Carmen Maria Traud AKA Carmi Grau
At unu we’re urban at heart and see ourselves as part of the global street culture. That’s why we frequently team up with local artists who inspire and move us. In these collaborations we give the artist a blank canvas — an unu electric scooter to transform with their own creative vision, fantasy and spirit. This time we’ve teamed up with Berlin based graphic designer and artist Carmen Maria Traud, aka Carmi Grau.
In our last artist cooperation we worked with SuperBlast, so it was kind of clear that we were ready for some girl power in our next collaboration. Through our friends at Studiolo Kreuzberg we were introduced to Carmi Grau, who works as a graphic artist in Berlin designing for record labels, brands and artists like Lana Del Rey and many others. For Carmi art has always been her passion so we were super excited when she said “Yes” to our project.
Shortly after our first meeting we took the unu electric scooter to Carmi’s house which is also her studio and carried it all the way up to the 4th floor of her Kreuzberg apartment — yes, that’s what you do when you really love art as much as we do. Arriving at her apartment we immediately started talking about life, graphic design and how Carmi actually became an artist. For her, as she explains to us, this was all a very natural process, because art was simply always at the centre of her life:
In a way I decided for the arts super early in my life. So early that I can’t really recall it anymore. My parents always told me that as long as I had pens and paper I was a happy child. So in a way it was always clear for me that I would become an artist, even if that meant overcoming many obstacles.
Being so focused on one goal from the beginning really helped her to start a career in the arts right after high school, moving on to study industrial design in Magdeburg and kicking off her career in Berlin. However, when she first told her parents that she wanted to become a full time artist they were quite surprised because as she explained to us: “in this small city where I’m from that’s just not something that you decided to do. Art it’s not a proper job, but it was what I wanted to do, so I believed in it anyways.” Watching her make beautiful leaves come to life on the unu electric scooter seemed a perfect metaphor; it’s always worth believing in your dreams. For Carmi her art is all about making life and the daily objects that surround her more beautiful by giving them a design makeover, just as designing our electric scooter.
Carmi likes to be artistically challenged because pushing boundaries is great for creativity. In a way things that don’t work out in the first place can be a blessing and actually turn into something interesting: “I like resistances in life. I think you need limits and a certain opposition to really be able to reach your goals. When you have overcome an obstacle you will know how much you really wanted it. I always had moments in my career where I lost my focus, but then I always found my way back to art.”
Even if Carmi is all about the power of following your vision her designs have an inherent lightness, fun and sweetness that goes back straight to her personality. Her art is always inspired by nature and the streets she roams in Kreuzberg, her favorite Berlin neighborhood. For her it’s always the push and pull between nature and urban life that influences her art, or as she puts it:
“When I go on the street I just get inspired and I soak everything up like a sponge. But sometimes I also need to leave the city to process everything and be able to bring it to paper later. I’m kind of releasing my feelings and ideas in that moment. I draw a lot from being inspired by the urban life that surrounds me, but I also need my sacred, secure and quiet spaces to create.“
Being on the move, as you can be with an unu electric scooter, to find inspiration in different places is something that is super important for being a creative person. Sometimes the best ideas come only with a change of scenery. As Carmi points out, good ideas sometimes need their time and she learned to give them time to develop at their own pace. It can get frustrating, she admits, especially when you like to work with a certain pressure and focus on your goals. But sometimes you simply have to be patient.
In a way allowing yourself to get really inspired is also something we do at unu. Like Carmi we take the time to get things right, because we don’t see the point in rushing things. Quality needs dedication and time and not always a straight line. We believe that it’s always worth letting yourself be creatively challenged in what you do like Carmi does with her art. Creating spaces to think and to be creative is something very important to us and as Carmi perfectly explained it:
“It’s also kind of an art, to be able to give the things in life the room and space they need.”
Watch how Carmi is designing and transforming her unu electric scooter in the video below and see the full photo album of the day we’ve spent together with her here.
At unu we love working with great people who inspire us. Thanks to Carmi Grau who took the time to let us into her world, the lovely people from Studiolo in Kreuzberg who introduced and Josef Beyer and Constantin Rieß for producing this video.
Want to know more about unu or book a test drive? Head over to our website.