Nina’s Spreadshop Eden Lumaja is something very special: her designs are all about animal welfare. Get to know Nina and her vegan recipe for success.
When Nina is not working as a graphic designer for an e-commerce company in Düsseldorf, she devotes herself to animal protection. This topic is close to her heart and finds its expression in her disturbingly beautiful illustrations. She is so successful with Eden Lumaja that she’s been featured in the media.
Hi Nina! You call your illustrations “Vegan Art”. Is this a new art movement?
What I do could be described as a kind of art movement, because there are now more and more artists who deal with the subject of veganism in their work. Even though it’s of course not an “official” art movement, the term “vegan art” best describes what I do.
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When did you become vegan and why is that important to you?
In 2012 I completely changed my vegetarian diet to vegan – for the animals!
After I informed myself about the meat and dairy industry, I just couldn’t go on living as if I didn’t know anything. For me, the vegan way of life is the only logical choice if you want to put an end to animal suffering.
Soy milk, oat milk, almond milk – or black? How do you drink your coffee?
Preferably with soy milk. I’ll admit, I found it difficult to get used to soy milk at first. But I stuck to my convictions and today coffee with soy milk tastes really good to me 🙂 But I still don’t like cold coffee.
Your pictures are sometimes quite disturbing and at the same time very beautiful. Is this discrepancy intentional?
In a way it is. Unfortunately, the truth about animals is often disturbing: abuse in mass animal husbandry, animal experiments in the name of science, etc. are a harsh reality. Many people prefer to brush this topic under the rug.
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With my drawings, I try to enlighten people in a sensitive and yet direct way. For example, I have an illustration that shows a cute illustrated pig who is being sent to slaughter and a depiction of “Death” petting it. The caption in German translates to: “Every year billions of animals die – even Death feels sorry for them”. Even I find this design difficult to look at. But that is the intention behind it: My illustrations are supposed to make you think.
You always hear about vegans being insulted by other people for their beliefs. What about you, have you ever received negative comments about your Spreadshop?
I much prefer to talk about my own process—how I started to rethink my lifestyle and become interested in animal rights. When I talk about something, I always try to describe it as vividly as possible and explain why it moves me.
How did you come to draw pictures about animal rights?
The animal rights organisation PETA launched a design contest on Facebook in 2012. I spent the whole evening drawing a “Stop Animal Testing” illustration and submitted it. There were lots of great submissions – and I actually took second place! My design was then printed on shirts for the PETA shop. My first animal rights illustration was born.
❤Bekleidung, die Tieren eine Stimme gibt!❤15% auf ALLES!* Nur noch heute, 13. Oktober 2019Hier ist der Link zum…
How did you find Spreadshop and how do you like our Shop system?
After the PETA contest, a young woman wrote to me on Facebook and told me about you. I immediately set up a Spreadshop to give people the opportunity stand up for animals with my illustrations.
I am totally satisfied with the Shop system. But also with the concept of Spreadshirt itself! I always get help when I have a question. The employees are super friendly – and that’s what I hear from my customers, too 🙂
You organize your Shop with themes as well as with the design view. This gives a great overview of what you have on offer! What tricks would you recommend to Shop newbies?
Start creating themes immediately and don’t wait until you have more than 150 designs in your Shop! I speak from experience 😉
Also, determine a sequence for the products and keep this for each theme. This results in a great overall picture.
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You have almost 12,000 followers on Facebook and your Instagram posts get between 200 – 800 Likes! How do you do it?
I think it’s because of the topics I’m dealing with. Everyone has an opinion about these issues, and the treatment of animals is so important to so many people.
You’ve also caused a bit of buzz in the media with your designs. How did you go about getting in touch with journalists?
Fortunately for me, all the journalists who’ve wanted to feature me have approached me so far. You should have seen my face when I got the e-mail from “Animals Seeking Homes” with the message that they wanted to film a little report about me.
We would definitely have liked to see that face! For our readers: The article about Nina and her Shop Eden Lumaja is available in German in the WDR Mediathek.
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Back to the animals, Nina. You have an illustration about urban animals like rats and pigeons, and repeatedly draw attention to the fact that pigs are just as lovable as dogs. How do people respond to these ideas? Can they understand your arguments?
Admittedly, I was very surprised at the positive feedback about the urban animals. I usually only hear negative things about these animals, like complaints that they make cities dirty and transmit diseases.
The comparison between dogs and pigs is something most people can understand on some level: Petting one, eating the other – that is somehow strange and dissonant. It’s a bit of a typical “vegetarian” topic. But when it comes to purely “vegan” topics, things are different. People are usually a bit more restrained – but I don’t think that’s a bad thing either! In the beginning, I only slowly made my way into veganism. First I informed myself, then cooked vegan a few times and finally everything took its course. It didn’t happen all at once.
Some people jump on the vegan train all of a sudden and stick with it forever, others need more time to make changes. For others, a vegan diet is out of the question. What’s important to me is that people think about the topic at all. There are many things that the meat and dairy industries cover up and hide from consumers. And that really cannot continue!
How long have you actually been running your Spreadshop now? What have been some of the nicest moments with it so far?
I have been running Eden Lumaja for almost 7 years now. After a while, I started to get people sending me photos of them wearing my shirts, which is really nice. But when I see people on the street wearing my shirts, I am flattered every time – that makes me really happy.
You have three cats at home. Any plans for a dog in the future?
My cats are really expensive, but they haven’t driven me to the poor house yet. I would also totally love to adopt a dog. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to properly look after a dog at the moment. However, as soon as the opportunity arises, I would love to adopt one from an animal shelter or rescue organization!
Thanks to Nina for taking the time to interview with us!