An Interview: Maria Tran Larsen, Graphic Designer

Fusing Culture, Color and Movement |

Copenhagen based graphic designer, Maria Tran Larsen creates a unique fusion of the everyday world colored with a burst of humor and fluid graphic elements. With a Master’s Degree in Design from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, her talents include graphic design, illustration and motion graphics.

We had the chance to catch up with her and hear her thoughts on designing for film, music and how social media has impacted her. Always interested in how artists are describing their work, Maria left it up to us to define her style. We decided to her work could be shown closely with other Pop Realism artists. What do you think?

Illustration for New Zealand independent design magazine Threaded - Graphic Designer Maria Tran Larsen

Illustration for New Zealand independent design magazine Threaded

An Interview

Q: As an artist what was the first medium that inspired you? Did this lead you down the path of graphic design?

A: Definitely drawing and animation. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved to draw and I dreamt about becoming an animator. When I got older I discovered Saul Bass. He completely opened my world for the art of film posters and title sequences – and then I knew. I found out that you can combine graphic design with music and film, which was two things that I loved. That lead me to where I am today.

Graphic Designer Maria Tran Larsen

Film poster for “First Kiss” a dark film by Hel (Milad Alami & Ali Abbasi) – designed by Maria Tran Larsen

Q: Not many designers can understand the translation of static into animation. Where do you get your ideas for your animated gifs?

A: Sometimes I just see a story before me, but it really depends on what the gif is for. A thing I like, is to incorporate humor in some way.

Graphic Designer Maria Tran Larsen

Gif for Superhero Magazine – designed by Maria Tran Larsen

Q: You seem to have a strong connection to creating for musicians. What is it like to create art that represents sound? Is there a collaboration process?

A: I love to work with other creative people or medias that are different from what I do, like music or film. It’s very inspiring. When I’m creating an album cover, I talk with the artist about the music and listen to the album while I’m working. I like the process of analyzing a piece of art and then transform it into something else.

Album artwork for Maja Gry - a Danish pop artist - designed by Maria Tran Larsen

Album artwork for Maja Gry – a Danish pop artist – designed by Maria Tran Larsen

Q: What style would you use to describe your graphic design? It does have a very distinct look and feel.

A: It’s so difficult to describe your own style. (I think I will leave that to you.)

Q: What is your favorite project to date?

A: I think my favorite is the cover I did for Brain, a Japanese design magazine. I’m really curious about Japan and am very inspired by Japanese design, so I was pretty excited when they e-mailed me. They gave me free hands with the theme ‘Happy Creation’. My first happy creation was to draw, so I found a comic strip from when I was 6 years old, about a girl who lives in a cloud house. She kisses boys and rides ponies. Thought provoking right? So I decided to recreate the piece into the cover.

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Magazine cover for Japanese design magazine Brain – designed by Maria Tran Larsen

Q: What are you currently working on? What’s exciting for you?

A: At the moment I’m working on rebranding a Norwegian company for the Asian market. Identity, logo and product packaging. The whole idea was to create something with the feel of East meets North – a project that seems perfectly suited for me, as I am half Vietnamese and half Danish. Can’t show you anything yet, so stay tuned…

Q: How has social media impacted you as an artist (if at all)?

A: It’s very difficult to ignore the power of social media. Lately I’ve started to get some of my jobs through Facebook and Instagram, and I use it too to discover other graphic designers and artists.

To see more from Maria Tran Larsen visit her website or social: mariatran.dk – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Tumblr

 

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