MIRABELLA POSTCARDS in Photographer magazine, september 2011, *en Open or Close
I started designing in 2003. I have been creating sites and various graphics. When in 2004 I fist held a digital camera in my hands, I realized this thing is an incredibly convenient tool for work. Camera has become an integral part of my working activity. When I needed some element for the layout, whether it was a flower or a tree, my camera always came to the rescue. My first camera was Mustek (1mp, approx. price at the time UAH350). All the pictures taken on the sun were melting and each image “weighed” around 700kB. Good times! All my vacation could fit onto a 256Mb flashcard.
I continued designing: I’ve been making commercials, newspapers, magazines, visiting cards and I studied how to take photos. Then I had a snapshot camera and later – a Canon reflex camera. It was couple of years ago that I realized I can’t get torn between photography and design anymore. I love designing – it is very exciting to create something from nothing. And shooting is the other way around and I like it because I can choose something already existing and beautiful and take it with me. The main thing in photography for me is keeping a part of something unapproachable, forbidden to myself. When I started working for a glossy I figured I can easily combine two favorite activities. I spent all my time in a photo studio and then page-proofed my own images into full-bodied articles and materials. But it didn’t last, I understood: one has to concentrate on one thing only to achieve success. I didn’t want to give up photography while design was my main source of income, so I’ve decided to try and combine both activities. This is how I started making collages. Such a symbiosis captivated me. I’ve spend number of days making my first collage. I posted it to a social network and received billion praiseful comments, wishes and suggestions. I created image after image, and then I came up with a small project which revealed itself after half-year of careful preparation. I called it “Dreams come true!”. 10 project’s heroines found a way to their dreams and fantasies.
I’ve made a number of projects and now I am preparing the next one. I take stories for my works from day-to-day life; there is nothing supernatural about them. I just exaggerate the desired. For example, my models don’t fly on big air-balloons; they fly small balloons in portable comfortable baskets. Ice-cream on my photos becomes gigantic and you can easily chill-out or read a book on the clouds.
• [bottom] This work was absolutely accidental. A friend of mine moved to a new place where she had a lot of free space. And we’ve decided to make a photo session. We made a couple of shots withought proper lighting, flash, using a usual camera. And when I came home and the moment I downloaded the whole photo shoot to my computer, I just new Sasha has to be in a bottle. I took the suitable tank from the fridge, poured out the milk, took a picture. I’ve been on this picture for the whole night but it was totally worth it.
• [left] One day I had a full bag of marsh-mellows at home. These goodies were so sweet-scented and mouthwatering that I just had to take a picture of them before they have been eaten. I took a picture of Masha from my archive and created this small story of a big sweet tooth. • [right] Tanya had a big dream of flying the balloons as a girl from Dior fragrance commercial did. This image has been shot accidentally by Dima Romas, but now it became one of the most popular postcards and even appears on stamps now.
• [left] Once someone gave me carnations, flowers which .can stay in the vase and not fade for a long time. I was circling around them for days before I realized they would be perfect ruche for a skirt. It was right when the Ukrainian Fashion Week took place and I wished I could be a designer. Even the fact that I took photos of Yana for other character – she was supposed to be a witch, never stopped me from putting this idea into action.
• [left] This is me. This self-portrait was shot at home, when I was ironing a curtain. I added roses and turned myself into a Sleeping Beauty.
• [right] Stas and Yana make videos and host a video-blog. Their team holds the name “Red Glass”. They goof around all the time, so this picture just formed itself.
• [bottom] I fly in my sleep every single night. And it was decided to launch Kseniya into flight above Kiev. She turned out to be an unusual Bulgakov’s Margarita.
• [top] This is my Mom’s dress. I wanted so much to make Alina a good fairy and there is no better instrument for that than balloons.
• [right] Vika turned out to be an ideal Betty Page. We were at home drinking tea, goofing around, snapping photos and chatting, and then we were going through the photos on my computer and I realized that Vika created an ideal character all by herself, and all I had to do is change wallpaper in the picture.
Little story in JOY magazine, november 2011, *en
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“COMBINING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE”
Maria Snegireva (25), series of vintage postacards for the soul mirabella.com.ua
I used to design for glossies. The idea was born when I tried to find a postcard for my friend’s birthday, but nothing seemed to reflect what I had in mind, so I’ve printed out one of my own works.
Postcards let me combine business with pleasure, fulfill my creative ambitions and make a product I can share with the world! I am very self critical, so I make a lot of sketches, look at other’s works. Out of twenty new designs only one-two sees the light of the day. It has been hard on the stage where I did color-proofing, studied available cardboard and printing options. It is always hard to guess if the colors on the postcards will correspond.
I don’t have to spend money on transport taking me to the office and depend on someone’s work - that’s a huge benefit of my business. I can handle all my business by myself. Although there is a big minus too: I don’t have any free time, because my free time and my hobby is work. You should be as critical as you can be towards the things you do to start up your own business, and constantly ask yourself such questions as “who needs this?”, “who am I doing this for?”. One more thing: if you love the work you do, there will always be like-minded people who will appreciate it the way you do!
Interview with Maria Snegireva in Cosmopolitan, november 2011, *en
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Master of postcards
I have always had a soft spot for postcards. I love to get them, but I love to give them even more. I am crazy for all the customized stuff. This is why I make postcards for my friends and family myself. At first they were collages and various unusual pictures. Then I bought a small printer for home use, which in addition to normal size paper could print postcards. This is how my first paper postcards came into sight. One day I sent couple of my works to a photobank. Suddenly, a wave of “likes” and positive comments covered me. Today you can find my postcards in shops, restaurants and even on weddings!
I’ve always said if videos are small movies, then postcards are small cartoons. I make up stories for my postcards myself. It is a diligent and creative work, as the process includes not only creation of look and work on the images, but also photo shooting, printing and many other things. And this is when my audit training and eight years in design become really handy. I say it’s crucial that I like the postcard myself. The reason I have the whole series dedicated to girls flying the balloons is that I’ve always wanted to fly one myself. By the way, this dream of mine came true not long ago thanks to my friends. I am very lucky – my loved ones always support me.
My favorite postcards are the vintage ones I chase on flea markets! They have soul, emotions, feelings, history. Right now I have about a thousand retro postcards in my collection. They get me inspired. It was not long ago that a friend of mine sent me a link to an absolute stranger’s web-page who took a picture of my postcards and signed it “God, it’s so sweet, I come to my car and I see this on the windshield!”. I was so thrilled. I dream that my postcards bring joy and positive emotions to people. I don’t want to make whole lot of them. I wish they would be easily recognizable all around the world. I also plan to make a photo exhibition and at the same time to create stamps and illustrate books. And perhaps to travel more to obtain new ideas and knowledge.
Art collage in Sensa magazine, august 2011
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- Interview with Maria Snegireva in Afisha Magazine, january 2009 Open or Close
- Advertising collage in Cosmopolitan Psychology, august 2011 Open or Close
- Article about MIRABELLA POSTCARDS in Day Newspaper, july 2011 Open or Close
Interview in Inpirational Book, may 2011, en*
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IF YOU FEEL TOO LAZY TO WORK, GO AND SEE HOW OTHERS WORK AND YOU’LL UNDERSTAND: SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT AND MEANWHILE YOU ARE LYING ON THE COUCH
DEPRESSIONS AND SADNESS APPEAR OF BOREDOM. YOU HAVE TO OCCUPY YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES SO YOU WON’T HAVE BAD MOOD
MARIA SNEGIREVA aka MIRABELLA, 25 YEARS OLD, DESIGNER
Born in Donetsk. Graduated from University of Economics and Trade with degree in audit and accounting. Have been working as a designer since 2003. Was working for Afisha, JOY, PINK magazines. In 2010 left Marie Claire magazine to launch “Postcards for the Soul” - a project of her own. You are most welcome to see it on the website: www.mirabella.com.ua
GOOD IDEAS – SIMPLE IDEAS. There is no need to invent anything to create something beautiful. My goal is to immortalize already existing nature and beauty. If I walk down the street and see a beautiful magnolia tree, it means tomorrow I am going to make a beautiful postcard with magnolias.
MY PRINCIPLE – use nature, because it is the most beautiful of all things ever existing in the whole world.
I WON’T BE INSPIRED BY A BLUE-EYED BLOND GUY if he is lazy and melancholic. I get inspired by people’s energy – by their deeds, accomplishments and creations.
I DON’T DREAM OF BEING A STAR OR MAKE WORLD A BETTER PLACE – it is perfect as it is. To do less harm is all it takes to make it better.
IN CHILDHOOD DAYS I DREAMED SOMETHING UP and made it – this never changed since then.
I KEEP A DIARY which I have been keeping for 12 years. It consists of clippings, drawings, portraits of boys I once loved, a ticket to the concert where I first kissed. I now use these collages when creating postcards.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO UNTILL YOU TRY. Even if you are scared and unsure, it only takes to start. And never stop.
ACTION IS THE MAIN THING. I have seen plenty of movies about millionaires. Guess what, none of them have ever been visited by sponsors and producers, they have never been offered anything just like that.
IF YOU FEEL TOO LAZY TO DO SOMETHING, GO AND SEE HOW OTHERS WORK. It inspires. At that moment you realize that someone is doing something really important and this someone is not you. Meanwhile you lie on the couch.
GREED IS MY MAIN MOTIVATOR. I am very greedy for other people’s money and envious of other people’s success. If I see someone successful I fanatically do everything to keep up.
MY BIG GOAL – EARN ONE MILLION DOLLARS using my skills and talents. This is not an incredible amount, and this is exactly why I need it. Then I’ll buy an apartment on Pushkinskaya Street and will leave peacefully – I will be making postcards, enjoy life and not be thinking about a million dollars.
I HAVE BEEN DREAMING FOR A LONG TIME for somebody to order me postcards. When I realized that it’s not going to happen, I decided to print the mounted up ones myself.
I WANTED TO DROP IT AND FORGET ABOUT POSTCARDS when I ordered an enormous printing of postcards, picked it up from the printing office and saw a typo on some of the cards. The word “heart” was missing letter “e”. I was so ashamed of myself as I am a great literacy advocate and simply sorry for the lost money.
I HESITATED TO SHOW MY POSTCARDS. So I posted them to an American art-site to get feedback from complete strangers. Till the time I was ready to show my works to thousands of people in LiveJournal they have already won over America.
A FRIEND OF MINE ONCE SAID: “When I bought an apartment I had a feeling I screwed the whole world”. I felt the same when my postcards started to sell.
IT UPSETS ME, I FEEL OFFENDED, GET NERVOUS AND CRY when I get negative feedback. I come to appreciate it only when I get calm. An example from the top of my head: someone told me that I have ugly soviet-styled flowers on my postcards. And I see them as vintage and elegant. I copied them from real ones – objectively they are not bad, that’s why I don’t take offence.
DEPRESSIONS AND SADNESS APPEAR OF BOREDOM. You have to occupy yourself at all times so that you won’t have bad mood.
I DON’T MAKE MY POSTCARDS FOR EVERYBODY TO BE HAPPY. When I craft them I don’t think about anyone else but myself, because I just love to give away my postcards!
BE HONEST DOING EVERYTHING YOU DO AND PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE IN THAT. You have to strongly believe that what you do is impeccable.
I QUIT MY JOB to make postcards. I am an accountant by training, so I pragmatically planned my departure. I’ve been saving money for two years to quit the job and take care of my own business.
I STAY TRUE TO THE 60’s AESTHETICS. At that time it was on incredibly high level. “To be beautiful” was the main rule of that time. Women were sporting A-line skirts to make the thighs appear wider and waist – narrower. Men covered up their beer bellies under jackets to look slim and elegant.
I DON’T LIKE MODERN YOUTH AND CLOTHES from the standpoint of aesthetics and beauty. These things don’t exist in modern fashion. Nowadays they say “I have to be stylish, fashionable and successful”. But not beautiful. A girl can put on on-trend leggings or skinny jeans but she won’t necessarily look beautiful in those.
A REAL LIFE IS when you get worried, get nervous and get thoughtful. It is similar to what you feel on a first date. I can constantly invent something – this is the thing postcards attract me with. Now I became more down-to-earth, but when I’ve just started I was in this state of first date all the time.
LOVE IS THE LIFE’S ONLY MEANING. It is worth being beautiful, achieve success, make money. It would be easier for me to love the guy if I could make him presents, look after myself. And it needs money.
I KNEW I HAVE FOUND MYSELF when I started to get loads of positive feedback about my postcards. The main thing is to be in harmony with yourself, and the Universe will help you – it will send you the right people, new printing offices and shops to sell your postcards in. Most of all I love it when people scream with delight when they see my postcards.
THE STATE OF HARMONY is when you do what you like to do and don’t do anything against your will. When you don’t envy. When everything is well with you and you realize it. When you walk hand in hand with the guy and realize he is the best, and you don’t turn your head for anybody else. When you see yourself in the mirror and like what you see – when you don’t dream of losing weight or changing your hair color. When you come home and don’t dream of moving. When you go to work and don’t plan to change it.
- Advertising Collage of restaraunt in Public People Magazine, summer 2011 Open or Close
- Article about new postcard set in Shopping Guide, june 2011, en* Open or Close
HAPPINESS FOR SALE!
QUESTION: I need an advice on what to take with me when friends invited me over? I don’t feel like spending a lot but at the same time I don’t want to come empty-handed. Larisa, 20
ANSWER: Before accepting an invitation, you should think of the things people who have invited you might like. You can never go wrong with a bottle of cider or a box of meringue kisses. Grab a couple of hearty postcards to bring with yourself to make a small celebration out of your visit. You can present the postcard together with a simple photo frame. The inscription can be simple and unpretentious, for example: “Happiness forever!”, “Youth and joy!”, “Everything is going to be alright” or “Believe in a dream!”. You can find these and other postcards in the new set “Postcards For The Soul” by Mirabella Postcards. Drop by the “Hand-Made” shop (Metrograd, 5/1 Krasnoarmeiskaya Street, Gift Gallery “Novyi Proezd”) to buy them.
- Stylish postcards for Shopping Guide Magazine, may 2011 Open or Close