August 27, 2020
Interview with Martin Haake for Toi Art Gallery
1. How was your childhood like? Are your parents artists?
I was born in a small town in the North of Germany. My parents were no artists but they loved art, especially German Expressionists and our house was full of drawing and prints. We visited the museums around my hometown Oldenburg each weekend, so there wan an early fascination for art and artists like Max Beckmann, Paula Modersohn and others.
Paula Modersohn. Girl with Flowers.
2. When did you start drawing?
Since I can remember. I was drawing all the time and my desk at school was filled with pencil doodles and caricatures of the teachers.
3. What/who inspires you?
My inspiration mainly comes from Outsider and Folk artists, such as Nellie Mae Rowe, Martin Ramirez and Bill Traylor. It’s the beauty of imperfection that make these artworks so outstanding and always helps to remember to keep an naive point of view to depict things.
4. How’s your work routine?
I am quite disciplined in a way. I am at the studio at 9am, have a coffee with my colleague an artist Olaf Hajek, we talk about all the things in the world and from 10am to 7pm I am working: doing sketches, prepare my collages and work on them. If I am really stuck I work until night.
5. How is your work place like?
The studio is on a very popular street in Berlin-Mitte on the 4th floor, it’s quite empty. basically it’s just 2 tables, a drawer and a computer. But I have kind of small library room with lots of art books, reference books and vintage design books to get some inspiration.
6. Part of your work gravitates towards the creation of illustrated maps, which are a more subjective and expressive way to represent both space and culture. What do you enjoy the most about working on illustrated maps?
I really love to do maps because I can combine all kind of techniques and media to create a piece that helps to get a feeling for orientation of a certain area. I have lettering, cut paper, doodles, old photos, put it all together and in the end it (hopefully) ends in a quite personal view of a city or country with the option of making things big that are not really important (but I love them) and shrink really important buildings etc. And it still has the function of a map.
7.Because of quarantine people around the world started to focus their attention on the arts and artistic expressions. I’m thinking of the at-home recreations of classic works of art that populated social media amusing gifs and illustrations about staying at home.
I would love if you could draw a draft of an illustrated map of your quarantine life to show us how it looks like from the perspective of a representation of an experience. I haven’t found time yet to do this…will do it as soon as there is some space…
8. What are you reading?
The last book I read was Sally Rooney’s: Conversation with Friends“, I really loved it.
9. What is that you enjoy the most about book illustration?
Illustrating books often is a more time absorbing project as you really need to dive into a certain topic: get information, go through all the reference, think about the structure of a book etc. That’s quite exciting. Also because you can find the result of all the work in my favorite place on earth: in a book shop.
10. Do you have a “crazy project” you would like to do in the future?
Mapping the world in all its details.
11. Where is home?
I really like Berlin. I am happy to be able to live here.
Interview by Karina Miller
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February 09, 2022