Posted 09 February 2022
Interview by N'Tanya Clarke

Visual arts duo Missohio on style, synergy and occasionally switching roles

Visual artists Maya Elsie and Dominic Martlew are two halves of creative duo Missohio. Having both studied photography, their journey to becoming a duo is no surprise, but there was a detour. Starting out in other industries – Maya in casting and Dominic in prop making – their approaches and strengths differed, but after a few years of working together, “we naturally take on roles and switch whenever we get stuck.” The duo’s creative synergy has since led them to produce extensive work in collage and photography, and even create their first music video for singer George Riley. With two upcoming short films, here, Missohio speak about their creative journey, finding a visual style and navigating social media.


Missohio (Maya Elsie and Dominic Martlew)

Job Title

Visual Artists



Selected Clients

SSENSE, Boy.Brother.Friend Magazine, Rachel Chinouriri

Previous Employment

Dominic: Prop Making, Setworks
Maya: Casting Assistant, Setworks

Place of study

Dominic: BA Photography and Film, Ravensbourne University London

Maya: Photography Diploma, City College Brighton (2013–2015)


Social Media


What we do

How would you describe what you do?
We are visual artists working in a few mediums; we do photo and collage work using digital and analogue cameras, as well as hand-cut and digital collaging. We are also directing and editing two short films to be released this year.

The main things we do on a day-to-day basis include: storyboarding ideas, testing out lighting set-ups, cutting out photos and experimenting for hours with the photos we have taken that week. We also research archival imagery, edit video footage, and apply for funding for projects. After a few years of working together we just naturally take on roles and switch whenever we get stuck.

“After a few years of working together we naturally take on different roles and switch over when we get stuck.”

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
Maya’s is [film director, screenwriter, producer and actor] Pedro Almodovar. Her mother had the Volver film poster on the shelves when she was younger, and now she loves all of his films; the acting, the thrill of the stories, as well as the Spanish clothing and interior style. She has a little obsession with finding new shades of her favourite colours. She is also inspired daily by her mother, sister and brothers’ artworks and having conversations with them about different topics.

Dominic’s inspiration is creating images that the viewer can be drawn into, by using multiple lighting techniques within the same composition. Currently he is inspired by pictorialism and the work of [photographers] Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris.

Competition, Baby Trixxx

TRIXXX, George Riley

What’s been your favourite project to work on, from the past year, and why?
TRIXXX, the video we made for George Riley [above] with Maya’s brother, Toby. We got involved later on in the process and it was really exciting bringing Toby’s figurative and colourful drawings and storyboard to life. We decided the roles we’d take a few days before shooting. Maya did the lighting, Dominic shot it and Toby directed, and then we all edited it together during a solid week of all-nighters.

Afterwards, we spent the next few weeks creating a series of collages with some of the photos we had taken on the shoot day. It was all-consuming in a great way; we love working with musicians.


Rachel Chinouriri Where Do I Go EP


Rachel Chinouriri Four Degrees in Winter


Prisoner Of Love


Wales Bonner X Adidas X SSENSE

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
Maya did a two-year photography diploma at City College in Brighton when she was 17, and she learned so much about the history of photography, how to use different cameras, along with all kinds of different lighting and printing techniques. She didn’t really use those skills until years later though.

Dominic worked at prop-making companies like SetWorks part-time, since he was a teenager – learning how to use many different materials in order to build things. He also studied photography and film at college and university but learned the most during his photography GCSE at school. The school even had a darkroom which is unusual. A really great teacher at any level can teach you the same skills you will learn at university

If you could sum up your job in a meme what would it be and why?
[Below] No explanation needed.

How we got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
We would say we are just starting out now. After university, we both wanted to go straight into filmmaking; Dominic was working long days prop making, and Maya was working as a casting assistant. We were both more interested in making our own stuff and slowly we realised that finding our own style through our imagery needed to happen first, and then it just propelled from there. When we eventually make a film we will have a clearer vision of exactly what we want to create.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
The biggest challenge is balancing long-term projects that are more meaningful and keeping up with the online world at the same time. We would love to spend a whole year just working on one project.

“We would love to spend a whole year just working on one project.”

Sun Valley Vista

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
Social media is very important for us right now, but we hope it won’t be in a few years when we have more of an art or film career. Our advice would be to support and promote other creatives that you admire as much as you possibly can, even offering to teach your skills to other artists and learning skills from them. Generosity feeds generosity.

Do you take on supplementary work to support your practice?
Yes, we have a part-time job creating, sourcing and editing imagery and video content for a literary organisation. We usually work for them for a few hours each day, and in the evenings we do our personal work.

How did you go about landing your first clients or commissions?
We were first approached via our website after starting to share more of our work online last year.


Bubble Collage, George Riley Trixxx


Postcards From George Riley Space

Our advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Focus clearly on your own individual path. Write out a five year plan (just a few key things you want to do) and then start working backwards. Include the things you will need to have completed every six months to get to the next stage, and then put it away in a drawer.

We did that and forgot about it until recently we realised we had ticked a few things off, which felt good. Working for other people means you have to keep reminding yourself to do more of the things you love.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
It took a lot of experimentation to get to where we are now, where we enjoy what we’re making. If you’re stuck just keep making slightly different versions of the same thing until something changes.

Once you have an inkling of the world you want to create, it becomes much more fun. Focus on the work you have made that you love, then share it and get some feedback. Figure out what you love about it.

Interview by N'Tanya Clarke