Sweden's only maximalist - Pontus Djanaieff

Sweden's only maximalist - Pontus Djanaieff

Introducing Pontus Djanaieff isn’t the easiest to do, so I will just give the interview the stage and let his own words introduce him. 

Q: I remember the very first time I met you, at your pop-up last December. I saw your designs and fell in love with them! I asked you, how did you come up with the idea? You answered:  

“ It’s just things that live in my head and I need to get them out!”. So I just wanted you to elaborate a little bit more about the creative process and things that live in Pontus’ head. 

P: I’m a visual entertainment junkie. I sometimes see too much stuff around, everywhere, like Instagram, nice logo or litter on the street or whatever it could be. It sticks. And sometimes I need a throw- up. A mind throw-up. 

Q: So then it works like a full bucket. Fills and then drips. 

P: It drips and then it drips all the time. Then it rains. I really like that. I love an eye candy. I love packaging. I love being. Nowadays everything is so boring. 

Q: Cause everything tends to be minimalistic? 

P: It’s so boring! If you go to an airport, you can’t see one unique ad. It’s all the same. 

Q: It’s generic. Lagom* 

P: Very lagom. I hate it. 

Q: So I take it Lagom is your least favorite word. 

P: Someone once called me Sweden’s only maximalist. I took that as a credit. ( laughs )


Q: You say you are not too much of a digital guy. You like the old school way. What’s about the old school approach do you enjoy? 

P: I love the craft. You have to work with your hands. For me, it’s easier to move a piece of cut out paper on the table than on the screen. It’s more. It gives it life. I don’t like it when it’s perfect. It shouldn’t be perfect. 

Q: Because I guess it’s the natural way, right? In nature everything that’s perfect is actually very imperfect. 

Q: What projects have brought you most joy and the least joy? 

P: Often the one that disappoints you is the one you do for money. When you have to do it because you have to survive or something, it’s often when the heart isn’t in it. But when the heart is in it, it’s always fun. I’ve done many good, happy works and I’ve done many bad works. I can’t pick anyone especially. Everything I do for myself, every exhibition and all that, it’s all joy. It’s all super joy. It’s something you have to do. It’s sort of the last thing you do on Earth. Follow your heart.


Q: Follow  your heart. What’s the dream project, something that just hasn’t happened, or hasn’t had the right timing yet? 

P: I Have many dreams, like bringing all visuals together. Moving pictures, people, music. It should be almost a ride. I would love to do a ride at Grona Lund for example. That’s a dream. 


Q: What happens in Pontus Djanaieff studio? 

P: Lot of sitting, cutting and drawing stuff. I play around a lot. It takes a lot of sketching for one piece, about 10-12 hours of sketching.

I have some symbols and characters that I use as friends. The friends come and go. Now I’m very much into clowns. Don’t know why, it started a year ago and now I see clowns everywhere. Funnily, I don’t really like clowns. They are very creepy, but there’s something nice about that creepy. 


Q:Do you ever struggle finding inspiration or getting stuck? 

P: Of course, everybody does. You have to be disciplined and to work. Even when you’re not in a mood. You sit down and go through old sketches and it will come.  

Q: Even on days you don’t feel like you have anything to give. 

P: Yeah, they’re often the best days, because you don’t have a vision, it just comes as you’re being. You do something and after a while you look at it and say, wow, what’s this? It’s new because you didn’t have a plan. 

Q: You mean that because there isn’t a creative overflow? 

P: Exactly, you need the explosion, but you also have to see the results of the explosion. 


Q: There's a saying, like, do one thing every day that scares you. Do you believe in that ? 

P: Could be right, but I don’t know. Creativity could be really scary and it’s because you’re putting yourself out there. That’s scary and in that way I’m totally fearless.


Q: What’s your advice to anyone who’s looking for their path ? 

P: There are so many ways you can create. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is such a big part of the process of creation and humanity and evolution. It’s weird that people are so afraid of failing. Too afraid to not feel good, or be sad or depressed. It’s part of us. Don’t be afraid to fail.  


For the first ever collab, KARLINAS x DJANAIEFF accentuate their love of colours and complement each other with the bold artist's designs and Karlina's colourful closet staples. With fun and eye-catching designs, there will be 3 unique T-shirt designs with a limited run of only 100 in each print. To add more fun, there will also be caps available, in limited quantity, and of course, Super Fresh. 


KARLINA’S x DJANAIEFF collab collection is now available on pre-order. 

*Lagom is a Swedish word that describes something in the middle, not too much, not too little.  

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