The Art of Inspiration - An interview with Mirka Laura Severa

Self-portrait Mirka Laura Severa, published in SZ Magazin

To shape a new, contemporary identity for the Bibi van der Velden brand, we collaborated with artist, art director, and photographer Mirka Laura Severa. Together with Mirka we created a new visual interpretation of Bibi’s myriad inspirations, to bring a new, exciting perspective to the house’s beautiful fine jewellery designs. Here, Mirka talks about what led her to career in art, photography, and art direction, and where she seeks creative inspiration. 

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Mirka Laura Severa and I'm a visual artist. I create autonomous art but I also work in the applied arts, crossing the fields of art direction, set design, and photography. Over the years I have been working closely with brands and agencies to develop unique image concepts for various campaigns. Among my clients are AnOther magazine, Apple, COS, Dom Pérignon, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, M Le Magazine du Monde, Nike, Numéro, SZ Magazin, The New Yorker, Vogue, Wallpaper*, and ZEIT Magazin. 

Dog Airport, published in M Le Magazine du Monde


When did you first realise you were a creative type? 

 I always felt the urge and importance to create my own ideas, and since I was a small kid I enjoyed the path of finding new, creative ideas. I didn´t ever want to create something that had been made in a similar way before, or do what would have been expected of me.  

Balenciaga Snake published in AnOther Magazine


How did you turn your passion into a career?

 During my studies of design, and later applied arts, I started working on small design or photography jobs. Over time, these turned into professional jobs, and developed into what I do today. 

What’s been your favourite collaboration or project so far? 

 In general I like ideas that are very simple but with a twist - surprising and timeless, maybe a little funny, and that do not follow a trend. One piece of my work that really makes that point is the "Sweet Dreams" project. It’s pictures of mattress samples and pieces of cake, simply shot on a plain, white background. How more silly could this be? But the thing is, it’s the idea. The mattresses and pieces of cake both look so alike that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s cake and what’s mattress. Furthermore, eating and sleeping are essential in our life - we need both to survive! But then they’re also luxuries. And if we slept or ate too much it becomes unhealthy again. It’s about balance. I like that both elements are visually and psychologically so alike. 

Sweet Dreams


What’s the hardest life lesson you’ve learned to date? 

 I think you’ve got to do things your way, no matter how difficult your childhood was or what other things interrupt or bring scars in your life. The importance is to stay focussed and never think you cannot do something due to some issue. If you have something you are passionate about, stand up and just do it. Life is short. 

Where do you find your inspiration? 

 My main inspiration is daily life. I love to observe situations, conversations, people. I love going to weird shops or places and also to talk to people, listen to their stories and learn about their lives. 

What motivates you? 

 The fact that creativity is never-ending. Every day I have the chance to make something. It’s a gift - a tool – it’s fantasy. Everybody should use this! No matter if you are a lawyer, carpenter, or artist. 

UV - Horse


If you were to visualise your ultimate goal, what would it look like? 

 I think in general I always want to grow and discover new things, I want to learn new things and to be challenged. I want to soak it up like a sponge. If you translate that into facts, then I would love to meet more people, being creative, sharing and learning. The more you grow, the more possibilities you get.  

Healthy Body, published in AnOther Magazine


If you were empress for one day, what would your message to the world be? 

 "Wear Bibi's jewellery!" 

What could you not live without? 

 My friends. 

What’s your favourite city and why? 

 Hmm. I mean all big cities have something, like London, Paris, and New York. In all of them you could sit anywhere and observe, and something interesting will always happen. But at the same time, you could also experience this in a village. I think New York in particular is so active and vibrant and inspiring. 

"As you would have told it to me (sort of) if we had known each other before you died", published in The New Yorker Magazine


What is your favourite Bibi van der Velden piece and why? 

 I really love the Baroque Pearl earrings, from the Animal Collection. I like their organic shape combined with the little details, and I love how the light reflects in the pearl, and how they change every time you look at them. I can imagine wearing them, but also just having them as a decorative piece on a shelf in my home.

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