When encountering the works of Austrian illustrator Lony Mathis, the first look reveals the squishy cuteness of inflatable toys and the second one some lurking, vaguely disturbing details. In an exclusive interview, she talks the destructive powers of perfectionism, favourite aesthetics, and dogs' unconditional love.

What is your creative process? Could you outline it for us?

As an illustrator, I often have to work under time pressure because of strict deadlines. That means I must come to good ideas quickly. Being creative under time pressure helped me a lot to get rid of destructive perfectionism. I used to be a destructive perfectionist in the past and spent a long time mulling over perfect ideas, which, in turn, meant that I was never satisfied. The faster I come to a decision of my artistic implementation, the better my creative process and the results. When I work for a client, I have a different creative process than when I work on my own projects. When I work for clients, most of them already have an exact idea of the visual implementation, so the creative process goes in the direction of the client’s idea. When I pursue my own artistic projects, I take my time, close my eyes and dive deep into my inner “Inspiration Box”, which is full of pictures, memories and feelings I’ve been collecting since childhood. An idea comes automatically, as if it had always been in me and I just have to put it on paper.

What element is characteristic for your illustrations?

"Obviously, dogs :), 90s symbolism and lots of cuteness."

Why do you quite often choose dogs as the main heroes of your artworks?

I’ve been obsessed with animals since I was a kid, especially dogs. It was a big dream of mine to have a dog one day. My hobby was collecting dog breed books and memorising the breeds. To this day, I know 200 of them by heart. My mum was a single parent and worked all day till late at night so I got a dog so I wouldn’t be so alone after school. I am still so grateful to this dog. He was always there for me, he loved me unconditionally and even had a sense of humour. He really was my absolute best friend, I took him everywhere with me. This dog was my hero. Unfortunately, he has already passed away and I miss him a lot. But the reason why I choose dogs as my main characters is that, for me, they are a symbol of unconditional love, peace, harmony, joy and loyalty. These are the most important things for me in life, which should also be reflected in my art.

How would you describe your style? Are there some artists that inspired your expression?

My painting style reflects my love for surrealism, airbrush, kitsch, fashion, dogs, 90s, aliens and weed. My style is colourful, playful and bold. I want the viewer to find refuge in my ideal world of puppies, candyfloss and friendship and to feel the same harmony I have while creating my illustrations. There are so many artists that inspire me, the artist that is currently my biggest favourite is Josef Minor.

As per our current theme WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, what animal would you like to have as a lifetime companion?

A teacup poodle that never grows up. In my opinion, the cutest dog breed on earth.

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Lony Mathis is an Vienna-based illustrator. She was born in 1991 and grew up in a small village at the border between Austria and Italy. After graduating from school, she moved to Hamburg to study illustration. During her studies, she majorly experimented with digital painting media and created her distinctive style. After finishing her studies, she now works as a freelance illustrator for clients in the magazine, advertising and fashion industry.


Artworks / Lony Mathis @_lony_mathis

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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