1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I am a French graphic designer (so first of all, excuse my English! ahah). I was born in the South of France, in Montpellier, but my parents quickly moved to a small city near Paris. My mom moved to Switzerland, and now she lives in New York. All these moves, see all these different landscapes and countries made me very curious and always amazed by the world. My philosophy is that if one day, I am not surprised and fascinated by the world anymore, I will not be able to create or be inspired. It’s really a need to be creative! I also have four sisters and one brother, so family has great importance in my life and my art.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I am specialized in illustration. My aesthetic is about dream, imagination, and little world. I like to make people dreaming with my illustrations, but also sometimes think about something important, some important society subjects. But my aesthetic is always with some poetic. But I have to say that I don’t think to have a characteristic style, I love a lot of things, I love to experiment. I am still in a phase of my life that I discover Photoshop and Illustrator, and sometime I have some unexpected result, and I think that is what makes my illustration more sensitive.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I have two favorite mediums: I love painting because there is this natural texture that makes the illustration alive and it’s very authentic. Also, it’s quite difficult if you make a mistake, so it’s a work about concentration and it’s a way for me to be focus and calm. But I also work a lot on Illustrator and Photoshop. It’s very easy to create some little worlds with texture, colors and everything is possible with a digital medium. That’s what I like.
4. What is your artistic process like?
My artistic process is essentially dreaming. Most of the times I have some illustrations ideas in the night or when I am calm, open-minded, open to the world. When I have an idea and if I can’t make the illustration immediately, I just draw quickly the idea and later I realize it on Illustrator. For the texture effects, I work then on Photoshop. I never really had some classes to learn how to do digital illustrations so I learned by myself or thanks to internships in agencies, so my artistic process is maybe not the perfect one but maybe that’s how it make it more poetic and less perfect.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
My father was an artist when he was younger, and I think it affected me and my way to see the world. His work was only imaginary illustrations and quite similar to the Surrealistic movement and he shared this world with me. Nature is a big part of my life and it’s something that affects me on my creations. Walking, or do some sport outside opens the mind and I am more creative. Travel and visit new places is also something very inspiring for me because I always want to share my discoveries with others, so I created some illustrations to give my point of view of this place, or how I felt it and give a kind of atmosphere.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art has a big place in my life. First of all in my study, but also thanks to my family, they are very open-minded and interested in art, especially my grandma. I shared a lot of things with her, and I always been encouraged to do art. No one tried to stopped me. In some families, art can’t be a work. When I was a child, I drew a lot, and I am left-handed. If my parents forced me to be right-handed, I am not sure to be an artist, graphic designer today. Let the choice of your child be left-handed and work in art, it gives a lot of confidence and encouragement to do what you really like in your life and believe in yourself.
7. Where did you study?
I am still studying at this moment. I did an Art high school and then one year of preparatory class in Applied Arts. This school permits me to do a two years Applied Arts license specialized in print media. Now, I am doing a master of two years in Applied Arts specialized in eco-design. I just came back from a three months internship in Finland. That was a great experience! The culture, education, landscape, and everything is so different. That was very rewarding for me and my work. I am very interested about social design, I had the chance to do an internship in a publishing house which create and publish books for blind children, and I did two books, an ABC-book and one to learn how to count. Now, this year, my thesis is about dyslexic children and I would like to create a digital method, website or application to help them to read and count. Watch this space!
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
Where do I see myself in five years? I really don’t know, but I like a mystery. Sometimes you can be lucky and have a great opportunity. I don’t know if I will work in an agency or in freelance. I think working with others is a source of inspiration, so I will prefer to work in an agency, or if I am alone maybe in a co-working space.
9. What about in ten?
In ten years, hopefully, I will be able to have enough money to live thanks to my job in art and design. I don’t see myself in ten years in France, I would like to travel and live in a different country and culture.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope to achieve with my art to give some happiness, dreaming of people but also think about important society subjects. I hope to help with my art, it’s the point. Be an illustrator and designer can change the world or the way we see it. A little good idea and everything can change, especially in my eco-design school. We try to find new ideas and solutions to be more responsible, eco-friendly, whether in publishing, visual identity but also in digital design.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I am a big fan of food. I like everything, especially cheese. A four cheese pizza and I am super happy. But one day, I ate an eight cheese pizza and I was the happiest person in the world! Ahah. Sushis are also one of my favorite foods. I am so a big fan that most of my clothes have some food patterns!
12. Favourite book?
It’s not very original but my favorite books are Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Since I am a child I can read it again and again! But I am a big fan of magazines with a great layout, like Flow magazine. It’s a kind of philosophy – design – style of life magazine, very inspiring thanks to ideas but they also always have great illustrations of artists.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I really love the Rockabilly genre of music, it’s so full of energy and it’s perfect in the background when I work. It helps to stay awake and be concentrate!
14. What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are essentially sport, like swimming. And I like to go out at the weekend to walk and pick some fruits. I also have a passion for movies, animation movies and short film, so cinema is my second home. And of course, I draw and make some illustrations when I have free time!
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
If I wasn’t an artist, what would I be? If I wasn’t an artist-designer, I think I would be a school teacher in infant school or primary school. Children are so inspiring, they are always full of ideas, we can’t be bored with a child. They are very creative, in games or in art, drawing. I see myself as a big child, and keeping a child’s soul is a way to be always open to the world and creative.
Bonus: maybe you want to know where my artist name comes from, a lot of people asked me. So there is my story if you are interested: my real name is Océane Boquet, but one of my sisters wanted to call me “Maya” because of the animation movie “Maya the bee”. Maya became my second name thanks to her! Then, I choose Maya Culpa because of the Latin expression “Mea culpa” which means “my fault” or “excuse me”, “I am sorry”. And this expression because I always apologize for everything in my life, to everybody, and sometimes it can be very annoying for people!