Cross-interview: Maite Leon + Flowink Myst

Myrto Stathatou, aka Flowink Myst, is a Greek architect, graphic designer and illustrator adopted by the City of Lights. “Flowink Myst” comes from “flow” and “ink” and her initials (MYrto STathatou). She mainly works for events, culture and publishing.

Maite Leon is an artist and illustrator. Of Franco-Greek origin, she lives and works in Paris, for press, publishing and private clients. She also exhibits her work in France and abroad.

What is your background?

FM: I studied architecture in Athens then moved to Paris in 2011, seeking a more creative field of practice. I fell in love with the city, then I found my place in the artistic direction of parisian architecture agencies. I spent my days on 3D renderings, hand-drawn architecture visualisations and graphics charts (diagrams, logos, layout).

As the years went by and I passed 30, I began to wonder about the architect’s global lifestyle, including crazy working hours, casual sexism, but also about our impact on the urban area. I was working for an agency that besides their “craft oriented” communication was building low-cost projects, meant to last a few decades. Moreover, I was witnessing a certain industrialisation of the creative process and a stagnancy on climate issues. I decided to change my way a little before the Covid era.

ML: I grew up in Greece. I went to the Lycée Français d’Athènes. I had a passion for languages, so I started by studying linguistics applied to law and economics at Paris X University. After that, I worked in several creative industries: I subtitled films for ten years (Titra-films, Arte), I was a proofreader and translator in publishing (Hatier, Seuil), I localized video games (Disney Interactive Studios, Ubisoft) and I worked with French cartoonist Plantu for twelve years in the press (Le Monde).

I love visual storytelling. I’ve been working as a full-time illustrator since 2021, and have been pursuing my artistic work for over fifteen years. Today, my clients are mainly in the press and publishing industries, as well as private individuals.


Seafood, personal illustration, 2023 Maite Leon


FM: Your work has a very personal touch, whatever the subject. How did you develop such a distinctive style?

ML: My style has developed over time. Initially, there was a desire to find a textured rendering that was close to traditional artwork, while working digitally. I draw my images by hand, and my textures in ink or acrylic, then I scan them to integrate them into my illustrations. My palette is made up of bright colours that bring up positive emotions.


FM: As my style is quite realistic, I use colour to create a poetic, muted vibe, somewhere between dream and reality.
My choice of colours changed a lot when I switched to digital. The fact that I could change them quickly and test things out has allowed me to evolve and define my view on aesthetics in a more precise way. In the end, it’s funny to see that certain colours are consistent from illustration to illustration.


Pink House, Digital illustration, Flowink Myst


FM: My inspiration comes largely from music itself, but also from the visual artists who worked in the music industry. Growing up in the years before the internet, I associated music with objects, posters, CDs, cassettes or vinyl records. As a kid, I used to daydream imagining stories inspired by music and album artworks. That’s where my curiosity for visuals came from. Nowadays, I find inspiration just about everywhere – there’s no shortage of references on social networks, but also in nature, modern society issues, environmental challenges, pop culture and many more.

ML: Everything around me inspires me. Everyday life, people, objects, nature. For me, it’s all about the eye and observation. I like to tell real or fictional stories, while adding an extra dimension, that of my own perception, and leaving room for the viewer’s imagination.


Childhood Memories, Pigment print, 50×70 cm, Maite Leon 2023


ML: I love the poetry in the drawings of Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti and British illustrator Owen Gent. Gérard Garouste’s astonishing paintings, those of William Bouguereau, Paul Watzlawick’s writings on the perception of reality and Laurent Durieux’s highly detailed film posters. Not forgetting Carl Jung and his writings on the subconscious. I have a particular affinity with the surrealist and symbolist movements. People, nature, everyday details and dreams are my main sources of inspiration.

FM: I’m quite influenced by Tito Merello Vilar’s detailed yet ‘unfinished’ illustrations, Coco Che Jota’s paintings that combine design and lifestyle, and Carlo Stanga’s architectural illustrations. I’ve also been very influenced by Storm Thorgerson, photographer and creator of album covers for hundreds of iconic bands (including Pink Floyd), whose mysterious, ‘infinite’ compositions and atmospheres have fuelled my imagination.


There’s no colours, digital illustration for the Kiplan EP cover, Flowink Myst


ML: I’m a big dreamer, and have been ever since I was a child. I’ve always paid attention to dreams and I naturally became interested in other people’s dreams. In 2023, I wrote a self-published artist’s booklet entitled ” Dreams & Nightmares ” (in French) in which I collected several testimonies that I illustrated. Dreams are both intimate and universal, a language shared by everyone, regardless of frontiers. It’s a subject that fascinates me and that I’m developing as part of my work as an artist.


Pages from the “Dreams & Nightmares” booklet, Maite Leon, 2023


FM: I’m currently working on an album cover recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, which will be released this summer, and on the graphic chart for a Paris-based company that helps musical projects to make their way in the music industry.

Behind the scenes, I’m working on a new series of illustrations called Utopicities 2050, inspired by solarpunk and the ‘Transition Towns’ network. My aim is to illustrate the scenario where major social change is taking place for the following twenty years, so climate crisis, collapsing biodiversity, crumbling democracy and sustainability challenges reduce or even reverse in 2050.

I initially started out with the idea of inventing a utopia. Following deep research into sustainability issues, I discovered plenty of work on solutions already applied in other parts of the world. I currently draw an ‘alternative’ society, where I imagine the application of all these initiatives to our local urban area and lifestyle.


Paris 2050: The asphalt is gone, nature takes over the Haussmannian facades and permaculture settles in the city. Flowink Myst.

I see this series as an opportunity to stimulate the collective imagination and serve as a starting point for constructive conversations. Besides, I’d love to share my research and everything that inspires Utopicities 2050.

I’m launching a call for collaborative participation open to all: members of my private (and free) community will be able to access several sources of positive inspiration, independent initiatives, collective brainstorming sessions, take part in polls related to the content of upcoming illustrations, and/or simply follow the series’ progress closely.

If you’d like to be part of the journey, please send “teammate” to flowinkmyst@gmail.com.

ML: This summer I’ll be doing an artist’s residency for a few weeks at the Openbach gallery in Vincennes, during which I’ll be carrying out visual and painterly research in preparation for two exhibitions planned for September and December on the theme of dreams.
Alongside this, I’m developing a new editorial project on dreams, and I’m putting out a call for testimonials on my website, open to all, to collect new dream stories. If you’d like to take part, please write to me at contact@maiteleon.com.


ML: Yes, I love exploring different fields of creativity because it fuels my work. For the last two years, I’ve been practising opera singing and learning to read music. Before that, I did theatrical improvisation in English and artistic fencing for three years. And contemporary dance in an amateur company for eight years.
This year, I also took part in a writing workshop run by French poet Florentine Rey, which gave me the opportunity to illustrate several texts I’ve written.

FM: I’ve been playing music for a while, piano, synth and bass. I still perform with blues, rock and psychedelic bands here and there and really enjoy jamming with friends, it gets me out of my solitary work routine.


ML: Mainly podcasts in English about illustration or film music by Ramin Djawadi or Marco Beltrami to immerse myself directly in a certain atmosphere favourable to a state of flow. I also enjoy listening to films or TV series while I’m drawing.

FM: It depends on the season. At the moment, I listen to a lot of psychedelic folk and minimalist music for anything that requires concentration. In winter, I’m more into punk, post-punk and new wave sounds, while in summer I switch to a more prog rock playlist, like the Steams, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets etc.


ML: As an artist, I would very much like to work on a large mural, do an artist residency abroad, in the Baltic States or elsewhere, and take part in a collaborative project with other artists, for a creation or with a view to an exhibition.
I’d also like to continue illustrating book covers, short texts and, of course, dreams.

FM: I’d love to work with musicians to design their logos, cover art and posters – I love the creative spark and the multitude of visions.
I’d also love to do more illustrations for architects who work consciously and want to do things differently. Stepping out of your comfort zone and saying no to 3D isn’t always easy, but drawing is a tool that changes the way clients and people in general look at your projects.
I’d also like to do illustrations for women architects, who represent only 7% of architectural firms. For this purpose, there’s a book project that I’m working on with the historian Alma Smoluch. I hope that I can tell you more soon.


The Blue House, Flowink Myst
Architectural illustration of the Orteaux childcare centre (Paris 20th arrondissement) by the winner of the Female Architect 2022 Award, Christelle Avenier from Avenier Cornejo Architectes


FM: On my website flowinkmyst.com, on Instagram @flowink_myst and Facebook @flowinkmyst

ML: On my website, maiteleon.com and on Instagram @maite_leon_illustrations. I also have a monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to if you want to follow my news.


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