When we first saw Maria Midttun’s illustrations, we immediately wanted to know more about the illustrator behind the unique creations she makes. Norweigan-born and London-based, Midttun’s simple illustrations have such a lovely playfulness to them that signifies her illustrative style. We talked to the illustrator about her hometown of Norway, how her style developed, and how London has affected her as an artist.
“I’m from a small town in Norway and I studied illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth. I moved up to London after I graduated and have lived here since. I’ve always been drawing and making stuff; there’s not an exact moment which I recall that illustration was something I wanted to pursue, but I knew for a long time that I wanted to do something art-related. At upper secondary school I had a couple of really great art teachers that encouraged me to study art and also made me realise that I could do it for a living; at least give it a go. I would say my style is definitely something fluid, it continuously develops the more I draw and make. It has never been something I’ve been overly conscious about, it kind of just turned out that way and I decided to go with it. I think it is important to make sure there is room for experimenting within the way I work so I can stay excited about my practice. I like to draw with a charcoal pencil and I’m probably a bit too comfortable with it now. I’m also really enjoying Mogu Takahashi’s gouache paintings and sketchbook work!”
"It is a nice reminder to just go with it and not question about it too much during the creative process, and rather just see what works and what doesn’t afterwards."
“Now that I’m based in London, I think it’s hard to tell how it has affected me as an artist as I haven’t tried being an illustrator anywhere else; maybe I wouldn’t be so broke all the time. I guess London forces you to work super hard and be quite resourceful as living expenses here are ridiculous. It is frustrating as I need part time jobs and can’t justify renting a studio yet, but at the same time it is such an inspiring place to be with so many good exhibitions and gigs happening all the time to make up for it. I watched a documentary on Leonard Knight the other day, the guy behind ‘Salvation Mountain’ who said something along the lines of ‘the less I know about it the better it turns out’. It is a nice reminder to just go with it and not question too about it too much during the creative process, and rather just see what works and what doesn’t afterwards. Ideally in the future I hope to still be drawing and making art, and I don’t know where that would be; hopefully also get my things a little more together. If I were to see myself in a year’s time, I would be spending more time doing art and less time on other things.”