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Artists•Lia Darjes

Discover the artists behind the books


My favourite thing in the studio

Lia Darjes lives and works between Hambourg and Berlin.

– Home and studio together or apart?
Together! I have a large room for my work in our family home. I used to share studios with very dear colleagues, which was so great and important at some points in my artistic journey. That has changed in recent years and I enjoy working from home in the quiet. And as a co-lead of the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin, where I spend a couple of days a month, I am lucky enough to enjoy an environment that fulfills much of my need for creative exchange.

–Do you have any daily rituals?
I drink a lot of coffee and tea and stare out of the window. Preferably with some birds singing in the background.

– What is the first art book you remember?
Jörg Meier’s die Würde dieser Menschen is a photo book from the early 80ies about the people of the red light district and its inhabitants in Hamburg. I grew up in this neighbourhood and returned here in 2022. This book contains very intense and yet calm portraits of my former neighbours in their homes. As a child, it was so fascinating to see these people, whom I saw every day on the street but did not know, in their privacy. I still like to go through this book.
My second art book was a little Taschen booklet on Goya. I bought it when I was about 15 and I felt very sophisticated. I still have it.

– What is your studio/creative soundtrack?
Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians.
I hardly ever listen to music when I work, it really distracts me. But this one actually helps me focus.

– Did you always want to be an artist?
An artist I don’t know…. I have always wanted to be a photographer! I had my first darkroom in my parents’ basement when I was 14. When I was a bit older, I did an internship in a commercial studio, which only seemed logical. It was so bad and uninspiring that I decided to become an illustrator instead and keep photography as a sacred hobby.
I started studying illustration after school and it was quite a struggle. Luckily for me, my studies included a photography course with Prof. Ute Mahler. Photography came so much easier to me than illustration that within a few weeks it was clear that I was going to change my mayor. Prof. Ute Mahler is my mentor and a close friend.

–What does a free day look like?
Going for a run, working in the garden, playing with my children, staring out the window with a good coffee and the birds singing, inviting our friends over for dinner.
I wish I had more days like that.

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