Since graduating from Central Saint Martins two years ago, Inga Ziemele has since “been on a journey of bringing more joy and laughs to the world,” achieved through ruling her own kingdom, known as “Ingaland.” The Latvian-born illustrator and animator is currently based in London, adding “but who cares, the internet makes us all neighbours anyway, especially these days more than ever.” When defining her practice, Inga tells us the title she likes to choose for herself is one of “storyteller,” but in order to “fit into some boxes to be commercially consumable and chewable, my work is #vector #illustration #animation.”
Inga’s uncompromising work is hyperactively bursting with life, energy and “overpopulated by character,” carrying with it an immediately nostalgic feeling, conjuring images of Cartoon Network and fuzzy VHS tapes. “My illustration is mainly led by the feeling of excitement and is supersaturated with emotions,” Inga tells us, crafting forms and shapes that are “as bubbly as freshly opened sparkling wine on New Year’s eve and colours as bright as when you get your sunglasses out for a walk for the first time after a long winter,” Inga poetically describes. Others, she tells us, have described her art as “disturbing but in a friendly way.” We can see Inga’s huge personal investment in her work, truly being an extension of herself, exuding the same jubilance and energy as Inga herself – “everything coming from Ingaland will make you want to snap your fingers and turn your best dance moves on!”
This metaphor directly mirrors Inga’s influences, telling us “I am also hugely inspired by hip-hop and electronic music,” explaining the harmony hip-hop has with street art, another continual source of inspiration for Inga. “Years back I found a collection of photographs of graffiti tags on New York subway,” she explains, “and I got absolutely taken away by bubble type... it clicked with me.” Drawn by typography, something is typically known for being solid and rigid, graffiti instead felt “ bouncy and exciting,” Inga adds “it made me feel a bit on edge because you never know when that bubble is going to explode... it was exactly how I wanted my work to feel.” This jubilant, cheeky tension is rife in every inch of Inga’s work, from individual characters to large expansive scenes, resulting in fresh, youthful and fun illustrations.
A recent highlight for Inga was her work on the Think! campaign Pint Block. “It was an exciting project to work on,” she tells us, “I surprisingly had a lot of freedom of how to interpret the concepts and ideas they wanted to convey.” Allowing her mind to run free, Inga began work on fantastic and intensely detailed large-scale scenes, brimming with character and “crazy situations,” even managing to include one of her signature characters, smoke ghost. “I drew it in one of the initial roughs and I was a bit worried about putting it in, as it can be seen as quite a scary and aggressive character, that not many clients would like to have an association with,” Inga explains. “Surprisingly the only feedback I got in that round was – can you draw a lot more of them,” she adds “That was an amazing feeling when the client let me go crazy and draw what I truly wanted to.”
“Another project I am very hyped about is actually yet to be born,” Inga teases, discussing Chicks&Cocks – a personal animated series she created a few years ago. Now in the process of creating new episodes, the series looks at modern romance and dating habits. “The short stories are based around a chicken in an endless loop of longing and search for her perfect rooster,” Inga describes. Driven by the current context of modern dating life and the great impact it has on people, Inga is able to “tap into those awkward moments of dating, gender and sexuality that people might find hard to talk about.” As is the case with most of Inga’s work, she successfully uses humour as a tool in storytelling, noting that “laughter is the best way to become comfortable and relaxed.”
“The predictions say Ingaland is going to prosper and have nice sunny weather,” Inga proclaims, looking to what lies ahead. “It is looking to expand its developments and welcome new citizens very soon... so if Brexit is kinda bugging you, we will soon roll out an invitation to become Inglish.” Currently working on a music video alongside Chicks&Cocks, Inga is looking forward to developing “busier and larger illustrations,” hoping to push the more psychedelic nature of her practice, as well as continuing her illustrated notes – sketchbooks of notes and doodles from creative lectures, such as Nicer Tuesdays!
This practice began at university to help her remember lectures. Inga explains it has since become “a great exercise for my mind,” due to the given time limit of a lecture and having to “fill out the whole page and the information coming in real-time, so I gotta come up with creative ideas on the spot and they have to look good.” Not only does this encourage Inga to push new concepts and discover new elements of her discipline, but she also finds satisfaction in thinking of it as “a little bit like a collaboration with the speaker.” We look forward to seeing what she makes of this upcoming online Nicer Tuesdays!
About the Author
Hailing from the West Midlands, and having originally joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020, Harry is a freelance writer and designer – running his own independent practice, as well as being one-half of the Studio Ground Floor.