Nino Maissouradze works as an illustrator, teacher, student coach and as an artist / performer and founder of Buro Rococo: a collective of Nino and Yoko Heiligers in which illustration and performance come together in mobile drawing acts. Nino studied illustration at Artez and started working as an illustrator and teacher at Artez and ROC after. In 2020 she started working at WdKA, first only as an Illustration tutor and later also as a student coach. In this article you can read everything about her love for both illustration and people, sources of inspiration and goals as a tutor.
What is your subject / branch of knowledge?
It would make sense to say illustration, but what really drives me is human behavior. I am not an anthropologist, but sometimes act like I am. As a student coach I use my people skills but also my sense of compassion and openness a lot. I love people and I actively search for their unique traits, strengths and quirkyness.
I’ve always been an illustrator and I tend to use my illustrations to tell stories about people. I feel a strong urge to share human stories, thoughts and experiences. That’s what brought me to the art academy. Illustration fits me because it is all about storytelling, not always in the most literal form but that’s why I like it even more; you can add your own style to it.
Why did you start working at wdka?
I heard from a friend who was working here that there was a job opportunity for an illustration teacher at WdKA. I moved from Zwolle to Rotterdam already but still worked in Zwolle. I was ready for a new challenge so I was really happy with this job opportunity. I started in September 2020. As a tutor, you’re mostly busy with transferring knowledge and skills. There’s not always a lot of room to intensely work with students one on one. When I heard that there were student coach positions available, I immediately applied and also got the job. That’s one year ago now.
Being a student coach brought me a lot. I can be quite intense and direct as a teacher. I like to ask confronting questions and challenge students to surprise theirselves. As a coach, I am more careful and empathic. Working with students in this personal way, gave me a lot of insights into the needs and experiences of students. I use those insights as a teacher now as well and try to find a balance between my direct and empathic side.
What do you love about teaching?
I love being in a creative space with young people and exchange ideas and our collective love for art. To me, that exchange is the base of teaching.
What I also love about it is that I can offer students alternative perspectives, let them discover new possibilities and challenge them to explore their potential. I can support them to move out of their heads and start creating. It is a lot about pushing boundaries and learning new things about yourself and your environment. I feel so grateful for being able to see these processes and personal developments. I want students to fall in love with art and the creation process of it.
What defines you as a tutor?
I am playful, enthusiastic and I like to push my own boundaries as well. For a project last year, I was challenged by my colleague to participate myself by creating a video in which I portrayed myself as a fat construction worker with a big mustache. It was quite challenging, but it really helped to lower the treshold for students to create their own videos.
I am provocative and passionate, both as a tutor, artist and person. In my opinion you can't really separate your nature within these different roles. I just am who I am.
What is your goal as a tutor?
My goal is to facilitate moments where students can surprise and outdo themselves. As a tutor, you can create the right environment in which it is possible to do so, but of course the students do this theirselves. I am here to support that process and challenge them to push their limits.
What is your source of inspiration?
My number one inspiration are people; the daily things and situations that happen on the streets. I love to sit outside and watch these things. In Rotterdam you can find so many inspiring places and people. But I also get inspired by other artists. I follow a lot of them on Instagram. And I like going to museums and theatre too.
What is something most students don’t know about you that you would like to share?
I feel like I am super open to my students already. If they want to know more about me, they can always ask. So hereby I invite them to, but only if they’re interested of course. A lot of students are mostly focused on theirselves. And I can’t blame them, I think I was exactly the same when I was a student. However, I would want to invite them to be more curious and observe their surroundings more. Inspiration can be found everywhere.