Thursday, 14 May 2009

Marjo Loponen

Browsing through illustrator Marjo Loponen’s designs is like rifling through a box of secrets. Spanning across design mediums and encompassing both public and private experience, Marjo’s captivating illustrations reveal an artist unafraid to cross traditional boundaries.

From a visual diary of Polaroids to sketches of sleeping figures on the tube, alongside posters, layout designs and fashion photography, Marjo's work could never be pigeonholed amongst conventional expectations of illustration. Emblematic of the diversity and cross-disciplinary nature of today's creatives, Marjo’s dedication to creating an engaging narrative draws this wide body of work together into a cohesive and thought-provoking collection.

How would you describe your illustration style? What materials and processes do you use?
My style is relatively clean. I sketch a lot, I plan a lot. I do research to the point where it almost turns against me, this is what I'll try to learn from during future projects, to narrow down and trust my gut. I love the crafting side of creating an image, when I go down to the silk screen and letter press it's like a fun day out for me. I suppose balance would be ideal. To use both tools, the digital and the manual.

A lot of your illustrations relate to personal experiences, do you find illustration cathartic?
I like the challenge when I'm expected to illustrate other people's ideas or answer the briefs given to me, but I suppose it is an outlet for me when I create something that is from a personal experience. It takes the role of a diary almost. Sometimes I just have to make something out of an experience so that I won't forget it.

You work with a number of different mediums - photography, drawing, printing, collage – how do you balance these techniques?
I suppose I don't really know how to stay in the pathway of specific mediums. Then again, the more open the brief is the more I struggle in choosing how I'll work. I always start by sketching, and I handwrite everything down. Sometimes it stays in that stage… sometimes I know that it'd look better when done in a different media.

Are there any artists or illustrators that have shaped your personal style?

I'm a media, visual media, junkie. I seek images and I write down things that I hear. My older sibling is a designer, the most organised person I've ever known, and from there I suppose I've grown to appreciate good ground work. She has shaped my style, made it more considered, more thought through. I also find a sense of humour important. The illustrator and comic artist Tom Gauld manages to impress me every time and I suppose I've wanted to tell stories in a similar way to his. Another one whose work I often look at for inspiration is a young illustrator in New York, Patrick Moberg.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I'm working towards a deadline that I am very excited about; a combined exhibition with some of my fellow illustrators. We have a theme, and I am planning on using constructed photography as my media. I'm looking at the way domestic photography is in our lives, I am questioning the meanings we give to photographs and vice versa. I will be shooting abroad soon, lots of planning to do until then, and lots of experimenting. Just what I love!

See more of Marjo's work here

by Jack Moss


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