Cast your mind back to June, when YGT hit up the High Noon degree show from the Arts University Bournemouth. Well, now we’re excited to feature one of the hugely talented graduates who’s taking the illustration world by storm.
Born in Denmark and taught to draw in long, folksy strokes, by her grandmother, Maia Fjord creates evocative, everyday images that pluck at the heartstrings, while also exploring imagination, dream worlds and all things magical. Maia’s illustrations vary from scenes of Cornish folklore depicting wide-eyed children making friends with mermaids, to prints of foxes and wasps – which, we assure you are cute, not terrifying.
But, that’s not to say Maia’s work is always adorable. One of her images in particular brings modern life in to perspective. In this illustration, a tiny girl is entombed by the light of her computer screen while monsters in human clothes peer over her shoulder and loiter in the dark. Technology is a recurring theme in this illustrator’s work, screen prints show a woman bathed in the eerie light of her television set. Almost all of Maia’s images also include some kind of animal, whether dogs and foxes or mythical beasts.
One such creature is Mikkel, the eponymous imaginary friend in Maia’s latest children’s book ‘Me and Mikkel’. His world is one of woodlands and playtime, with magical tiny towns and all kinds of fascinating creatures. The book raises a sense of nostalgia for childhood, and a memory of the loneliness that can come with it. It’s art with a wonderful narrative attached; a lasting impression gleaned from all of Maia’s work.
Whether it’s a dog-walk in the rain or a hot air balloon drifting over mountain, town or riverside, there’s always something more behind the imagery that she weaves. When magic meets the real world and adorable animals convey human emotion, each picture brings new delights. A little look at Maia’s website somehow takes up hours of your day – and that’s before you discover her Instagram account. This is one graduate we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on.
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Words: Stef Palmer | @RoboStef