Martina Paukova

Modus Magazine, April 2015

You initially completed a degree in politics before moving to London. What was your key motivation in becoming an illustrator?

Ha, I actually keep forgetting that I do hold a Master Degree in politics! So yes, my path towards the illustration wasn’t direct at all – it was only towards the end of my studies in Slovakia when I fully became aware about all things visual. I completed the course, moved to London and started a graphic design course within which I focused on illustration, which became the tool of my choice and the medium that I have continued to develop. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that illustration adds visual dimension beyond the scope of the text; I love the way it forces the viewer / reader to engage with subject matter, it almost pre-digests the problem at hand and compacts the given context. 

Your work is incredibly bold and characterful. Who and what keeps you inspired?

I guess my answer here won’t be so dissimilar from most artists and image makers out there – my inspiration is the super visual world around me, the banal and the everyday. And I also must say that I’m continually inspired by the pictorial output of my fellow illustrators, colleagues and friends. Their creative take on things – the realities and small, quirky, self-contained worlds they manage to create – inspire and tickle me in a big way. But often the idea or the picture is triggered purely by circumstantial coincidence. I am big fan of work by Patrick Kyle, Jack Sachs, Bien Philty, Jamian Juliano Villani or David Biskup, to name a few. Coffee and the internet help too. 

Guardian Newspaper, July 2015

What’s your procedure when creating illustrations for the Guardian columns? What challenges do you face?  

The biggest and lenghtiest challenge is to reduce the given article into a scene which encompasses it at its best. So usually I start with reading and re-reading the text, picking up and jotting down words, objects, little happenings, that best reflect the goal of the article. Then follows the basic sketch of the composition and the rest happens in Adobe Illustrator. Luckily, as the visual language of the series along with colour scheme has been already established, the final piece gets born fairly speedily. 

How did your relationship with Owl Agency begin?

To be honest I don’t really remember! I think I approached them some time ago. They were based in Slovakia and they seemed a perfect match! Although I must say that my time with Owl is actually coming to its end; I am just about to join ranks of Agent Pekka and I won’t lie when I say that I am super excited about this.

SITU publication, April 2015

You recently just finished your MA at Camberwell College of Art. How do you feel the course has impacted on your practice?

The whole purpose of my MA studies was to give myself a bit of personal and conceptual playground – I wanted be able to pursue directions and themes I was drawn to with some sort of academic roofing/recognition above my head as opposed to commercial projects with briefs developed by clients. I guess I felt that the time had come to carve, develop and store bits and bops of my creativity and curiosity just for my own purposes, without any outside pressures and directions. The course finished only last month, leaving me with a plethora of new visual vocabulary to use and play with.

Sunbury House, MA degree show work, 2015

What’s next for you?

Hmm, work, work and work really. I have got a couple of commissions lined up for the month of August, also, I was invited to be a participating artist in the upcoming illustration festival in Prague called Lustr, that celebrates and promotes creative outputs from Czech and Slovak illustrators. Not to mention that with the new agent new pastures may open. We shall see. Overall, all good!

7th August 2015

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