We interviewed Lyona Ivanova - "I don't like to see myself as a brand" – Bryan Stepwise

We interview Lyona Ivanova

In Bryan, we launched a new interview space, #BryanTalks

A space for dialogue where we talk with women who inspire us with their work and perseverance.
Artists, craftswomen, architects... CREATORS.
Women who have managed to make their passion a way of life.

When thinking about inspiring women, it is inevitable to think of her. Marta Puig, known by her alterego: Lyona Ivanova.

Illustrator, or rather, engineer of stories and poems; producer of spots and video clips; businesswoman; ... Lyona, shows all her talent and even all her personality, in each job.

Interview Lyona Ivanova

How did Marta Puig become Lyona, "engineer of stories and poems" ?

From a very young age, my grandfather took me to the movies every weekend, I became a movie buff, and at the age of 14 watching Edward Scissorhands I decided that I wanted to be a film director. When I finished high school I discovered that ESCAC, the film and audiovisual school of Catalonia, existed, and I went there. They were the best 4 years of my life, I was finally studying what I was passionate about. When I finished, I started making video clips for friends and Love of Lesbian contacted me to make a video clip for them, I did it and Universos Infinitos came out, they liked it so much that for the next album they counted on me to make the overall image, both video clips and the design of the album , promo photos, even merchandising... there I started drawing, I illustrated some of the songs to make t-shirts. From there the possibility of making a story arose, and I illustrated "I will kill monsters for you", written by Santi Balmes. I liked this story a lot, and since then I have not stopped illustrating books, without wanting it or drinking it I have become something that I would never have imagined, and I still hallucinate. I have always seen myself as a very fanciful, naive person, with my head a little in the moon... that's why I liked to define myself with a play on words and convert a profession that sounds as serious as that of a bridge and road engineer, in story and poem engineering.

We know that behind your stage name Lyona, there is a beautiful story that, although you have told it countless times, someone may miss it. Why did you decide to use Lyona's alterego?

When I finished my studies, I had the opportunity to go to the screenings of a play in Sicily. Without thinking twice I went there. When I arrived I found that all the actors were boys, Italian and very handsome. At that time I had a partner and I told myself that I couldn't fall into the temptation of getting involved with one of them. One of them was very insistent, and on the last day, celebrating the end of filming, he was very on top of me. I, already tired of the sexual tension we had, went to kiss him. At that moment he told me no, that he had a girlfriend. , I was amazed, and then he told me something beautiful: "when neither you nor I have a partner, we will meet halfway", he was from Rome and I was from Barcelona, ​​so the midpoint was Lyon. I stayed with that idea and returned to Barcelona. Just then I created an account on the fotolog, and I needed a nickname, so I thought, well, from Lyon... Lyona... and so if one day you search for Lyon on the internet, maybe I'll show up. But no, I have not been to Lyon nor have I seen him again.

A lover of cinema and music, you have managed to unite both disciplines and turn them into your profession. You have worked with many reference groups on the national music scene such as: The New Raemon, Love of Lesbian, Sidonie, Amaral, Zahara, Lori Meyers... (the list is endless!). Your video clips look like little fragments of movies. We would really like to know what your creative process is every time you start a new project.

Well, the first thing I do is listen to the song, obviously, and then I let it rest a little... and I take advantage of situations such as bus rides... or the shower, to leave my mind blank and while I listen to the song, I let images come to me. , movements, colors... whatever the song expresses to me. From that image... or that color... or that concept... I build a small script, and then the different departments of my team come into play, the stylist, the art direction, the photography direction... Talking to them I always add ideas to the project and everything grows.

Fragment of the video clip of the song "There where we used to scream". Song from the album "1999" by Love of Lesbian.
CURIOSITY: This couple of friends starred in almost the entire video clip saga of this album (1999), becoming an intrinsic part of it and its songs. Lyona managed to put an image to the feelings and the group's faithful followers could not conceive 1999 without Marina and Carlos.
Marina decided to dedicate herself to acting after filming these videos!

Is there a video clip that marked a before and after in your career? Both professionally and artistically. That, once done, you would have the feeling of having achieved a result that spoke about you, about your style.

I think the video clip I'm most proud of is 1999, it was the last video we made for the Love of Lesbian album, and it was a way to close one of the most important projects of my life and that marked a before and after, too. It was the way to say goodbye to some characters who had accompanied us during all the videos, Marina and Carlos, the protagonists. I also think that the video quite combines all the elements that define my style: it is simple, it is emotional, it is melancholic and it is a small love letter to cinema.

In these very creative works (it is a constant creation process), there are always frustrations, perhaps the constant feeling of wanting to continue exploring, evolving, perfecting one's own style, or technique... do you consider that you have managed to achieve a definitive style? Or do you still have challenges to achieve?

Ugh... I still have a lot to learn. If I have learned one thing, it is that you can never fully capture what you have in your head. Before, it frustrated me a lot, but now I have learned to accept it and love it. But yes, I feel like I still have to learn a lot, and I love learning project by project.

Speaking of your own style and hallmarks, bluish tints have always been very present in your photography. Why this predilection for cold colors?

It's a bit the fault of my favorite video clip, which is that of Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, it's a super simple video clip but it has a lot of strength, and it's tinted blue... also, blue tones evoke melancholy, and This feeling exudes in many of my videos.

As a good restless mind and nonconformist woman, you made the leap to illustration, also with a very identifiable and personal graphic line and selection of colors. You have achieved something difficult and that is that each of your pieces is easily recognizable and, immediately, the name "Lyona" appears in the mind after seeing one of your drawings. How did you arrive at this graphic style and establish it as your own?

Well, I have arrived due to my own limitations, I am self-taught, and I think I draw the same as when I was 10 years old... so my style is very simple, very naive, very clean ... and I think that makes it easy to identify.

Photograph stolen from Lyona's Instagram: @lyona_ivanova

In this sense, the book "I will kill monsters for you", together with Santi Balmes, has left an incredible trail. Their characters, Martina and Anitram, have become icons and countless people even have them tattooed. Did you expect this phenomenon? What has this book meant to you?

What's up... at the time we thought that neither children nor adults would like the story. The truth is that the good reception it had was surprising. For me it meant a change of direction, a new path to explore... I would never have imagined that I would end up publishing books, but I love being open to new possibilities and trying everything.

As an illustrator, you have countless merchandising and products under your name and your own online store. Do you take care of all the processes (product photo, ecommerce management, shipping...)? And if so, how does life give you everything?

Until recently I did it alone, but currently we are two people running the online store.

Could we affirm that "Lyona Ivanova" is already a brand as such?

I don't like to see myself as a brand, although I have a defined style and it is easy to recognize what I do, I prefer to see myself as just another artisan.

How do social networks influence your work today? What use do you make of them?

In the past they were my best showcase, almost all the projects I have worked on I owe to social networks. Currently, however, they have also become a place of reflection and communication.

A few days ago it was March 8, Women's Day. For some time now, you have had a line of illustrations that give visibility to micro-machismo actions with which the vast majority of women feel identified. How did this idea come about?

It arose when they gave me a vibrator, I shared it in the stories and I began to receive many messages from girls and women with a lot of questions about it, I began to realize that sex from the female point of view has been constantly repressed, that it is not We have a rich sexual education and that all the inputs we receive are androcentric. I started making vignettes about it so I could talk about topics that are taboo, and reflect on our relationship with sex.

Finally, three questions:

A woman who inspires you? Lena Dunham

Your gilty pleasure ? Katy Perry.

Potato omelette: WITH or WITHOUT onion? Without.

Many thanks to Lyona.
Starting with her has been a dream.

We invite you to discover his work, totally inspiring.
Here we leave you the link to his website, where he shows everything: lyona.cat

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