauliina: It’s truly great. I know people (mostly older folks) that have turned their back on social media because of their principles, but I don’t see a reason to be offline all the time. We are headed into a new era where people don’t work the same nine-to-five job throughout their whole life. More and more people are working as freelancers and take up short-time jobs. I see social media and specifically Ello as a great platform for (upcoming) artists like me to be seen and published. The reason I love Ello is the whole “community” idea. Everyone is doing something, creating something, and encouraging each other as well, no matter what their own thing is. I have received so much support and love, and it truly motivates one to work better and keep going. Shout out to Ello’s creators and operatives for being so awesome and kind!
Chelsea: Who are some of your favorite artists on Ello?
Pauliina: Ello is blossoming with artists at this moment! It must be spring. A few favorites of mine: @williamnghiem, @danialnorth and @velvetspectrum
Need more @playliina? Follow her on instagram, tumblr, or twitter.