Janine Rewell

Finnish illustrator Janine Rewell has created work for brands such as Toyota, Nokia, Swarovski and Finnair. In 2012 she was one of 12 illustrators to be asked by Crate & Barrel to produce a teapot design for the company's 50th birthday. The teapot sold out within 24 hours. Following her mural commission for Beyonderground Graphic City and Festival in Belgium we caught up with her to chat about her life, work and inspiration.

Janine, you are Helsinki based. Can you tell us how growing up in Finland has influenced your work?

To be honest, I think that the world has influenced my work more than my nationality. These days, being so connected via the internet to other artists and cultures gives a bigger perspective of the contemporary art and design scene. But sure, being born in Finland or any other Scandinavian country gives a good springboard with free education and good living conditions. 

You've illustrated for some top international clients. Can you explain how your work has translated for these brands? Do you have any favourite or particularly memorable projects?

It's been a pleasure working with other talented people on these projects. Large companies often have good advertising agencies and the courage to think big. Good art directors can see the potential and brief into a new illustrative approach that speaks both the client’s and illustrator's language. For example, Swarovski commissioned me to illustrate fashionable catwalk girls even if I had no previous showcase in drawing humans. Too often the illustrator is seen as just the last link of the marketing chain and the brief is too tightly dictated; but the best results come when there's a mutual respect and trust between the client and the illustrator.

Were you always creative as a child?

Yeah I would say so. My family heritage is based on famous Finnish designers, architects, artists and sculptors; something my family has always been very proud of, and has encouraged all of us to find our own creative speciality to continue the legacy. I went to art camps and took art classes outside of school. I've loved drawing as long as I remember. 

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in design and illustration?

I think it's very crucial to perceive the playing field and your own position.

What's next for you? Can you give us any exclusives?

I'm working on a fun collaboration mixing body, fashion, illustration and dance. I'm always trying to have a special personal project ongoing and when I collaborate, things get interesting!

Can you tell us one thing that's inspired you, whether it be today, this week, month or in your lifetime?

I have no continuous source of inspiration. It really varies from project to project, depending on what I've been up to and things I've accidentally stumbled on.


© 2013 Debra O’Sullivan / © Images Janine Rewell

DesignDebra Drew