# Your Illustrations are one of the kind in Scandinavian countries. And many people think your illustration is unique and special that fusion past and the future. What is your ‘design theme?’ I want to hear what kind of factors, thoughts made your outstanding style:
I like to take inspiration in art from all ages, classic paintings (mostly baroque and renaissance), modernist style experiments (cubism, fauvism), and brand-new art currents. I am proud and very aware of staying on shoulders of past time masters, but I find it even more rewarding to bring it into a new context, my own mix of well trotted paths and new surprising trails.
# When and why did you start illustration? I want to hear more about your ‘design history’?
Since a child I have been illustrating and painting. And like any other design student I originally tried to master painting techniques, water painting, oil painting, over charcoal sketching, croquis studies to old school air brushing and letraset collaging. Eventually then seeking to escape from the techniques dictating the look of the artworks, to make the illustrations stand alone, no matter the techniques or the method of execution.
# Please tell us about your working space’s atmosphere where your beautiful illustrations are created. (More about ‘space’ / Studio location / Inspirational interior etc.)
I share a studio with 10 other illustrators in central Copenhagen. Some of us have been sitting together for nearly 20 years. My room is decorated with wood trunk and trees and plants. A super nice atmosphere for working and sharing ideas and everyday issues.
# ‘Scandinavian design’ is becoming global hot trend these days. When I imagine ‘Scandinavian design’, the images like ‘calm, static and neutral color’ come to my mind. What is ’Scandinavian design’ or ‘Nordic design’ for you?
(In the view of a illustrator)
Scandinavian design is for me the boldness of simplicity. It is to dare using only a few elements/colors/lines in a composition. The challenge is, however, to avoid getting boring or vague output. That is where we insert humor and surrealism.
# Where do you get inspirations? Do you have any special & secret methods?
I do not seek inspiration actively; it comes by itself naturally when living in a big city and taking part in the entertainment culture. it is rather a matter of filtering the visual input that you receive during day.
# What is your most memorable or favorite project among your projects? (Memorable clients, favorite works etc.)
My first poster series for a local operetta group was a kick-starting opportunity for me to the poster media through many consecutive years. Many large companies, like Orangina, Virgin, Coca-Cola, etc. have all showed me lots of confidence, which makes it easier and more fun to perform. Currently helping a young rock group build their visual identity, which is very rewarding, as I can see this makes a big difference to their start up. I feel tremendous gratitude to all clients and collaborators.
# I heard you are working as a Lecturer in the Danish design school. Please tell me your roll in design school and what is your opinion about Danish design education? (Education years, primary goals of education, atmosphere)
When lecturing I try to be totally transparent when describing my working process, the budget negotiation, and the client handling. I feel obliged to show and discuss both projects that I am really proud of as well as those that fucked up.
# I’m sure that some of Korean companies will hope to co-work with you. And I want to hear your process to understand & communication with clients and finding proper design theme for their concepts. (Overall co-work design process)
The design process must be a dialogue. That being said, I intentionally take over the process and rule the design phase when I am sure the client has equipped me well with desired input and briefing. Also, I feel obliged to advise against building too many visual ingredients into the artwork, in order to guarantee a beautiful and well-balanced result. The design process has to be a dialogue. That being said, I intentionally take over the process and rule the design phase when I am sure the client has equipped me well with desired input and briefing. Also, I feel obliged to advise against building too many visual ingredients into the artwork, in order to guarantee a beautiful and well balanced result. I will be looking forward to servicing Korean clients in the future.
# What is your future plan?
I love what I do. I hope to be able to maintain my working life for as long as possible. In order to keep up motivation and the joy of making, it is, however, important to schedule in recreation phases in my everyday life. Thus, I have caring wife and three children to look after, as well as sporting my running and tennis addiction. Kayaking to work through the Copenhagen canals also make a great mental break in the week.
# 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 actually.
# 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.