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Artists of Settlement Co.

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

Art Murmur interviewed three of the many creative minds behind the artscape of Settlement Co. cafés.

MARIA MYLENKA (aka Moonolog)

Monster doodler & mural artist Moonolog, known for her contributions to the Kitchener Settlement Co. and Abe Erb artscapes, reveals her inspirations & challenges:

How do you come up with your designs? Who or what inspires them? In other words, what is your muse?

It might seem made-up, but it is true and I can't help it - the way I usually come up with ideas for my illustrations: I just start a line, letting it take whatever shape it wants, then I see what it might become and I draw “around it”. I presumed recently that initially (on subconscious level perhaps) my inspiration was coming from cartoons and books illustrations I'd watch or read as a kid. There are moments when I can find motives in almost anything: different surfaces, like rust metal or paint, fibres of the carpet, scratches etc. But in the end, I feel like most of the time my works are still “drawing themselves.”


Help us picture your life as an artist. What is your daily routine like?

The most productive period for me is a couple of hours after a good coffee with milk in a crowded coffee shop. I also love walking a lot, and listening to books, when I have time to, which is also one of my idea and inspiration sources. Sometimes, when I get tired of everything, or, have to confess, when I have too many things to do, I just start drawing. That's my idea of procrastination, in a way.

Besides creating art, what are some of your other hobbies & interests?

Certainly, besides illustration, my major interest is architecture. I'm still trying to hold on to my old hobbies - guitar, yoga etc. I am in progress of making an online store. Books are indisputably my love. Other than that I'm always looking for different creative opportunities. Some time ago, for instance, I was lucky to be volunteering during a biennial in Kiev and met some cool, experienced artists, helping some of them with their projects.

What was your favourite part about making the Settlement Co. mural? What were the challenges?

The best part about making the Settlement Co. mural for me was probably the foretaste of the mural getting finished and be soon seen, and exposed to “judgement” of all the future visitors. It is an incredible feeling.

However, at the same time, this very rewarding sensation comes with an overwhelming creature called responsibility. When you understand that it's you and no one else in charge of what you are doing, and it is you who can make it great, bad or mediocre, meet expectations, fail to meet them, or exceed them.

(Also, the ladder was a bit of a challenge too, haha.)


Maria's work also blesses a hallway at Abe Erb brewery-eatery in downtown Kitchener.

Maria Mylenka currently resides between her home town of Kyiv, Ukraine & Waterloo, Canada, where she studies architecture.

How to contact:

Maria Mylenka on Facebook

Instagram: @moonolog




Currently based in Toronto, Ontario as a full-time illustrator, Katherine Diemert sheds some light on the art she contributed to Settlement Co.

How do you come up with your designs? Who or what inspires them?

I’m really attracted to surreal imagery– I love it when an everyday, recognizable object or scene is subtly twisted into something fantastical. So sometimes I’ll see a image in a movie that resonates with me that shows up later in my work, and other times I’ll actually stumble across something surreal in real life.

Right now I’m trying to get back to the basics of drawing and painting, so a lot of my more recent work explores the natural beauty of paint and ink.

To help us picture your life as an artist, can you tell us what your daily routine is like?

Currently I work at Sago Mini making illustrations for kids apps, so the majority of my time there is spent on the computer in Adobe Illustrator, or going over artwork with the Art Director there. But I try to make time in the evening for my own creative practise. It’s not very romantic– usually this means sitting down at my desk in front of a blank page. But usually if I give myself the time and experiment with materials, something interesting results.

What were the highlights of working with Settlement Co. to print your art on their tables?

I was really excited to work with the Kitchener-based design studio Him & Her, who were absolutely lovely. It was my first time working on a project that would be reproduced in such a large format, which was a challenge– especially considering the original artwork was on a letter-sized sheet of paper. The actual artwork was made during my last term as a student, so it was particularly gratifying and validating to see it go up on the wall.

Besides creating art, what are some of your other hobbies & interests?

Right now I’m learning how to make electronic music! I’ve played piano for years, but never really tried making any of my own music. It’s exciting to try to make something without much knowledge or expectations about the finished product.

Diemert grew up in Dundas, a small town just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. She attended Sheridan College in Oakville, during which time a work placement brought her to Waterloo for the first time. A sure blessing for Waterloo residents who enjoy taking their coffee with a slice of art.

How to contact:

Instagram: @theknoodle



Kitchener-born student of architecture Cam Parkin tells us about the creativity invested into the artistic installations at Settlement Co. & Abe Erb downtown:

What motivated you to pursue a study of architecture?

I was drawn to architecture because of the power I felt a well designed space could have on its occupants. It's a bit cliché, but I also had strong interest in visual art and sculpture, as well as in physics and math, and these two ways of thinking are married well in architecture.

How does your work differ from other designers?

In the case of my work at Settlement, I believe it differs form other designers in process. Through my training in architectural software I've learned to coordinate large numbers of elements within a project.

This let me quickly develop tools for arranging and installing over one thousand nails. I think the use of building materials including nails and greenery also comes form my work in the field of architecture.

What was your favourite part about creating the Settlement Co. installation? What were the challenges?

I think my favourite part of the installation is the depth of the nails. I think it really brings the piece to life when you move around it a view it from different angles. The moss by Greenteriors is also fantastic. Honestly, the most difficult part of the process was painting the nails. Fully coating them all without having them rub against each other took a while to figure out and was super messy.

Besides art and design, what are some of your other hobbies & interests?

I love to get out of the city and mountain bike and snowboard. Something about the speed and outdoors, I guess. It's nice to blow off some steam and to get some fresh air.

Cam's leafy-patterned architectural installation serves as a unique space divider to the open-concept Abe Erb pub on Victoria St in Kitchener.

Parkin is well-travelled, having spent work terms in Vancouver, Amsterdam, Rome, and New York. He currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, and attends school in nearby Cambridge.

How to contact:

Cameron Parkin, BAS (Hons) - M. Arch Candidate

University of Waterloo

(519) 575-0578

Past work: Issuu

Instagram: @cam.parkin

For a full story on how the Settlement Co. artscape came together, click here.


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