This? week? I? attended ?the Light? and? Architecture? symposium? at ?the? Kolding? School ?of? Design ?in ?Denmark. The event played ?host to? one of the forerunners in innovative Textile Design speaker ?Reiko? Sudo ?co? founder? and? director ?of? NUNO ?fabrics.??
The company have been granted numerous accolades and were recently given the Mainichi? Design? Award, viagra 100mg cure the Roscoe? Prize? and? the? Japanese? Interior? Designers’? Association? Design? Award.? The? talk? focused? on? NUNO‘s? last project?? designing? fabrics? for? the? Mandarin? Oriental? Hotel, side effects ? Tokyo.?
The? project? aim for the Mandarin Oriental was to convey? Japan’s? changing? seasons? and? is? inspired? by the natural elements? of? wood? and? water.? Reiko? explained how? they? applied? traditional? Japanese? handcraft? and fused it with unconventional? materials?. She? took? the? audience? on? a? beautiful? journey? of? Japanese? landscapes? through? the? forest? in? rainfall,? sunshine,? day? and? night.? All? elements? provide? inspiration? for? the? hotel’s? interior? design fabric?, from? the? root? and? texture? of? a? tree,? or? the? way? the? raindrops? bounce? from? leaf? to? leaf,? reflecting? rays? of? sunshine? across? the? forest? floor.? This? allowed? the? audience? to? visualise? the? source? of? inspiration? behind? each ?fabric? and? imagine ?the ?textural ?quality ?of? the ?cloth? without ?the? sense? of ?touch.?
After? introducing? her? inspirational? source for the fabrics, Reiko went on to? explain the methods of ?production.? For? example? to? recreate? the? beautiful? opalescent? sparkling rays? of? sunshine,? gold? embroidery? was? stitched? onto? transparent? fabric.
?The atmosphere? of? forest? at nightfall? was? created by? stitching? shiny? metallic? midnight? blue? against? ink? stained? handmade? paper.? This? extra? consideration? to? detail? brings? an ?experiential ?quality ?to ?the ?fabric ?emulating ?a? certain? ambiance.?
Reiko? was? a? truly? inspirational? speaker;? her? efforts? have? allowed? her? to? stay? true? to? Japanese? traditional? handcraft? whilst? experimenting? with? new? materials? to? create new? possibilities. ?This? visionary? approach? and? impeccable? attention? to? detail? project? an? original? yet honest? representation? of? Japanese ?culture.
Femke De Jong’s illustrations are multi-layered and intensively reworked collages, prostate they often explore the seemingly oppositional subjects of man and machine. She kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions and send us some lovely images to eyeball.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I am originally from the Netherlands and I lived in Amsterdam for about 10 years before I moved to Bristol 6 years ago. I come from a family of ‘makers’, especially my gran and my mum. I have always been interested in the visual arts, like all kids I spent a lot of time drawing and making ‘stuff’. I used to sit in the attic, reading old books, and especially loved the pictures in my dad’s science encyclopedias.
Also, I was kept back for a year in Kindergarten, the teachers there thought it would be good for me to play for another year.
How would you describe your work?
Surrealist collage, textural, playful, eclectic mishmash, a whiff of antiquety, whimsical.
What mediums do you use to create your illustrations?
A composition of drawings, collage (digital and hand-rendered) of elements and textures, layered up in the computer. I often scan hand-rendered drawings or textures in and work from thumbnails and ideas I make first. When inside the computer, I sometimes print out things again and then work into these prints. I try to keep that ‘organic’, hand-rendered feel in my work.
Collage is a strong element to your illustrations. What is it about using this technique that interests you?
Working with collage gives me a lot of freedom, to mix different elements and ideas, to get to a ‘concoction’. When I was little I wanted to be an inventor, and in a way I still ‘invent’ illustrations.
Would you say you have certain themes which you visit in your illustrations?
I have always been interested in science, and often include mechanical bits in my illustrations.
I sometimes use it as an metaphore to emphasize the ‘clunky’ relationship between man and machine, or eg. the human doesn’t take responsibility for his/her actions, and acts as if he/she is programmed to do so. Themes like science, and environmental issues interest me.
Do you think that the fact that you were raised in the Netherlands has affected your work in anyway?
I think my view is from a more ‘Dutch’ angle. I moved here about six years ago and even though I dream in English, Dutch normality is still present in the back of my head. Dutch sayings and expressions often pop up, and I find them visually stimulating. I think they drive a lot of the ideas in my work.
I really appreciate the British sense of humour for it’s absurd and macabre satire, like Monty Python and League of Gentlemen.
Is there a Dutch and an English illustration style?
The Dutch love their very bright colour palette, which is a little too bright for my liking. My colour palette seems to go towards more muted colours.
A lot of illustration in the Netherlands seems to me to be direct, conceptual and design led, and more minimalist whilst British illustration seems to be more romantic and eccentric.
In England, there is a big affection and tolerance of the eccentric, whilst in the Netherlands there is a saying: ‘Act normal, you’re mad enough as you are.’
How do you like living in Bristol? Have you ever considered living in london like many creatives do?
I live with my boyfriend in a fairly central bit of Bristol. Bristol is a lively student city, there are always plenty of things to do here, as well I know a lot of fellow-illustrators here, like the collective ‘Hot Soup’. I’m actually thinking about living more in the countryside than we do now, so London would be a step in the other direction. Eventhough London is a very good place to be for creatives, and I have concidered moving there in the past, I now use the internet to plug myself, and visit London once every month/two months.
What are you working on at the moment?
This week I am working on a book cover, an editorial and an image that will appear in the book Lucidity.
What inspires you?
Many things. I’ve been called too eclectic before, but when a friend went to Amsterdam with me, she said: “I understand now where you come from, this place is like one of your collages”. Amsterdam is a melting pot of many cultures, colourful, lively and noisy. There’s lots of nooks and crannies, like an old curiosity shop.
In Amsterdam there is an independence in attitude, and the freedom to be expressive. I love walking around antique shops and flea markets, to get a feel of the old times.
Who are your favourite artists?
The Russian Avant-Garde constructivists like El Lissitzky and Rodchenko for their composition. Henrik Drescher, for his independent style and Paul Slater, because of his absurd and surrealist humour. Also Svankmajer, for his nightmarishly unsettling surrealities. I love Eastern European animation the grimness and absurdity they find in everyday topics. The world around us is sometimes unsettling and by depicting the world in a surreal way and making fun of it, helps.
How long do you usually work on one image?
It depends. For an editorial I usually work on the ideas and the roughs for a couple of hours, and then a bit longer on the finished piece.
When there’s a deadline, things always get done. When I don’t have the deadline, I revisit work more and things can take longer.
Have you done any commissioned work?
I have done are a book cover for the Bristol short story prize, which they used for the front cover of their quarterly mag. A CD cover for Furthernoise and some editorials for Management Today and Resource.
What would your dream project be?
In this order: A cover for New Scientist, to design a range of book covers, a series of books for older children.
Any project where I get a lot of freedom, eg. by working with an art editor who isn’t afraid to take risks.
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