I found Zuza's fascinating website a few weeks ago and for the first time I thought she is a Japanese artist. In fact she is a Polish girl from Warsaw.
I asked her about her work and background.
How did you become an illustrator?
I am an illustrator and filmmaker currently based in Wasaw, Poland. After graduation from the Polish National Film School I decided to pursue in two directions - as an animator and illustrator. It was natural because I have been drawing and designing since I was a kid.
Seeing your website and the animations you are deeply inspired by Japanese illustrations. Why and how?
Honestly that influence is unintentional. My principles of aesthetics are similar to Japanese - flat compositions with bold colour and defined outline, a style of drawing which is neither realistic not cartoonish. I was influenced by Ukiyo-e and manga as much as by Aubrey Beardsley, Alfons Mucha and Preraphaelites. On the other hand, very often when I talk with Japanese friends or read Japanese books, I discover that my way of thinking is more from the East than from the West. Perhaps I was just incarnated on the wrong side of the globe. I definitely have to go to Japan to figure it out.
What and who else inspire you?
I try to observe the world with eyes wide open because I never know where the inspiration will come from. It can be a ride on a crowded city bus or a crow jumping clumsily on a branch of the tree. Nature is the best designer of all, life writes the best scenarios.
What music do you listen to while working?
I work at night and listen to the strange sound made by the sleeping city. I have a bunch of CDs including Joanna Newsom, Cornelius, Rovo, Yat-Kha, Ella Fitzgerald, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ishq, Anouar Brahem...
What are you trying to express/explain with your art? What are your favourite topics?
A brutality hidden behind cuteness. Old fairy tales retold again.
Could you tell us something about your work process? Which part of the work is the most interesting? What do you enjoy mostly?
Every concept starts with the pencil and paper - that is the most creative part. Sometimes I make a lot of research which brings unexpected discoveries.
What is your dream work or project that you have not yet opportunity to make? What are your lifetime art goals?
Creative process itself is my goal. I want my drawings and designs to get into animated film, websites and games.
How do you typically spend your time when you don't work?
If I could, I would sit on the sandy Baltic beach all day long, observing colours of the sea. Unfortunately I live in Warsaw, which is a city of concrete blocks so I usually stay at home with my boyfriend and cat. I watch movies, read books or make toys.
Who are your favorite artists?
Artsists like Van Eyck, Jean-Baptiste Chardin, preraphaelites, Jacek Malczewski, Aubrey Beardlsey, Georgia O'Keefe, Takashi Murakami.
I like works of Psyop and Tokyoplastic, music videos by Michel Gondry, artworks of Ray Caesar and Yuko Shimizu illustrations. As for animated film I am a devout fan of Hayao Miyazaki.
Where can we find/see your works? What are you working at recently?
I am in the summer mood, making a little animation about the Amazon rainforest. Apart from that I am involved in an animated film project - a modern fairytale written by my friend. It is too early to reveal any details right now but soon I will post some designs on my blog (http://www.zuzamade.blogspot.com/)
check out also: http://www.zuzamade.com/
(To celebrate the 500th post I made cinamon plum cakes as well. Enjoy!)