To give you a better idea of what the first issue of Dust Catcher is all about, we’ve compiled a few short excerpts from our interviews. If they’ve caught your fancy, you can purchase our magazine here. Enjoy!
I was the type of student that put my studio practice ahead of any other responsibility I had. Being in the studio making things was all I wanted to do. The academic stuff was important and fruitful, but I found being in the studio to be the most crucial thing to me.
During my MFA I found the rhyme and rhythm. What university did for me was giving me the time to figure out what type of work I was passionate about making and what type of artist I wanted to become. I saw a lot of other artists making conceptual, non-representational art and that was just not me.
My work is almost like a diary, with one page being a sculpture and a feeling for that day. If you just read a single page in a diary, you won’t get the person’s entire personality. But if you read the whole diary, you’ll start figuring out who this person is. And I feel like my work is working in a similar fashion.
Ever since I was a child, I have felt a special attraction to three-dimensional objects, handicraft and miniatures. I’d spend hours and hours playing with clay, building houses with paper and making my own dolls.
Making three-dimensional illustration was always natural to me, something I’ve always done. It’s been a matter of thinking about the roles of these sculptures, how I want to convey such roles, and also finding my own language.
We work on nearly everything together. We sketch together, work on the composition together and discuss the color schemes. Of course, at a certain point, the work is divided in separate tasks. However, the ideas and shapes always originate from our joint efforts. There are barely any projects we tackle individually, teamwork is highly beneficial for us. We can inspire and motivate each other. One of us can pick up and continue the other one’s line or train of thought. That way we come up with new ideas and constantly extend our visual language. Furthermore, taking decisions becomes faster as a duo, which facilitates the creative process. Two heads are simply better than one!
Have an understanding of the world of illustration and design, and find your way in it. There are a lot of players on the field: clients, competitors, fans; and you have to understand them all and yourself and be smart about how you operate as a professional within this world. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you, too. Act professionally. And most of all, do the work you love to do and enjoy your job. If you are enthusiastic and believe in what you do, other people will follow and want to be a part of this.
We are all born into a world full of social contracts. Obeying law is important if one is happy in his situation, but if one is born into a world where he feels disenfranchised, lesser, and other, this creates problems. I think compassion is breaking down today because people feel like outsiders, so apart from society. Today it feels like people are willing to go to extremes just to prove that they exist.
I’ve always had a strong affection towards wood, as tinkering at my workbench on new projects and planning new creations has been a labor of love for me since my childhood. Wood is just one of the most beautiful materials for me to work with, but I also try to choose the material for each project wisely to achieve the desired final product. Even now, as an adult, I just love to experiment and bring the things I imagine in my mind to life in three-dimensional form.
Back in the day, I took a lot of ideas from my dreams, in which I got eaten by monsters or received new toys that no one had ever seen before. I drew inspiration from my dreams because it felt like more of a natural and subconscious process, independent from other preferences or trends.
These days I no longer do it that way, I just take bits of clay and monsters come into existence. I don’t prepare any sketches or concepts, it’s purely improvised. Coming up with new ideas while working with clay results in raw, almost primitive shapes, which I think are a great fit for Kaiju toys. The same improvisational mentality goes for my color choices, too.
The Acne JR toys are very much products from this Scandinavian heritage. Simplicity and functionality are the most important thing to us when designing something. We really want our products to correspond with the Swedish toy tradition – Scandinavian materials and craft. That is why our main focus is wooden toys.
We have a lot of freelancers and small workshops working together with us. Over the years, we built a large network of crafters, from sculptors to woodshops to bronze casters… This was a long process of trial and error. As I’m very interested in new materials and ways to use them, we’re constantly searching for new craftsmen and workshops, too. After all this time, I’m starting to know the do’s and don’ts for certain materials, as it’s not an exact science. I’m always interested to know exactly how things work and are made, so I’m following the production process in detail and work closely with the craftspeople to fully understand how everything works and how the materials act and react. This process and knowledge is also shared with the artist who’s doing the edition, so we can give them some insight into what’s currently happening with his creation, in order to provide good feedback.