Based in Copenhagen, Mads Berg is widely known for his modern art deco style and vintage graphics. His main fields of illustration are posters, brand illustrations, key visuals, editorial illustrations, cover art and murals. The illustrations are characterized by a style which translates classic poster art into a modern and timeless look. His pared back environments provide an elegant simplicity that delivers a concise narrative message. Mads has been working as an illustrator and designer since 2001 and has collaborated with numerous multinational clients such as Coca Cola, Orangina, San Diego Zoo, Lego, Monocle and Wired.
Mads graduated from the Danish Design School in 2001, and since then, he has been working independently as an illustrator. Occasionally working as a lecturer at design schools. Several times member of the jury, awarding the best in Swedish and Norwegian Contemporary Illustration.
In 2010 he won the "Best Danish Children's Comic" prize and in 2009 he won the Danish Design Prize.
Mads' poster art is represented at the Danish National Design Archives at the Design Museum.Mads also designs park maps for world famous amusement parks.See his work here: www.visualmaps.dkExhibitions:
Nordic Children's Books Illustrations (IBBY):
Copenhagen Town Hall, Denmark, 2008
On The Draw:
Madrid, Spain 2014
London, UK 2014
Torino, Italy 2014
Mads Berg (solo exhibition):
Montreal, Canada, 2015
New Nordic Fashion Illustrations:
Tallin, Estonia, 2015
Tbilisi, Georgia, 2015
Dansk Design Nu:
Design Museum Danmark, Denmark, 2015
Former given interviews:
# Where and when were you born?
Odense, Denmark. August 11th 1975
# What are you personal interests and what inspires you?
Except for everyday's fulfilling challenges like keeping up a big family, maintaining the house and long distance running.
I repeatedly find visual inspiration on old time's masters like Caravaggio and Georges de la Tour, and more recent superstars like Juan Gris and Georges Braque.
My color input is found in diverse places like a surprising colour combination on the dinner plate, or my son's -always and only- symmetrical drawings, or clouds' formations in the sky.
Study of the human body happens when bicycling in Copenhagen, and watching other bicyclists, how they appear both alert and at ease at the same time.
Graceful and intense.
# What about your educational past?
Danish School of Design. I've been af freelancer since 2001.
# What is your preferred style / technique of work?
Pencil (HB or 2B) sketching for getting the image's composition in place, then playing around with color and textures in the computer.
# What sets you apart from other illustrators?
Others will have to answer this. All I know is, I have obtained the privilege to allow myself to put many hours of work into every single artwork,
and to search for beauty, balance, -and the strange 3rd ingredient - the eye disturbing counterpart- for many days in one illustration.
# Do you have any preferred clients or areas of design (why?)
Poster work, and mural decoration. Clients who trust my style, but set me free in execution are the best ones.
# Have you received awards or held exhibitions?
Danish Design Award, Best Danish Children's Comic. Representation in Danish Arts and Crafts Museum.
# What is your definition of a "good" illustration?
One that pleases the eye at a first glimpse, but still rewards the patient investigation.
# Your philosophy / motto?
What is fun making, is fun looking at.
# Which project would you like to realise? (your "dream project")
# Information about future projects or independent, non-commercial work?
A clothing company (Norse Projects) and a small record label (Boogie Post Records) have gives me opportunities to explore a new abstract way of making images,
which I intend to persue in the future.
# Why and when did you start making art?
Still hoping it will happen soon ;) I see myself more as a craftsman
# What kind of art do you make?
I try to extract the most beautiful traces of my motives and skip all
other. Everything is attractive from at least one angle.
# Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I do not search for inspiration, I rather filter my visual intake.
# What does your usual workday look like?
attack - doubt - reattack - reward - coffee
# How do you spend a perfect sunday?
doing things slowly
# What is your favourite taste of chocolate?
Dark chocolate with a hint of chili.
# If you could have coffee with a famous artist – dead or alive – whom would you choose?
Georges de la Tour (1593-1652)
# What is your philosophy of life?
Do your best!
# What first attracted you to the art of design and creating artwork?
My mother is a textile designer, and my father was a painter, so art and design has always been an important part of life.
# When and why did you decide to take your passion to the next level and become an entrepreneur?
Being able to make a living as an illustrator, has always been my goal.
The entrepreneurship is just part of the business, to maintain the quality of the known stuff, and to explore new fields of illustration.
# Was there anyone you looked up to? If so who and why?
My first heroes were the Baroque masters such as Caravaggio and Georges de la Tour.
I admired their skills, and their approach to contrast and colours.
# What is the nature of your Artwork? What kind of Art do you create and what mediums do you use? Briefly describe.
I mainly do posters, and brand visuals. My technique is pencil sketching, and colouring up with computer software, such as Adobe Illustrator.
# Why do you feel that Art and Design are important?
Design is not important in itself, I believe, but it is important do to the best you can when designing,
then there is chance people will appreciate it and the art will make their day.
# What message are you trying to send out to your clients, followers and audience?
My work is an exploration of balance and colours. I strive to make the perfect image and perfect composition every time.
# What makes your Style, Design & Artwork unique?
Those of my images that are made without compromising the original idea too much hopefully become unique in the sense that we are all unique,
and our most successful expressions reflect that.
# What inspires your creative expression, drive and hard work? What inspires you?
The urge to raise the bar in every image. Inspiration comes naturally when living and working among other creatives and non creatives,
being part of a big city milieu, I do not feel it necessary to seek inspiration actively.
# As an entrepreneur, what challenges or obstacles did you come across and how did you overcome them?
The most common challenge is to extend and evolve my visual language, when most of my working hours are spent doing illustration the way I usually do, and that clients know works.
# What are your greatest accomplishments or proudest moments in your entrepreneurial journey thus far?
I was very proud when I had the opportunity last summer to bring my wife and 3 kids with me on a job on the Canaries Islands.
I could sit on the most spectacular scenery and make sketches together with my kids. That way my worlds merged beautifully.
# What is presently going on in your career that you would like to mention? Anything you are presently working on or just finished working on?
I recently did a large mural piece for a Danish IT company, and after that a series of murals for a restaurant in Minneapolis.
I am very fond of this field of illustration, and would like to do more of this.
# What is the main goal you are trying to accomplish?
My goal is somehow to stay motivated for producing images every day, and never to feel too 'a home free'
# What wise advice can you give young up-and-coming entrepreneurs in your field?
Put on a nice podcast, and make at least 3 images a day. I do not hink there is any shortcut to achieving skills.
Have fun and be productive. Show your works, share a lot, expose yourself to feedback.
Take advantage of the internet's possibility for endless exposure.
# What can we expect from you in the near future?
I intend to explore new ways of illustrating landscapes and backgrounds.
I will try to gain a new level of detail in my posters, while still maintaining the overall simplicity.
Other questions and answers:
# Who are your most interesting clients?
The ones who have confidence in my work, and give me as much freedom creatively as possible.
# How would you sum up your style?
I try to introduce a unique visual language that translates classic and art deco poster art into a modern look.
Graphical simplification and much attention to curves and lines in the image is important for me.
# What do you enjoy most about your work?
Being my own motivator and police man.
# Do you keep a sketchbook to develop ideas in between projects?
I often keep my sketches or prints of my visuals in progress in my pocket for days to view it once in a while, and to let it mature over time.
# What do you think defines a classic piece of art or illustration?
A classic piece of art is for me an image that by a first glance is truly perfect and strikingly beautiful,
but when investigating further has some really weird or surprising elements to it.
This makes an image forever fascinating. Perfection in itself is a dead thing after a short while, I believe.
Holbein’s ’The Ambassadors’ is a classic example.
# How do you tackle a brief?
I try to regard briefs as guidelines or a wish list from the client, more than a tight order, thus I can maneuvre more freely, and do it my own way.
But it is always exciting to open a new brief, like “we have a mission for you”.
# What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I hope to be able to continue working together with nice people on nice projects.
The personal contact is important for me, whenever possible.
Also I like to maintain the diversity in my commissions, from iconic to complex.