Maya Brasnovic is a Sydney based Artist and Graphic Designer with a BA in Visual Communications. Her work usually incorporates a mix of lettering and typography with fashion illustrations using techniques from brush lettering, calligraphy and sign painting.
Her work combines out-of-context ideas referencing images from Vogue, Vanity Fair and Life magazine, for inspiration, and combining them with ideas from science, philosophy and observations from everyday life, to reveal a bit of humour and new perspectives.
Maya's first solo show 'Dust of Us' Opens November 10th (more details on the events page).
"Dust of Us is a collection of artworks that puts out of context ideas together and, surprisingly, reveals a lot of meaning, a bit of humour and some true, albeit strange observations."
I contacted Maya and asked us to share a little more about the show and her work...
Tell us a little about how the exhibition came about?
For the last year or so I have been a part of ArtWest, an art group organised by Multicultural Enterprises Australia.
The aim of the group was to bring together creative locals as well as migrants and refugees in one place, to help each other make art and feel a part of the artistic community.
We worked together to put on an exhibition at the Randwick Sydney Children's Hospital, which made me realised that I actually had some interesting ideas that were worth sharing.
We had developed a pretty big range of artworks and so as a group we headed to Paddington markets and went about displaying our art. From there Black Penny approached me to set up an exhibition in their gallery space Blacklisted gallery. I have to admit the support and positive feedback has been great and has taken me by surprise. It's nice to know that people, not only from the artistic community, are really into seeing creative works and are open to ideas that are a bit spacey.
A lot of the artworks are a collage of ideas. Firstly, I let it all out in my sketch books, the inspirations, illustrations, ideas, words and phrases. I then go back and look through them and often find that there are themes that I've unconsciously followed. Things like portraits of people that don't exist, except in my mind, that look identical but are separated by a time frame of about 2 years or phrases and words that just keep reappearing, popping up throughout my works. I thought, I've got these subconscious themes going on in my mind and I wanted to share that.
Your work combines lettering, illustration and pattern making… What about working with words and letterforms in your art excites or interests you?
I can't really explain it but I love the idea that letters can be illustrations too. That you can take a word or phrase and illustrate it and automatically it has new meaning, meaning that people can recognise immediately just by looking at it. When I experiment with words and ideas I'll write them in many different ways, with different emotion behind them. Sometimes it can take a really long time to get it right, and I'll sit on an idea and it's words for ages until maybe I see something or read something that brings it all together. Or sometimes i'll get really elaborate and get my pencil and ruler involved and I'm measuring and planning for ages and then it doesn't sit with the artwork just right, and I get annoyed so I just scribble it out and wow, that's how it's meant to look, that's it's true lettering form.
Like one of the works Green Lady and her Dust i've "quoted" her as saying "Dust is soft but not pleasant" and I like that it's just of scribbled out in this tiny writing, as if this character was quietly pondering on this thought and wrote it in her diary or something.
And sometimes they just don't work, so you have to let them go and that's ok too. But it think lettering and type can be art in it's own right, maybe it's come out of a design necessity but when you get into the details it's very human and sometimes those little "imperfections" are what make it right.
Do you have a particular medium or tool for design that you gravitate toward or enjoying working with most?
I really love using ink brush pens. I use them both for my lettering and illustrations. They allow for quick movement, contrast between thick and thin all in the one line at the same time.
I recently went to Japan and they had so many brush pens, so I HAD to grab as many as I could and bring them back home. Which I'm happy I did because I'm going through them really quickly.
I also like using Metallic colours to give a bit of contrast and colour as I usually feel most comfortable working with black inks, making everything a bit monochrome, Copic Markers are always fun too. When it comes to painting and pattern I love mediums that give a bit of a delayed reaction. Something that isn't revealed until it's dried out, it always gives me that feeling that I'm doing some sort of scientific experiment.