This is Niina. Yes, Niina with double “i”. Niina was born in Saint Petersburg and when she was only two years old, she moved to Tallinn, Estonia. “The word ‘nina’ in Estonian means ‘nose’,” the illustrator tells me, and therefore her name was changed in all her official documents. The Russian illustrator went back to her Russian home town when she was 12 years old, and after finishing high school in Russia she studied graphic design at Saint Petersburg State University. As a freelanced illustrator, she already started working besides school. After graduation, she worked for the art gallery Nevskij 8 as well as for Afisha Magazine until they eventually shut down their Saint Petersburg branch. “It was a great time working for Afisha,” Niina remembers. “Back then the magazine was very uniting for the people. We were the first wave of teenagers after the Soviet Union who were trying to grab the European culture and implement it into our Russian lives.”
To Berlin she moved a couple years later. She was tired of her life in Saint Petersburg and felt like trying something new. “I like Berlin a lot. Its diversity. Every part of the city is so different and every neighbourhood is an own city in itself.” Niina is still working as an freelanced illustrator. She illustrates for some of the biggest fashion magazines in Russia, and just recently the Swedish fashion book Säker Still by Emilia De Poret and Ebba Von Sydow was published with Niina’s illustrations in it. At the end of our lovely conversation I ask her if there is anything else she would like to add to the interview? “Yes, I am currently looking for a group of people who are willing to meet regularly in order to clean the city together,” she answers. Well, if there is, please let this lovely lady know.
Have a look at Niina’s amazing work here!