From philosophy books to art installations, Anna Sukhova loves pushing the limits of her practice

From philosophy books to art installations, Anna Sukhova loves pushing the limits of her practice

“As a graphic designer, I never work alone,” says Frankfurt-based Anna Sukhova, who values collaboration as a key component to her practice. After moving to Germany from Russia to study at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, Anna’s approach became much more experimental – switching from rules and techniques to looking more intently at theory and critical thinking. Having learnt plenty about the role of graphic design during her studies, this allowed her to dabble in photography, installation and collaborations with her peers.

Now, she’s currently finishing up her second master’s degree and, after working in several studios, is more than happy as a freelancer taking on different commissions and self-initiated projects. This includes editorial and exhibition design, typography, installations, visual identities, performance and illustrations. She also works collaboratively with galleries and artists, and boasts a portfolio filled with client work for the publishing house AdMarginem, Museum Garage in Moscow, Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, High School of Art and Design Offenbach and Implantieren Festival.

Proving just how much she enjoys working as a team, she says: “I try to get involved in projects from different fields so that I can learn a lot more.” For instance, she’s been working for several years with andpartnersincrime, a company producing conceptual documentary theatre performances themed around current political topics. Anna’s role involves graphic design but also staging, costumes and even participating in the performance side of things herself. She also collaborates heavily with artists and curators, which is something she thoroughly enjoys. “In any project, teamwork is very important to me,” she says. “It is crucial for me to work with someone, not for someone. It is essential for me to identify with the context of the project, and for each participant to identify with the design I’m proposing.”

In fact, Anna feels that some of the “coolest” projects she works on are those pitched by people who don’t have a “fully formulated task”, but just a concept. This means she’s able to have a creative back-and-forth with the collaborator. “It’s important for me to talk a lot,” she notes, citing the discussion phase as the moment in which the best ideas are born. “When you talk about your work to try to prove your point of view, you get a better understanding of your own idea. I never sit down at the computer until I have listened to my thoughts and discussed them with my team.” Once these ideas have blossomed, that’s when she’ll move on to the sketching phase, ringing out the ideas and the thoughts in her mind before taking things to the computer.

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