Janine Rewell – Interview

The Helsinki-based illustrator and graphic designer Janine Rewell accepted to answer to our interview. Her work is inspired by the geometry of nature, decorative details and intense colors, Janine’s designs are an enchanting mix of Scandinavian design and Slavic folk art. It’s with pleasure that we show you her work…
// L’illustratrice et graphiste finlandaise Janine Rewell a accepté de répondre à notre interview. Son travail est inspiré par la géométrie de la nature, les détails décoratifs et les couleurs intenses, ces travaux sont un mélange de design scandinave et d’art folklorique slave. C’est avec plaisir que nous vous présentons son travail…


Hi Janine, how are you ?
I’m super happy at the moment. Spring is in the air.

Tell us more about you. Who are you ?
Born under lucky stars, I’m a Finnish young woman doing what I love the most. More precisely, I’m an award-winning freelance illustrator working worldwide from Helsinki.

What’s your interest about illustration and design? When did you start ?
I started exploring design field in visual arts high school. Illustration was always my favorite thing but at that point I wasn’t sure if I could make a profession out of it. I studied graphic design in universities, both in Finland (UIAH) and USA (RISD), but ended up being an illustrator anyways and now I’ve been freelancing fulltime for about four years. Nevertheless, those two professions balance eachother very well and a lot of my commissions combine both of them.

Your work is exposed in the book  “Scandinavian Graphic Design” (Gingko Press) that show the new generation of designers from Danmark to Finland. You are based in Helsinki – Finland, can you tell us more about the finnish design ?
Stereotypical Finnish design is user-centered; functional, clean and often inspired by our nature. During the past century our design field has developed to meet current demands, mainly created by a big middle class. Unlike most of the other countries, Finnish welfare society isn’t divided in strong social classes but everybody are “middle-class”. To reach the customers, Finnish designers have had a very functional and pragmatic approach to design. I think that’s a good contrast to many other parts of world where design is only made to satisfy the upper class and the end products become easily unnecessary decoration and pointless objects.
It’s good to be a designer in Scandinavia. Everyone are entitled to study art and design for free in university level, so becoming a designer doesn’t require any certain economical background. Therefore there is a lot of different kind of creators and voices taking part in the cultural development.

You won awards (a bronze Design Lion in 2009 at Cannes Ads Festival and a Junior Award in 2010) and nomination too (as one of the twenty best new visual artists of 2010). Each one has been a step for you ?
Getting all those awards has definately given me more professional confidence, recognizability within the design field and hype around my work.

You have your own style of illustration / design. What inspires and influences you ?
I didn’t create my style by planning its inspiration beforehand. Later I realized that the visuals reflects strongly the cultural surroundings where I grew up. Finland is located by Baltic Sea between Russia and Sweden. It’s a weird mix of northern and eastern europe; Scandinavian design has its traditions in pure clean forms and slavic style is very ornamental, decorative and colorful. Folk tales are filled with mystical imagination and craziness. Being born (and bored) in the era of technology, rationality and science, all pre-christian cultures and pagan mythologies like Slavic folklore continues to interest me.

What does your typical day look like ?
I’m not a morning person and what I love most about being a freelancer is that I can decide my own working hours. Usually I do my emails from home while eating breakfast-lunch and around noon I head to my studio space, which I share with some of my designer friends. Evenings and nights are best time for me to be creative and since a lot of my clients are from other timezones, it’s actually a good thing. I do a lot of sketching by hand before starting with vectors.

Some projects to come ?
Keep an eye on my portfolio, there’s a lot of nice projects coming up! Next in line are new Swedish dairy packaging designs.

The last word…
Check out : www.janinerewell.com



> www.janinerewell.com

Interview : Dennis Moya – March 2012
All pictures, artworks and illustrations are © Janine Rewell.
Janine Rewell portrait by Juha Peurala.