2021-12-02 16:42:34 -0700
#gathregood with Maja SÄFSTRÖM
Give us your quick elevator pitch — what made you who you are, why you do art, how your life has influenced your art?
My name is Maja Säfström, I’m 34 years old and live in Stockholm with my family. I used to be an architect but unfortunately I was a very impatient and unstructured one… and patience and structure are key elements in being a descent architect.
Then, thanks to “productive procrastination” (kind of like when I made 5 drawings while avoiding answering these questions) I started drawing things other than houses. And here I am now! Working full-time drawing things other than houses and procrastinating whenever I get the chance.
We are huge Maja fans! Your art is so unique. Where did your style start? Do you pull from something specific when you’re getting inspiration?
Thanks so much!! I don't really believe in talent but I believe in liking to do something so much that you are willing to put in some hard work, and also the sense of knowing when something is nice. So I just draw and draw and draw until I reach that point! My best inspiration comes from awkward situations in life. It feels like a win-win. Something kind of frustrating/embarassing happens. Then it really helps to think “this will at least be a good story.” I sometimes even get a physical feeling of putting the brain to “rec-mode” when weird things happen. To be able to describe them later, for example, with a drawing.
What is your favorite thing to draw?
Hmm. Good question. It depends. Sometimes the things that are the biggest struggle to draw turn out best… But I do love to draw cats. Easy and always turn out great — perfect combo.
Do you love animals? If you could spend time with one animal at the zoo, what would it be?
I do love animals but I respect them enough to realise they might not feel the same for me. I dream of healthy oceans and old forests thriving with life. Even poisonous snakes and tigers with very sharp teeth. And then I am happy to stay far away and let them do their thing! Just knowing that they exist makes me very happy.
What do you want to be known for when you’re done doing art?
Oh… I don’t know. Wow. Funny, smart, and brilliant would be nice.
We love that Scandinavian vibe. What are your favorite elements of the aesthetic surrounding you that we could maybe incorporate more here in our corner of the world?
To take care of old things. Mend and fix and tell their stories. And when making new things, making them with love and with real materials that can be mended and fixed and that can tell a story.
Tell us about your top three favorite brands right now.
Gathre, of course. Hehe. For the two others, I will take the chance to shout out to some of my friends in Stockholm who have created great brands. Elin, who shares a studio with me, makes beautiful self-watering sculptures and I am so proud of her! So that is a clear favorite. And one more… My friends Petra and Ullis started a children’s clothing brand called Facade Apt and it’s so lovely. I really recommend!
What are your favorite art mediums?
I love gouache drawing and fineliners.
If you could go back in time and hang out with any artist in history, who would it be? Why do you love them?
Hmmm… I’m not sure. There is a movie now about Tove Jansson, the creator of Mumin. She seemed super cool. Maybe her.
Tell us about the journey of starting a shop and turning your art into a business. What advice do you have for artists who want to do what you did?
I never studied business so it has been a journey just to figure things out. It started with people asking if I could make prints of my drawings, and then I opened a webshop and it grew from there. It’s really a side thing, but I LOVE stationery products, so it’s really a dream come true making my own, like the tapes I’m making. So my advice is to produce things that you really like and want for yourself. And also get help with the economic documentation if you are not a person who LOVES that stuff.