Focus On: Uzzo Lino!

Uzzo Lino is a Berlin based illustrator. She was born near Potsdam, former East Germany to a family of musicians. Following her parents in their musical travels, she spent her early childhood in Russia, Latvia, East Germany and Sweden. Although the excitement of traveling didn’t stay in her memories, the considerable collection of watercolors and colored pencils she owned at the time did.


KALTBLUT: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

Uzzo Lino: Depending on circumstance or project (time, space and what universe we are currently on) I work either as Xenia or Uzzo Lino, sometimes as additional others. Born in East Germany, with a Russian background I see myself as an artist focused on editorial illustration & picture book design, creating fine art with love for detail, humorous little oddities & dark sensuality.


KALTBLUT: When did you start drawing?

Uzzo Lino: According to my parents it sounds like I’ve been doing it since I was a tiny little kid. They jokingly remember me wanting to be with my paint and colored pencils when they were gone to work, instead of socialising much or playing with the baby sitter.


KALTBLUT: How is your working process?

Uzzo Lino: Basically several new visual ideas are constantly accumulating in me and keep piling up in my head, which then leads me to systematically work through them.


KALTBLUT: What inspires you the most when you’re drawing?

Uzzo Lino: Usually our closest surroundings are the most intense influences. I suppose it’s only natural to express ourselves without prior intention to do so. That is what’s usually happening in my work process.


KALTBLUT: What is your favorite medium to use?

Uzzo Lino: I always tend to use elaborate and challenging artistic techniques. Seeing that I continuously want to learn and avoid stagnation I prefer complicated over simple. Whether I draw or paint, the approach is pretty much similar: I need soft layers over layers to slowly get to the result I aim for.


KALTBLUT: Do you have any mentor, artist that inspires you?

Uzzo Lino: Contemporary Surrealists such as Jeremy Geddes or the extremely talented Shaun Tan who is a hero to me when it comes to illustration, master of details, evoking deep emotions (mostly) without the use of words.


KALTBLUT: What are you working on at the moment?

Uzzo Lino: My new fun project ‘Nostalgic Arrangements’, is steadily evolving. These colorful ink paintings show hidden genitals in a decorative and ornamental design. I have just completed a commissioned illustration series for a volume of modern poetry which will be published and exhibited in summer 2015 in Hamburg. They are more serious and a bit darker in character and style. I have been working on these ink drawings for the past months.

Interview by Nicolas Simoneau