Tuesday, September 07, 2010

an interview with maria-thérèse of afiori

i stumbled onto maria-thérèse's etsy shop - afiori - long ago. from there, i was led to her blog (i love how she does all of her posts in both english and swedish). we've been exchanging comments and mails and facebook updates for sometime now and she feels like an old friend, even tho' we've never met in person. i sent her interview questions a few weeks ago and now, at last, i have her answers. i find them to be completely worth the wait and i hope you will too...(the pictures are all hers and many of them are available as different products in her etsy shop)

1. sometimes living a creative life (and not succumbing to mind-numbing corporate hell) is difficult, how do you make it work?

I have always been very creative. It's like this force inside me which can't be stopped. While I've never been in corporate hell, I did go to school and university for many years and also tried to work as a teacher, but I would incorporate creativity in my work and then create things for myself and for friends at night. If you are talking money, I don't find it a lot more difficult being a full-time artist than being the youngest and last employed substitute teacher in times of financial crisis. Starting www.afiori.com is one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

2. what do you do to relax when you get stressed out?

Nothing. I honestly don't know how to relax but I know I have to learn. One thing that helps is to watch action movies. The more explosions, the better. I suppose that when I see someone else being in an extremely stressful situation with explosions and car chases, I feel a little bit relaxed in comparison. Gosh, this sounds sad. Seriously, if someone could teach me how to relax I'd appreciate it.

3. you make the most fantastic photographic collages without using photoshop, can you share a little bit of your secret?

Why thank you! Well, photography is one thing and collage is another. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and with paper. To create this collage, Find Your Wings, I printed out a photograph I had taken of some pink flowers. I painted on the photograph using acrylics, scraped off the paint, printed out a vintage image as a transparency, hand coloured it a bit and stuck it to the paint, added real leaves, painted some more, scraped off paint and scanned it all in when it was finished. Many of my collages are from my own art journals and then I use them as covers for the journals I sell.

When it comes to photography, I had my own darkroom as a child and learnt traditional darkroom techniques, so I tend to think in terms of negatives instead of layers and I prefer the photography part – observing the light, the shadows and the vantage point – to doing too many things afterwards on the computer. There are so many creative ways to take photographs. My main reason for not getting Photoshop was that it's really expensive but now I feel that I'm a bit against it, simply because I wouldn't feel as creative if a programme helped me a lot. I am not saying that Photoshop is bad or that others shouldn't be using it, not at all, but I think it may be easy to become too reliant on Photoshop.

I do use other programmes to alter or merge photographs but very simple – and free - ones. One came with my scanner..! I also like to print out photographs like I said above and physically do things to them.

4. what's your ultimate dream camera (and money is no object)?

It would take huge photographs without noise and it would have an extremely flexible lense. It would be smaller and lighter than the camera I'm using now (which is supposed to be one of the world's smallest digital SLR:s but it's still heavy to carry and handle all day for two small hands); it would focus extremely quickly in auto mode and also never break. Oh, and it would have some sort of shell so you could change the colour of the camera. Maybe it could have wings as well and just fly next to me and at night we could watch violent movies together.

5. where is your favorite vacation destination?

Rome, London, Florence, Paris, a beach in France, my mum's house and having waffles outside my aunt's house on a hill.

6. explain the true meaning of fika.

Fika is a wonderful thing. Here in Sweden, you can ask a friend if they want to go and fika with you. It means you'll meet at a café, have something to drink and a piece of cake, cookies, something sweet to go with the drink and you'll talk and hang out for a while. You can also fika on your own. Fika is both a noun and a verb: fika is the things you are eating and drinking and also the word for what you are doing. Fika is a very important social thing and if someone comes to your house and you don't offer them fika they will think you are a little bit crazy or at least very rude.

7. what's your favorite part about being your own boss?

The world makes more sense to me now. I never really understood why someone else should be telling me what to do anyway.

8. what's hardest about being your own boss?

Let me tell you – my boss is crazy! She makes me work all the time without any vacation. Well, she let me go to Paris a while back but demanded I take nine hundred photographs and talk to galleries while I was there. Sure, she takes me out to fika sometimes and I can sleep until ten in the morning, but she expects me to do everything, even the bookkeeping. Still, I have to say I really like my job.

9. are you a night person or a morning person?


10. you've been doing a lot of photoshoots lately...is it fun to branch out into portraits or a bit scary?

Can you keep a secret? afiori is also branching out into photo jewellery! There will also be calendars very soon. I've actually done a lot of portrait photography before and think it's a lot of fun, but for some reason didn't think to include it in my business until recently when a bride-to-be asked if I could photograph a wedding. I am only scared of forests filled with murderers and bears. When it comes to work and creativity, I am fearless.

* * *
thank you, maria-thérèse!
this was totally worth waiting for!
so much inspiration here.
you make me want to embrace my creative self and just trust and believe in her.


Maggie May said...

Thank you for that! Interesting, and i love the 'fika'

The Gossamer Tearoom said...

What a super-nice and inspirational interview with my new friend Maria-Thérèse! Thank you so much!

Wishing you a wonderful day,


Charissa Steyn said...

Ohh cool! Just found your blog today :) I love this little interview... I love the "fika" tradition. I am going to invent something like that for my husband and I's life:) Hehe!

Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...

I cannot believe fika isn't an international thing. It should be! People in all countries, go fika!

Snap said...

Maria-Thérèse is one of my favorite people. She was my very first follower (and I wondered what the heck a follower was)!!!! I fika with her almost daily ... by cyberspace! Wonderful interview. Thanks!