An Interview with Silje Marie Kristiansen [Pt. 2]

Lemonade Magazine: Let’s get back to looking at some more of your work. You have a number of projects that are inspired by music as you mentioned, what is it about music that inspires you to create? 

Silje Marie Kristiansen: It’s a great excuse to listen to loads of music, read lyrics, watch music videos or go to concerts because you can justify it as research. No, really it just brings out passion. There’s so much to grab a hold of and be inspired by. The rhythm, mood, beats, the emotions it brings out, the content of the lyrics. I just love it.

LM: If you could create your own dream project, what would it be?

SMK: I could probably create about a hundred dream projects. I probably will, while waiting for someone to throw enough commissions at me. At the moment I think it would have to be a series of portraits of both humans, some famous, some not, and animals. I would then like to mix some of them in a sort metamorphosis style, add in elements to create surrealism, abstract shapes and textures and use different media wherever suited. I’d love to interpret someone through their creations and visualize them with elements that I feel represent them well. Portraits have always been my favourite, and an exploration of that would be dreamy.

LM: So, now we know what your dream project would be, Let’s get back to some of the work that you have already produced. We are big fans of Sigur Ros and your “Heima” poster design captures the essence of their music perfectly, Tell us about the design process for that, what inspired you and how you arrived at the final outcome.

SMK: With the Heima poster I wanted to show the beautiful and relaxed mood of the film and also try and create a visual interpretation of the music. I landed on a concept of jellyfish because I think there are a lot of similarities between them and Sigur Ros’ music. I found inspiration in the colours and atmosphere in the film, as well as their music. I think I only did one sketch of it, and spent more time on the artwork, rather than trying other approaches. In the documentary, the band returns home to Iceland, to play music live, and that’s what the roots on the poster represents, and then the music, the jellyfish, grow out of these roots. Sigur Ros’ music is sung in a made up language, Hopelandic, so there’s nothing intelligent to read from the songs, it is all about the sound and melody, where the voice is another instrument. I think it’s the same way with jellyfish, they don’t have a brain, and they float around and are extremely aesthetically beautiful to watch.

LM: Your editorial design for the Icelandic musician Björk is another example of your musical inspiration but also shows another side to your work. Editorial design is notoriously hard to get right but you really managed to capture the essence of her music in this piece, what inspired you to create this piece?

SMK: The Björk editorial was a university project, where I decided I wanted to do an editorial to explore that side of illustration. I’m really amazed by Björk, I think she is one of the most interesting people ever, both visually and musically, and she was the inspiration behind this. The article is about her new album at the time, Medulla, which is an all a cappella album, so I wanted to focus on her voice. I represented it with strings that are ongoing through the pages; as well I included two portraits of her. In one of them I placed a bird on her neck, which is symbolic of her vocal cords, and in the other I combined her with the Icelandic arctic fox, as a response to her statement in the article about feeling close to nature.

LM: If you had to choose one piece of your work that you think defines your style or approach to art, which one would it be and why?

SMK: I think it would have to be the self-promotional project of the album sleeve art for the Norwegian artist, Rockettothesky. I’ve included the elements I prefer to communicate through, portraits and animals, with a minimal colour palette, a realistic visual approach, and a bit of an absurd twist. I like presenting beautiful things in an abnormal setting, where people can make interpretations, and to some extent I guess that could define my approach to art.

LM: This has been a wonderfully insightful interview and as we draw to a close, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring artists?

SMK: Just keep badgering people with your portfolio, and not worry about not getting replies or being turned down. Look for inspiration and keep doing loads of work, even if it’s just for personal appreciation.

LM: And finally, what can we expect from you in the future and is there anywhere you would like your work to take?

SMK: I don’t even know what to expect. But I do hope it goes everywhere. I want it to grow and develop, try new styles and different contexts. I hope I get to do some work for musical projects, but this early in my career and artistically I’m completely open and want to try everything.

 

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