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Interview Graphic Designer Irina Goryacheva aka Heather Hermit

Irina Goryacheva (also known as Heather Hermit) is a graphic designer, art director, visual artist and three time winner of the Red Dot Award. Currently she is based in Barcelona, Spain after gaining her education and spending the majority of her time in Moscow, Russia.

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“Winning a Red Dot award felt nice. Who would refuse getting an award in Berlin? Though when I won the third one I was rather surprised thinking: ‘Oh, these jury guys must be kidding’.”
Heather Hermit

portrait1Who is Irina Goryacheva?

I’m a graphic designer and visual artist currently based in Barcelona. Since 2005 I have been working as a graphic designer and art director specializing in such diverse disciplines as poster and editorial design, typography, brand, corporate and exhibition design for a range of cultural institutions.
 I’m inspired by modernism, colorful geometric shapes, typography,
 Russian avantgarde, the Weimar Era, experimental music and cinema of the
1920s and 1930s which can be noticed in my creative style. I like folding paper birds, burning midnight oil, heavy rains, orthodox darjeeling and rather gloomy music.

As a visual artist I also work under the name Heather Hermit – in order to separate my designer and artistic activities.

Do you enjoy living and working in Barcelona?

Well, living in Barcelona is a totally new experience for me comparing to Moscow. In Moscow all you do is mostly survive or at least try to. I don’t mean it is bad, survivalism can be fun sometimes. But Barcelona is a place when you finally start enjoying life. So I guess “enjoy” is the tight word. Though I still have some sort of language barrier, especially when it comes to Catalan.

What first inspire you to become a graphic designer? What route through education did you take?

I developed very early some aesthetic sensibility and one of the first things I remember was my mom showing me how to fold an origami paper crane. For me it was like “wow! I can make nothing into something”. It was a kind of first call. So later I even made a paper crane my logo.

First I graduated with a degree in Arabic philology from Moscow State University, by the time of graduation I have already worked as a freelance graphic designer. I see my first degree as a great advantage cause I have acquired some analytical thinking and understanding of research work. And I believe in good graphic design research should go hand in hand with creativity.

Later I graduated in Graphic 
Design from Moscow Institute of Industrial and Applied Arts. I guess I was too inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s example who dared to quit a successful legal career and become a painter.

Studying at Moscow Institute of Industrial and Applied Arts was enjoyable experience? Would you recommend it?

It was a really cool and very useful time. We had absolutely great professors who gave us an opportunity not to develop some abstract projects far from real life but to acquire some hands-on experience which most graduates lack nowadays. So I would highly recommend this institute for sure. The last but not the least is the price which is still quite affordable.

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How do you find time living between Moscow and Barcelona?

Fortunately nowadays it’s possible to be based in one place and do some kind of work for the client based somewhere at the world’s end. I see it as one of the best things about being a designer. I wish I could add a few more cities to the list. I’m the type of person that I would say if I can go somewhere, I’ll do it. It’s like – give me my laptop and a cup of tea, let’s go to Easter Islands. Let’s make some posters there.

What events and groups do you recommend for creatives in Moscow and Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of those cities where something creative is constantly happening. There are some great festivals like Ús Barcelona urban art festival. I would also recommend visiting the art factories like Fabra i Coats, for example.

Talking about Moscow I can’t think of any really interesting creative events. On the whole the creative environment in Moscow is still in the process of very slow crystallizing.

What has been your favourite project to complete so far? What would be a dream project to work on in the future?

I can’t pick up and just name one favourite project as all of them are equally dear to me. Probably the most favourite project is always the one you’re working on now. One of the latest and particularly dear to me was a recent series of posters against demolition of Moscow’s iconic Shukhov Radio Tower. Those posters attracted much of public attention to the problem and I’m glad I could contribute to the campaign to save this masterpiece of Russian avantgarde.

Talking about a dream project… I would be over-the-moon if I had a chance to make a project related to Bauhaus. I also have a dream to work for David Lynch or Alejandro Jodorowsky.

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Your work has already won several awards, among them which is your favourite? What did it feel like to win a Red Dot award?

Winning a Red Dot award felt nice. Who would refuse getting an award in Berlin? Though when I won the third one I was rather surprised thinking: “Oh, these jury guys must be kidding”.

Seriously, getting three Red dot awards for three years in a row is undoubtedly a great experience standing apart from the other achievements. It’s a great honor to be recognized by the international professional community on such a high level.

So is your next target to get four years in a row?

Oh that’d be too presuming to answer “yes”. Let’s wait and see.

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What are your plans for 2014 and beyond?

It’s almost like in The Cure’s song : “more dreams, more bed, more drugs, more lust, more lies, more head, more love, more fear, more fun, more pain, more flesh, more stars, more smiles, more fame, more sex”. But definitely without drugs. I would personally add more posters, more work, more travels, more music and much more art.

Do you have any favourite people to follow on twitter?

I follow Pope Francis @Pontifex and Sasha Grey @SashaGrey.

Where do you search online and offline for inspiration?

Behance, Pinterest and Baubauhaus are as much sources of online inspiration as much great time killers. It’s easier with offline inspiration as it could be found anywhere if you are on the right wave.

What do you enjoy to pursue away from working?

Painting, listening to music, taking pictures (I’m an avid instagrammer), reading books about Bauhaus and artists’ diaries. Frankly speaking I never stop working. Even if it seems like I’m doing something not related to work I never stop thinking. There’s always a kind of question in the background of my mind “What can I extract from this for my future or current work? What can I learn from this?”

What songs and films have you enjoyed the most in 2014?

In music among my all-time favourites I can’t do without are Tori Amos, Deine Lakaien, Current 93, Joy Division, Nick Drake, Rebecca Clamp, The National, Boduf Songs and Lebanon Hanover. One of this year’s musical highlights was an opera “Lazarus oder Die Feier der Auferstehung” by Franz Schubert and Edison Denisov I was making a poster for.

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Website | @Heather_Hermit