Master's story

Maiu Vares


I am Maiu, an illustrator and artist from Räpina.

I have loved art since childhood. I remember how often I set up my drawings for an art exhibition in the living room and invited family members to look. The kindergarten art teacher later talked about how I always asked when I heard the assignment, whether I could do this topic in a different way, and at the end of the year, all my work was looking a little differently from others.

During basic school, after school, I started taking a bus to Tartu Children’s Art School, where I acquired my first knowledge of classical drawing, painting, perspective, colors, etc. I got home late every day. In school art classes, classmates sometimes secretly brought their pictures to my desk for me to paint. When friends asked if I wanted to become a great artist, I imagined a character standing by an easel with a beret painting vases and ruffles. No, I didn’t want to be such an artist.

Later, of course, I realized that being an artist can be much different from this idea and can be a very fun and necessary job. After graduating from high school, I went to study at Tartu Art College (now Pallas Art School), majoring in media and advertising art. After my first year of study, I went to the United States in the summer to sell books with the Southwestern Advantage program. However, one summer of trying became six different summer experiences that have greatly influenced my later life and worldview.

After the university and book sales period, life brought me to Räpina, where I initially planned to stay only temporarily. I accidentally ended up in Räpina’s creative house and soon realized that this time it was permanently and it has been one of my best decisions so far. At Räpina Creative House I worked for 4 years as a program manager and supervised various creative workshops for children and adults. Among other things, 2 personal art exhibitions, 1 first place and 1 laureate place in an international design competition and the title of Põlva County Cultural Maker of the Year remain within this period. I passed on the main job stick to go on maternity leave, but I still supervise the workshops. I especially like instructing the youngest art enthusiasts, because I am the greatest learner in these lessons. Today, I spend a lot of time being the mother of a wonderful girl, involving her in my activities, teaching and learning.

How do I do that?

The main output of my work is the creation of exciting illustrations, painting personal souvenirs and gifts and designing eye-catching advertising materials. However, I do not consider art to be my work, my most important task is to help my clients achieve their goals, and art is my tool for achieving this. My creation is a mixture of different techniques and materials – digital drawings and illustrations, traditional brushes and colors on paper, or a combination of wood and other materials. In this way, there is always new learning and variety in my work, because in the face of each new task, I choose the tools based on this challenge. Most of my work starts with a problem that needs to be solved, but I am also increasingly lingering between creative tasks that have remained in my mind as ideas for a long time.

Art is my way of telling stories. I take each of my work very personally, putting a piece of my soul and fingertips into each new illustration.