22 May 2020

Meet the Artists – Maren Schabhüser

Posted in: Advertising, Animation, Artists, Design, Editorial, Fashion, Food, Illustration, Meet the artist, Photography

Maren Schabhüser’s work is so satisfying to look at, it’s almost therapeutic. The intricacies and skill involved in creating her images are on full display, creating scenes with so much vibrance and life that it’s hard to believe they’re made out of paper.

Working with clients like Malfly Gin, Maxi Magazine and Barbara Magazine, Maren’s work often provides the set for a cast of products that are suddenly brought to life when the camera is turned on them.

Having studied photography & design at university, Maren’s practice is a seamless blend of the two; thoughtful illustrative concepts are beautifully lit and  photographed, accentuating the sophisticated colour palettes and confident compositions. With a knack for finding the exact amount of detail to include in her paper craft models, Maren’s sculptures are vivid distillations of their real life counterparts. Be it fruit, cars, buildings, plants… even water, Maren’s versions often look better than the real thing. And it’s all paper!

We spoke to Maren about her favourite parts of her process, the first lesson she learned at art school and her dog Sakura’s new job…

Where do you live? Where is your studio located? 

I live in Hamburg, more specifically in Barmbek which is a northern district of Hamburg.

It’s a quiet and nice area, only a 15 minute walk away from the city park, the biggest green space of Hamburg with 148 hectares. It also takes just 10 minutes by subway to get to the city center. I live here and have an office in my apartment.

Can you describe your creative process?

My process typically starts with some rough sketches and finding a colour palette to show the client what they can expect. After that I start with my favorite part: all of the cutting, folding and glueing the different pieces together. This can take hours or weeks depending on the project and requires a lot of precision and patience. After that I arrange the paper art in my photo sets and the little paper world comes to life.

What does a typical working day look like?

I’m a morning person so I love to start my working day with a tea and a granola bowl at 8 in the morning. I love the early hours when you don’t (normally) get any emails or calls. So the first 2-3 hours are always the most effective ones of the day for me. Twice a day I have a little break to walk my dog; it’s super nice to clear your mind during this time and start over afterwards.

Some days I have meetings or meet some of my friends for lunch, it’s always nice to get out and meet other inspiring people.

Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work?

Most of the time I have the radio playing in the background. I’m very bad at watching news so this helps me keep updated as to what is happening in the world.

How long have you been with the Artworks for?

I have been with the Artworks for one year now.

What drew you to Artworks?

I was looking for an illustration agency in addition to my mother agency in Hamburg, that represents photographers and filmmakers. I remember being especially drawn to the diversity and quality of the represented illustrators at The Artworks and it was very important to me that there weren’t too many artists on the agency; I was looking for more of a boutique agency because the personal contact is very important to me. After the first chat I had the feeling that we were going to work together really well.

What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?

When I was young I loved kindly illustrated children’s books. I think my favorites were the German books “Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt” and “Alle Jahre wieder…” by Eve Tharlet.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead?

A goldsmith.

What was the most important lesson you learned at Art School, if you went!

I studied photography & design and the most important lesson I learned was on the first day: “60% of you won’t be able to work in the field of photography after your graduation. So work hard.”

What inspires you the most to create?

Social media in general – I love to see the beautiful artwork of so many creative people around the world.

What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy working with clients that have a general vision of what they want, but allow me enough  freedom to include my own ideas.

What would your dream commission be?

A big advertising campaign. Or creating a window display during the Christmas season.

Do you have any pets? If so, what and what are they called?

I’ve got a 6 year old dog. Her name is Sakura and she’s a former street dog from Greece.

Now she’s working in office management and the customer care service!

What 5 things could you not live without?

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

What is your very favourite meal?

Is carrot cake a meal? I think so.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Meet with friends, be out in nature and work on other creative projects.

What is your current dream travel destination?


To see more of Maren’s beautiful paper craft images, click here.