Artist Profile: Berry Aktuglu, Owner of Atelier Mave - Milan

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Hi Berry! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m an illustrator and pattern designer based in Milan, Italy. I’m particularly inspired by the vintage objects & clothes, retro films, my childhood memories, old picture books and nature. In 2017, I created my own studio, Atelier Mave, a surface pattern design studio where I create illustrations and patterns both for my own products and for client projects.

What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
Both my graduate and masters degrees are different from what I’m doing right now. Before starting up my creative journey, I was working in marketing department for a pharmaceutical and cosmetics products company; back then, I was working closely with our in-house creative team and always admired how they do their magic and turn those plastic packagings into alluring products. That’s the point I started to draw and I was hooked after that day. I have learnt a lot from working on the other side of the table but I was always feeling that I’m belong to this creative world.

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When did you start illustrating, creating artwork and products?
I think I have always loved creating things with my hands; only thing has changed during the time is how I embody my ideas. It has always been so satisfying, liberating and empowering to shape these inputs, see all processes and finally touch the results and I think, sometimes, I feel more like me while expressing myself with what I’m doing. I continued to take some online courses on illustration and pattern design at nights while I was working in my day job, with an aim to build my own stationery brand one day. So, it all started in 2017 with a very small selection of stationery products like notebooks, prints and tote bags...

What led you to start Atelier Mave?
My unceasing desire to illustrate and create; an urge to build a colorful world to live in and also make twinkles in other people’s heart to jump into this world. I think these all also start with the meaning of Mave; it means joy in Irish and also represents being optimistic and energetic. Mave literally illustrates me!

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What emotions do you feel when you're creating?
I like illustrating mundane things or situations of everyday life in a humorous way; that’s why I find inspiration in everywhere and everything. While drawing, most of the time I feel what I try to convey; feel the warmth of an animal’s smile in my heart; feeling the springtime by putting on flower heads as skirts; or enjoy the friendship of some fruitful women..I mean they are living all in my mind. :)

You mention "Each design starts with hand-drawn lines; has its own playful characters and color combinations that draw Mave 's joyful vocabulary." Has this always been your style and how has it evolved over time?
The mission behind my brand & illustrations is to rediscover the inner child in people and put a smile on their faces. I create stories behind every illustration & pattern and craft the stories with my imperfect style, I believe it enhances the playfulness in my design.

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Do you have a favorite or most memorable project/collaboration?
I think all of the projects that I took (and I am taking) part in are so unique and special. I’m feeling so lucky to have worked with all these brands.

What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
I think the freedom to illustrate and create to avoid the negativity of the daily life is something amazing. And the other thing I can count is to connect with people; the clients, customers or just followers on Instagram and receiving positive feedback on what I do.

What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face?
I think it’s time. I try to work so organized to meet the deadlines both on personal projects and the client ones and I work all day. I’m ok with this pace but sometimes I feel confused and stuck in a creative way; at that point, I know that I need to gear down and take a step back to see the whole picture but never put this into action... I need to teach myself to take some time off which, in the end, will provide me a fresh vision to create more.


At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other? How have women supported you?
As women, we are the only ones who can dream about and build up our own lives, as well with build each other up. I always believe that we are better together! My mom has been a wonderful example to me how she tackled with difficulties and pursued her own way. She is also a big support to me and my business.

What women bring you inspiration?
There are so many wonderful women in my list but shortly, women like Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart and creatively Vivetta Ponti the designer of the Italian brand Vivetta.

What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
I always wish I could speak French, so I’m planning to take some courses up within this year. And of course, creatively I like experimenting new things, I think will never stop learning new things for my work.

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What are some of your favorite places in Milan?
There are so many nice cafes popping out in Milan these days; My favorite ones are Pause Milano, Hygge Milano and of course, a Wes Anderson classic Bar Luce. I also like strolling along the Naviglio, especially on Sundays when there is the Antique Market.

What's coming up for you?
Apart from my new Atelier Mave stationery products which will be launched soon, there are also so many great projects and collaborations with brands are lying ahead in 2019 but they all are sort of at the secret stage. And I am always ready for a new adventure and make new collaborations because I love what I am doing!

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Find Berry at: