A graphic designer and artist who hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Issue 80 artist Vikki Wiercinski is a master of bold linework with an even bolder colour palette. Vikki began her practice with a stationery and household line, which in 2015 was re-envisioned as Mezzaluna Studio, a textile and paper goods studio with a mid century modern twist. Vikki’s work will knock your socks off with her intricate patterning and swirling shape with stunningly perfect colour combinations.
Get to know her better in the interview below.
Tell us about the work we are featuring in Papirmass.
This issue of Papirmass is a sampling of four vignettes from recent years of my calendar designs. For the past four years, I’ve designed a calendar of unique abstract patterns. It’s fun to get twelve motifs to feel like they are from the same family but not to be too similar. It’s a personal challenge every year to get them just right and see where my work is going.
Regarding your creative process, how do you make the leap from idea to finished piece?
I start with sketchbook drawings of various forms, and then I move them into my design programs. From there I push them around until I find a composition I like, then I add colour. I keep of colour compositions I come across or think up – you could call them colour notes – and I flip through those to find fresh ways to make my arrangements pop. Because I work in abstract shapes it’s a very intuitive process.
What matters most in your studio?
Natural light. Other than that I just need my laptop, a pen and a sketchbook and some time to see what I can jam together.
What routines or rituals help you get into the creative zone?
You know all those coffee shops full to the brim with artist types in the middle of the day? I’m one of those. Like a lot of creative people, I suspect my routine is rather erratic. Sometimes I’m up early, but mostly I’m a night owl. I’m not a 9-5er. Getting into the creative zone almost always means just sitting down and working on whatever I’m working on: within 10 minutes I’m in the zone.
I like to take a long walk to mull over a creative problem; sometimes the solutions come when you’re not looking at the work. I also like to change my surroundings and routine a lot: some days I’ll get up and ride my bike to a coffee shop clear across town instead of heading straight to my studio just for the routine shakeup. I travel as much as I can, and I’m always drawing on these trips. Many of those scribbles turn into the work you see now, but it’s the shift in surroundings that spurs it.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I recently completed my first public art piece, in which I designed motifs that were cast into concrete cladding for the exterior of Edmonton’s Lewis Farms Fire Hall.
What challenged you most at the start of your career?
I started out as a graphic designer but never worked for a big company. When I left my non-profit design job to focus on freelance, I felt it was a hurdle to not have much big agency experience, but it turns out none of my clients cared!
How has your practice changed over time?
My work is clearer, simpler, more mature and restrained than it used to be. I think my motifs and colour palettes are more challenging than they were even a few years ago, and I really like that, it brings something new to the table. I also used to turn to the internet for inspiration a lot, and that caused my work to start looking like the trends of the day. Now, everything comes from a less comparative place, and it’s way more solid and true. I rarely see work like my own, which is great. I suppose I like running in the wrong direction, and I’ve found it tends to pan out.
What has your creative practice taught you about yourself?
That I couldn’t do anything other than create for a living. And that if you just relax and keep pushing those shapes around, magical things happen.
Is creativity is learned or innate?
To me, creativity is about not following rules too closely and not worrying about results from the outset. It’s about being comfortable swimming around in the unknowns, thinking about things abstractly, and about trusting your gut to help you sort out a problem. If you can learn to think about things abstractly, then you can be creative in whatever field you’re in.
What does it take to make original work today?
Being true to yourself, not to trends. It also helps having a good business brain so that you can pay your mortgage and continue to make original and visionary work.
Got any life advice?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have a solid life outside of work; it recharges you. And get outside, nature is a powerful force for creativity!
Vikki Wiercinski is our August 2016 artist. See more at mezzalunastudio.ca