3 Degrees of Inspiration: Maja Sten, Tyra von Zweigbergk & Ivan Chermayeff

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Editor’s Note: This is part 60 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the fifty-ninth part in the series, featuring Cecilia Carlstedt, Petra Börner & Erica Jacobson.

Erica Jacobson is inspired by …

Maja Sten

Maja is a very talented artist, who moves comfortably within different techniques when drawing or painting. I always find it inspiring when artists work on both commercial and personal projects. She has a bold and unique style, that really can stand for itself without context. It has a retro flirt, but is yet very contemporary—a great clash and also original imagery with great characters and animals. She is a skilled illustrator both when it comes to outlines or flat imagery. The color combinations are wonderful, and the images are really expressive and totally take over the scenery—they are not compromising which I appreciate.

This commission is so great because the illustration isn’t connected to yogurt. I love the stylized animals within this impactful composition. It’s a great combination of abstraction and figurativeness. When the campaign was published in the metro it really popped out. I get very happy when ad campaigns feature illustrations.

I love this bird, with its appealing color scale. It stares at you with a both demanding and sad look. Maja’s imagery has a lot of storytelling and a great sense of humor.


Maja Sten is inspired by …

Tyra von Zweigbergk

I have the great honor and joy to be working in the same studio as Tyra von Zweigbergk. What often strikes me about her is her total trust to her intuition. She has that enviable way of working, as you sometimes see with small children. They sit down and they just start. There is no hesitation. There is no eraser or changing. Her work is always decisive, playful, and quirky. Never dull or cute. Just like her personality. You can really feel her love for the making and drawing and cutting.

This is a project for a food delicatessen store in Stockholm, called Stockholms Matmarknad.I love the feeling of this baroque-inspired still life. It’s a traditional composition, but so modern in her naive and personal drawing. I can’t take my eyes from that strange owl in the middle and that scary octopussy next to it. The motif was also made into a pattern repeat and printed on wrapping paper. It is now covering delicious pieces of cheese, fish, and meat.

I really like these guys. Tyra’s skills when it comes to working with scissors are extraordinary. She is a paper sculptress. I guess it goes well with her decisiveness. The symmetrical cutting leaves room for surprises and playfulness. The silhouettes are primitive, fun, scary, and elegant at the same time. I just can get enough of this elephantish creature breakdancing in the ceiling.


Tyra von Zweigbergk is inspired by ….

Design Legend, Ivan Chermayeff

Ivan Chermayeff was featured in a book that I was given while studying design in the late ’90s, and his work showed me a way forward. The moving in and out of art, graphic design, advertising, and illustration was just what I wanted to do, but could not find examples around me. His work is everything that I like. It is playful, intelligent, graphic, and beautiful. The way it looks carefree and effortless, but still so exact and necessary to be just so, is brilliant.

This book cover has all of the above mentioned. It is just simple and perfect.

This poster is beautiful and sends the harsh message right through. Again, when you see it, you can’t think of any other way it could have been done.

Tune in next time to see where the chain goes!


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