Gerda Märtens

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illustrator, art teacher

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.

Märtens, Gerda. Virmalised (The Northern Lights), Koolibri 2020
Rand, Hilli. Aitäh, kõht on täis! (Thanks, I’m Full!), Rahva Raamat 2018
Vainola, Kätlin. Lood julgetest Eesti tüdrukutest (Stories of Brave Estonian Girls), Pegasus 2018
Buzzati, Dino. Loomine (The Creation), Koolibri 2016; first published as: Buzzati, Dino. La creazione. Roma: Orecchio Acerbo 2015
Pervik, Aino. Hädaoru kuningas (King of the Valley of Woes), Tänapäev 2016, illustrated by Gerda Märtens, 72 pp
Piiper, Kristi. Salapaha (Secretly Bad), Tänapäev 2015
Susi, Farištamo. Niru, Vääks ja sõbrad (Niru, Vääks and Friends), Mytho 2015
Rand, Hilli. Õnnelike õhtulugude sahtel (The Drawer of Happy Bedtime Stories), Päike ja Pilv 2014

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
2010 Forum for International Animation (FIA), Best Animation, Stockholm
2010 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
2020 Group exhibition, “Alice abita sempre qui” (Alice Always Lives Here), Rome, Italy
2019 Solo exhibition, “Creation”, Pirita Leisure Center
2019 Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia
2019 Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
2019 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
2017 Tallinn Illustrations Triennial (TIT), Estonia
2017 Spring exhibition of Estonian illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
2017 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
2016 New York School of Visual Arts Philanthropy Poster Project,  Stavros Niarchos Foundation Philanthropy Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece
2016 Solo exhibition „Scenes from the Picture Theatre”, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
2016 Solo exhibition “Niru, Vääks and Friends”, Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Kuressaare, Loo, Estonia
2016 Spring Exhibition of Estonian Illustrators, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Tallinn
2016 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
2015 The final SVA Summer Residency in Illustration exhibition, School of Visual Arts, Flatiron Gallery, New York, USA
2015 Solo exhibition, “Maailma loomine” (The Creation), Saaremaa, Estonia
2014 Group exhibition, “Una corona di piume” (A Crown of Feathers), Rome, Italy
2014 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

The Creation by Dino Buzzati
Italian: La creazione, Orecchio Acerbo 2015