Artist Interview: Catching Up with Marija Tiurina


NeonMob has collaborated with London-based artist Marija Tiurina several times before. She's one of our most successful artists; her collections are sought after and even inspire some strange collecting habits! Today, we're proud to release Marija's newest collection, "Untranslatable Words," a visual dictionary of 14 words from other languages that have no direct translation into English. 

It's been a while since we first interviewed Marija on the blog, so I asked her what's been going on lately. 

From "Untranslatable Words"

From "Untranslatable Words"

Is there anything new or noteworthy that's been going on in your life – personally or professionally – since your last collection was released on NeonMob?

Not a lot to report: I have been working on several smaller and bigger paintings, went to a couple of inspiring and beautiful Belgian towns, started preparation for a new drawing-related hobby but am still keeping that secret :-) 

From your Facebook page, it looks like you're working in watercolor more these days. What about watercolor is so compelling to you? Do you plan on trying any other new media?

I love watercolor and I am not very good in it, so every painting is a practice step for me. It's a pleasure seeing that some sort of progress is happening and my skills are getting better bit by bit (slowly but steadily). I love watercolor because it doesn't leave you a chance to make mistakes – every layer is a final one in some way, as watercolor painting technique is based on transparency while oil/acrylics make it possible for an artist to cover up mistakes with new layers of paint. This makes me focus when I paint, which is my way of getting arty satisfaction, I guess. Also you might have noticed I love getting into detail – watercolor lets me do that as much as I want.


How is it being an artist in London these days? Do you feel like you have a strong community of fellow artists that you relate to locally, or does the internet make where you live moot?

The internet is everything when it comes to browsing through inspiring stuff and recent works of fellow artists. London is pretty cool when it comes to galleries, but every exhibition has limited range of works while the web is an endless online exhibition. London has its own arty vibe, though – some areas have lots on informal places, events, cool people and amazing street art. Going there can inspire some seriously creative thinking!

From "Untranslatable Words"

From "Untranslatable Words"

How did you come up with the idea for "Untranslatable Words"? Was there a particular thing or circumstance that you were thinking of when you came up with the idea? Was it difficult to create the images once you thought of a new untranslatable word? 

There are certain viral "lists" that are fun to illustrate, they create a base for a nice and fun set of images. Untranslatable words have been around for a while, and I am not pretending it's a unique and original idea – it has been done before. But a lot of things have, and that doesn't mean the subject has to be closed once someone takes an illustrative pass on that. I guess I just wanted to take a fun theme that people always have interest in when browsing the web, and illustrate my own vision of these untranslatable concepts. 

From "Untranslatable Words"

From "Untranslatable Words"

Are you still a video game designer? What are you working on these days in that world?

I am still working in a games studio, yes! I am a part of a small prototype team. We are working on concepts, ideas and prototypes. This includes taking an idea and trying to see if we can make a quick playable build that would be fresh, original and fun! Then, if the studio decides it's a cool thing, we go ahead and create a more presentable build that is then shown to potential publishers. It's a little bit like experimental cooking – come up with crazy recipes in order  to create something fresh and original! 

Besides making art, designing games, and cats, what else are you obsessed with these days?

Just doing things I like - that's the way to live our short lives :-)