Instagram: @lamaisondudessin

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

Hi! My name is Irina. I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia -the city of White Nights and a backdrop for many novels by Dostoevsky. For the last ten years, I have been living in Germany, where I stayed after my design studies, found new friends and fell in love with illustration.

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I love minimalistic design, which has probably its origins in the scarce Nordic landscapes of my homeland and my passion for architectural forms. Though I enjoy experimenting with colours, I try to keep my colour palette quite limited and keep focus on lines and shapes. Adding some feminine touch to my art is important for me – women inspire me a lot and I love using curvy lines which stand for me for fluidity, change and growth.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

At the moment, I am mostly drawing digitally on my iPad as it fulfils my inner perfectionist, allows me to undo and start all over again any moment. It is also very practical when you are travelling or taking advantage of nice weather and draw outside. My favourite analogue medium is watercolour –I am totally fascinated with the beautiful colour gradients and effects that the mix of water and pigment makes on paper –you can not completely control the process and have to learn to let go.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I often make simple photos with my phone to capture some ideas on the go, things that I find beautiful or that somehow stand out to me for any reason, and later I come back to these photos for inspiration. I also love doing simple pencil sketches to try different ideas out. Sketching on paper helps me finalize the concept, when I’m not quite sure where the journey is going. When the topic is more complex or I feel like I need more insights I do some research as well. Whenever I have a clear idea of what the piece should look like –I go directly for the digital sketch.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

Inspiration is everywhere -the patterns hidden in the city jungles or the beauty of nature -there is so much to discover! And of course work of artists and illustrators, both modern or from previous epochs. As I love geometric forms, I am very inspired by the Bauhaus design school and its radically simplified forms as well as Russian avant-garde movement.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

I have been drawing since I can remember myself and this process has always been something magical to me –to be able to let out your emotions, feelings, ideas and make them tangible. Art taught me to be attentive to small details and see beauty everywhere -in the way how smoothly the light flows across a surface, in amazing reflections on a metal object or in unexpected colour combinations. You discover a superpower to see more.  

7. Where did you study?

After school, I followed my passion for geometry and spatial design and studied architecture in Saint Petersburg. Later, I graduated with a master degree in media design at the Bauhaus university in Weimar, Germany. I have always been fascinated by how different arts can combine and complement each other, like an illustration as a mural on a building can become a part of an architectural landscape or architectural motives be a part of an illustration.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to be able to do things I love, have a possibility to work with inspiring people worldwide and develop professionally as well as personally.

9. What about in ten?

Be happy and enjoy my life, whatever it would mean to me at that point. I don’t want to map out things that could develop differently and bring amazing experiences.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I hope that emotions and feelings I convey through my art will relate to some people and motivate, inspire or comfort them in some way.

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I love cooking a lot –for me it’s a super creative process as well as very meditative. Also, I love experimenting with Russian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines and I can’t follow the recipe without mixing it up completely. I am a huge fan of buckwheat, coco milk, oatmeal, olives, dried tomatoes, sweet potatoes, dates and figs. 

12. Favourite book?

I have a faible for novels with philosophical touch which make you reflect on some things, like “The Double” by Fedor Dostoevsky or “The Stranger” by Albert Camus.

13. Favourite genre of music? 

It depends on my mood, generally it could be literally anything. At home I have a small vinyl collection and the ones I currently put most often are Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” and Bob Dylan’s “The Freewheelin”.

14. What are your hobbies? 

I enjoy learning and trying new things. But old good activities like reading, watching a movie or having a long stroll help me relax and recenter myself when needed.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

At school I wanted to be a linguist or a professor of art history. Both these areas still appeal to me a lot. I love different cultures, discovering new things, finding more about how people live or how they used to live in the past.