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Beach Meets : Maria Ines Gul

We’ve been long-time fans of M.I.G’s stuff and have worked with her on a number a projects, including our recent SHEET magazine, and she’s showing in next weeks show, Ouija. With a background in textile design, she produces awesome narrative led illustrations and seeing as she’s just finished a degree, we thought it was high time we caught up with her and found out what she’s got planned for the future. Check out our interview with Notorious M.I.G below…

Hey Maria, how are you? All good, thanks! I’ve just graduated from Royal College of Art and it’s still a bit overwhelming…

Congrats on your degree! Your graduation coat is sick! Can you tell us a bit about how that came about and the process of making it? Thank you! It’s actually the longest self-led project I’ve ever worked on and that’s why it was a challenge from the very first moment. The idea came to me in a strange vision and after writing my dissertation on narratives in textiles, I just knew I had to make it happen. At that time I was also reading a lot on Jung, folk tales and symbolism.. My wardrobe is a very important part of my life. The coat is a piece of workwear, a suit of armour, a fashion object and a self-therapy. It was accompanied by an installation I called “Panic Attack survival Kit and Other Stories”, where one of the objects was a glove with hand-stitched BREATHE on it, surreal reminder as breathing should be the most natural thing to do. I felt really lost and stressed about the idea of leaving the college so I decided to make this magical coat to help me survive that weird time of transition. I had to make the entire thing from scratch and learn how to embroider in just few months. I started with the machine embroidery and then decided to make everything by hand as a meditation process. Thankfully, I find myself inspired by the limits and in this case – limited number of colours, threads, and stitches. In the end, I found it not that far from my usual practice – when I’m stuck I usually take just few colours colours of pencils with me to the studio.

So what’s next? Any exciting projects coming up that you can reveal? I’m really excited to go back to drawing and taking on commissions. I’m quite fast and enjoy working spontaneously, so short time briefs are perfect for me. Lucikly, I havent got a chance to slow down after RCA and have just worked on projects for Adobe, Lena Dunham, Gemma Cairney and Pitchfork Review. I’m planning a solo show in East London.

Your illustration work is really wonderful – it’s dreamy yet with a humorous and often dark edge. Where do you get the inspiration for the motifs you draw? Thank you! Not much changed since I was a teenager – I like to use lines from songs or poems as a starting point. I owe Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush like half of my sketchbook.

You’re one of Rookie Mag’s in-house illustrators, how has your experience been working with them? And does the work you do for them differ from your personal work? If so, how? Rookie has been a really wonderful place. Everyone is really supportive and it feels like a big family. The thing I enjoy the most is the editor’s trust and freedom we get. I love Tavi’s moodboards, too. Every month I do High 5 – series where artists/musicians/celebrities talk about their favourite 5 things. I illustrated pieces from Jemima Kirke, Grimes, Alexa Chung and Florence Welch. I always feel challenged when it happens to be my own favourite person.

You recently did a pin that seems to have received a good amount of hype – have you got plans to do more products? How do you find creating items/wearables as opposed to drawing? Yes – it’s crazy! Last batch sold out in less than 6h and now the pin is back in stock. There were some very sweet emails from people tattooing it because they were so afraid of losing the pin! As much as I’m into drawing on paper and just for fun, I’ve always been interested in making things with a function/ that can be wearable. I’m really into narrative textiles and and would love to design some prints soon.

We’ve heard that you’re really into children’s books! Can you share with us a few of your favourites? My latest favourite is Home – new Carson Ellis’ book. I adore Flying Eye Books. I’m also a fan of a Klassen-Barnett duo.

What would a dream commission be? A children’s book!

Check out more of Maria’s stuff here – and keep an eye out for Notorious M.I.G’s contribution to Ouija, which opens on the 15th October.