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Gerda Märtens

Biography

Gerda Märtens (1987) is an illustrator and art teacher. She holds a master’s degree in printmaking from the Estonian Academy of Arts; has studied illustration at the Academy of Arts in Macerata, Italy; and participated in the New York School of Visual Arts’ Summer Illustration Residency Program. Märtens has illustrated seven children’s books and regularly collaborates with the Estonian children’s magazine Täheke. She is a highly unique, talented illustrator whose visual style blends influences from the Estonian and Italian schools in the best way imaginable. Märtens is a member of the Estonian Graphic Designers Association. Her artworks are part of the collection of the gallery Tricromia in Rome, Italy.

A book illustrator’s aim is to create a visual universe along with the rules that apply to it exclusively. A world in its creation phase starts to expand as visions in the back of an artist’s brain, and before long, it takes over the artist’s hand, pencils, and papers. When a book’s imaginary world is finished, the artist leaves its door ajar in order to invite the reader in to experience and play along.

Gerda Märtens lives and works in Basel, Switzerland.

Profile picture: private collection

Dino Buzzati. The End of the World, 2014, lead pencilDino Buzzati. The End of the World, 2014, lead pencilDino Buzzati. The Creation, Orecchio Acerbo, 2015, lead pencil, watercolourDino Buzzati. The Creation, Orecchio Acerbo, 2015, lead pencil, watercolourAino Pervik. King of the Valley of Woes, Tänapäev, 2016, lead pencil, watercolourAino Pervik. King of the Valley of Woes, Tänapäev, 2016, lead pencil, watercolourHilli Rand. Thanks, I’m Full! Rahva Raamat, 2018, watercolour, gouacheHilli Rand. Thanks, I’m Full! Rahva Raamat, 2018, watercolour, gouacheKätlin Vainola. Lilli Suburg from Stories of Brave Estonian Girls, Pegasus, 2018, gouache, acrylicKätlin Vainola. Miina Härma from Stories of Brave Estonian Girls, Pegasus, 2018, gouache, acrylicGerda Märtens. The Northern Lights, Koolibri, 2020, gouacheGerda Märtens. The Northern Lights, Koolibri, 2020, gouacheGerda Märtens. The Northern Lights, Koolibri, 2020, gouacheRome Lullaby I, 2020, gouacheRome Lullaby II, 2020, gouache

My City

Päike ja Pilv
2021, 36 pp
ISBN: 9789916630044
fiction, picturebook

The Northern Lights

Gerda Märtens

Koolibri
2020, 40 pp
ISBN: 9789985043738
fiction, storybook, picturebook

Thanks, I’m Full!

Hilli Rand

Rahva Raamat
2018, 44 pp
ISBN: 9789949727339
fiction, picturebook

The Creation

Dino Buzzati

Koolibri
2016, 48 pp
ISBN: 9789985038260
fiction, storybook
2020
5 Best Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (The Northern Lights)

2019
The Knee-High Book Competition, 1st place (Linn)

2017
Prize at the Supergraphics Contest organized by the city of Tallinn

2014
5 Best Designed Estonian Children’s Books, Newcomer’s Prize of the Estonian Graphic Designers’ Association (The Drawer of Happy Bedtime Stories)

To the animated film “In the Air”:

2010
Animateka, Special Mention, Ljubljana
Forum for International Animation (FIA), Best Animation, Stockholm
Melbourne International Animated Film Festival, Best of the Fest, Melbourne

2009
Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Best Animated Film of the Year, Tallinn
2020
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia

2019
Solo exhibition “Creation”, Pirita Leisure Center
Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books II”, Moscow, Kolomna, Russia

2018–2020
Exhibition of Baltic illustrators “Running with Wolves”, London, the United Kingdom; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (“Wolf Run”), Tallinn; Gdańsk, Wrocław, Białystok, Warsaw, Płock, Szczecin, Poland; Pordenone, Italy; Vilnius, Lithuania

2018–2019
Exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Running with Wolves”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; selected works, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Russia

2017
Solo exhibition “Creation”, Nordea Concert Hall, Pärnu Concert Hall, Jõhvi Concert Hall, the Small Building of Vanemuine Theatre
Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
Group exhibition of Estonian illustrators “Leafing Through Estonian Children’s Books I”, Moscow, Kolomna, Russia

2016
„Zoografia”, Libriamoci festival of the illustrated book, Galleria Antichi Forni, Macerata, Italy
New York School of Visual Arts Philanthropy Poster Project,  Stavros Niarchos Foundation Philanthropy Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece
Solo exhibition „Scenes from the Picture Theatre”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
Solo exhibition “Niru, Vääks and Friends”, Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Kuressaare, Loo, Estonia
Spring Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
Travelling exhibition of Estonian illustrators, “A Walk on the Path of Fairy Tale Together with Charles Perrault”, Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Russia

2015–2020
International illustration exhibition, “It’s Always Tea-Time”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Riga, Latvia; Uusikaupunki, Finland; Gdansk, Wrocław, Toruń, Elbląg, Poland; Berlin, Germany; Szczecin, Płock, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Oxford, the United Kingdom; Moscow, Krasnoarmeysk, Mytishchi, Vyborg, St. Petesburg, Russia

2015–2019
Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, “Once Upon a Time...” (Grimm’s Fairy Tales), Aosta, Anagni, Lagonegro, Bernalda-Metaponto, Corato, Matera, Roma, Lacco Ameno, Irsina, Siracusa, Sassari, Roma, Bologna, Italy; Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn; Minsk, Belarus; Kraków, Łomża, Białystok, Szczecin, Płock, Warszaw, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Opole, Poland

2015
Poster exhibition, “Be My Queen”, Fabriano, Italy
The final SVA Summer Residency in Illustration exhibition, School of Visual Arts, Flatiron Gallery, New York, USA
Solo exhibition, “Maailma loomine” (The Creation), Saaremaa, Estonia

2014
Group exhibition, “Una corona di piume” (A Crown of Feathers), Rome, Italy
Poster exhibition, “Magic City Boom”, Sforzacosta, Italy

2013–2014
Group exhibition, “The Visions of Mother Goose. Tribute to Charles Perrault”, Tallinn, Estonia

2013
Open air exhibition, “Colorata Camposano 2014”, Italy