Top Digital Artists’ success stories: interview 2, Pinar&Viola

Julia Gerstein
Sep 7, 2018 · 8 min read

Ta-da! This is the second episode of the series on 5 digital artists that do what they love and manage to make a living out of it. The first one, by the way, you can find here. What I particularly like about this next piece is that we worked on the text together with the main characters of the ‘’episode’’. So now you can not only see their art, but feel them through their writing. Without further ado, please enjoy life and work of Pinar and Viola, concept artists from Europe who manage to live in 2 countries at the same time, install their pieces in more than 5 cities and take 100% pleasure out of the process.

Turkish in blood, Canadian on paper, Dutch in mind, Pinar met Viola, her soul sister, in Amsterdam. And now they invent new visual languages, image utopias, prints on textiles and future fashion. They have installed their work in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, London, Istanbul and Los Angeles. Together with about 10K other fans you can follow their tracks on their Instagram here and here.

Where did you meet and how did you grow as artists?

We met during our Master’s degree in Amsterdam when we were about 23 and 25 and, well, we were drawn to each other in the classroom, but not really anticipating what could potentially happen. The first year after we met, I read the future in Viola’s Turkish coffee and I said, “My name is written next to your name, everywhere, in the future until the day you die…” This was quite freaky because we were not even friends before! A few months after we did our first collaboration and professionally we are together since. Until that time, even though we have been raised in different countries, we both had a similar approach to creation. Colorful, happy, meaningful — not in a pragmatic way, rather, in an indirect, always filled with fantasy, dreams and hope, a dominant, light-high-powerful way of constant self-expression. Be it in clothing, drawing, reading, writing…

Credit for this image: Pinar&Viola Healing Prints Collection — Mother Earth in Paris

After living full time in Amsterdam for 5 years and in Paris for 4 years, we are keeping things more fluid between Amsterdam, Istanbul and Paris. I know it’s a lot of flights, but this constellation fits us better these days.

What had shaped us as the artists was this inner, never-ending fountain of joy and creation.

“Pinar: I’d say that when people would ask me age 3–4 what I’d like to become, I would say artist, even though I did not really understand what it was. But I always knew that artists were constantly creating and they were free and I wanted to be free while creating”

It’s important for us to be able to use the power of beauty, joy and abundance in order to draw attention to, highlight, raise awareness and offer alternatives to social-cultural topics we ourselves deeply care for.

What motivated us to keep on going… how can I explain? It is not a feeling you can get rid of, sell or distance yourself from. It is in you, it is you. We both feel waterfalls roll out of hearts and our beings when we create. We both feel home and feel fed graciously in the moments of creation. We are in love with our work and have complete trust that our true-selves are fully accomplishing themselves while we do the creations we do. Plus, it’s extremely fun!

What is your style like?

Our work and us, we shapeshift in between different styles as a means of perception management and art. We created contemporary, rejuvenated alternative graphics, visuals and motif to default-generic green, clean, new age visual language of healing, ecology and sustainability. In this way, we made caring for the planet something more charismatic and sexy. So our style changes constantly, but abundance is perpetual.

We graduated together from the design department at Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Masters of Rietveld Academie. This department raises artists with critical thinking. We are both grateful to have acquired this strong quality of expressing fearlessly our intuitive decisions as artists while creating alternatives to systems we wish to criticize.

“Viola: I have always had an artistic, crafty, creative approach for everything. I hesitated between craft art and fashion when I was young, but now I have a job which combines all three”

We are aware of the fact that we have a distinct visual signature in our work. How would we describe it… Hmm, it is a mixture of our rich cultural background (Turkish and Dutch) and our world view of abundance with sprinkles of fun, joy and humor we feel when we create it.

Do you ever experience inspiration?

Are you crazy! Of course, all the time! We both have various points of interest, this rich view of the world is fully expressed in our work. We find inspiration in our conversations with each other, in books, while dreaming, contemplating… There is definitely an a-ha eureka moment happening. Often, always the inspiration comes from the hearts, we stick to the topics, and they get slowly crystallized…

Credit for this image: Pinar&Viola

But isolating the moment of inspiration would be an injustice to the “holistic” nature of all creation. There is no such thing as the best moment, as there would be no favorite child for a mother. We embrace all the parts of the process, even the most frustrating part, the one we call the birth-pain part, the part when we know it is not fully right, yet we are at the brink of finding the solution. I guess this is called unconditional love.

Describe your work process, please…

We either create out of unease concerning a topic or out of a wish to express ourselves, to beautify something. We also receive regular commissions from clients.

The first part is understanding the problem fully, grasping it, comprehending it with all of its intricacies. Once you fully get it, the answer is often the cherry on the cake. The solution comes easy once you bath yourself in the topic. We are so lucky to have a “job” where we get to radiate through different topics, waters, areas of expertise and high-vibration clients.

Then we start sketching, looking for the right visual tone… If there is no visual language we can find fitting the subject, we custom-tailor one. We deliver it as a collage of different images and expression languages.

And right after comes the detailed creation process. We call it the part where we “tile the bathroom”. We never take the next “tile step” until the previous steps are taken. As there is a lot of thinking, intellectualizing, constructive criticism in our work process, before our works go public, we write a detailed essay — a short or a long one depending on the project. The essay is always about what we wish to convey.

Are you working on anything right now?

Oh yes! We are working on so many things!! Always experimenting :) Exxxtremely excited these days as we are about to give birth to our most comprehensive collection so far.

Each year, or every 2 years, we launch a visual collection, where we express our world view about socio-cultural topics that drive us. For us, these are the moments to experiment and invent new visual languages, transcend stereotypical thinking and seeing as well as experiencing patterns.

This year, the topic is “Alternative”. With our artworks, patterns, fashion and jewelry collection we are celebrating alternative systems, people and communities who are dedicating themselves to offer alternative socio-cultural systems.

We have created rejuvenated, contemporary, mouth-watering and fun visuals for topics such as universal basic income, the emancipation of animals, femme anarchy, equal pay law, permaculture, Sufism and microdosing psychedelics. Out soon, very soon! We’ll be announcing further developments on our Instagram.

Credit for this image: Pinar&Viola x Muse VR

Also, the gigantic project we made with Google HQ will be out very soon. We can’t reveal the details, yet, we can tell you that it is super exciting and innovative. In September, we are starting our second collaboration with Google, this time Google Arts & Culture. We are commissioned to make an art project, relevant to our times, with artificial intelligence!

This is the last minute news, but we are also commissioned to do the visual direction and concept of the Red Bull music festival in Istanbul, the evening of September, 26th. We are collaborating with the world’s best VJs motus.lumina, produced by nerdworking. It is going to be an audio visual transcending experience. The concept is JETZT. This is a German word, simply meaning “now”, being in the “now”. As the client, Redbull is Austria origin, and that word explains it well, that’s why we kept the concept in German. We are working with vibrations, cymatic frequencies, energy, sacred geometry, god ratio etc, etc. Why don’t you come?

(Iuliia: Huh! I wish I could!)

Do you like sharing your work with other people?

Yes, sure, the more the merrier! Well, on the other hand, it also happens to us to keep it for ourselves for the right moment to share it. Like your new born baby, or the first months of your love relationship: they are too precious to bluntly share with everyone :)

Credit Image: Pinar&Viola Alternative Prints Collection — Femme Anarchy

We have been granted with the luck of always attracting people and brands that fully grasp our creations. We reach more people through the networks of our clients. For example our IKEA collection were sold in countries we might never even go in this lifetime.

We recently started to fantasize about being represented by an amazing art gallery. Until now this has never been a thought or a need, but now the idea of simply creating while someone else takes care of sales sounds quite sweet.

But we never really had a promotion strategy. It just happens. We have neither worked with an agency, nor with someone to promote us..

We focus on always creating surprising, innovative and highly artistic content. And I guess it just makes news itself. Law of attraction. If you create quality, you attract quality.

Photography: Keiichi Sakakura // Digital Painting by Pinar&Viola

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Julia Gerstein

Written by

Content Writer at TradeSanta

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