Monday, April 27, 2015

Drawn to Art that Evokes Emotions - Artist Monika Forsberg

There are 19 days left before Surtex and most exhibiting artists are preparing their last collections and hoping to have everything done in time.

This week I am pleased to feature artist Monika Forsberg, represented by Jennifer Nelson Artists, who will also attend the show this May.

Monika is a mom to 2 boys living in London but is originally from the north of Sweden. "I always loved drawing and making things. I worked as a photographer, illustrator, animator, writer and artist over the past 20 years and in-between worked in bars and cafes as well as tutoring at a university and being a mum. Right now I'm working full time as an illustrator," she shares.

She is drawn to art that evokes emotions. "Being a Swede I tend to favour melancholy and sadness inducing feelings, the dark side of the moon...but having lived half my life in the UK I also love things that makes me laugh, the silliness of things and the jolly oopsy daisy idiosyncratic mentality of the Brits."

© Monika Forsberg
I then asked:

THE MAIN INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK: I am curious by nature, I love listening to stories and making stories up and I love escaping into my own head. Drawing is like making your own low budget version of life with some extravagant insane seasonings of fantasy. I think my inspiration comes from all aspects of everyday life.

THREE (or less) KEY NOTES ON ART & LICENSING: I do a lot of commission work and when working on briefs a lot of the time I find that I sometimes have time and space to do some of my own work that then will be licensed. It's about experimenting and rejuvenating and indulging myself and letting go of a "this will sell..." mentality.

© Monika Forsberg
It may not be profitable in the short term but I found long term it's a very good approach. Do what you love. I don't love churning out a thousand florals that look the same - in fact that's why I moved away from animation, to have more freedom. Even if all those florals would license immediately, I would be so fed up drawing them that I'd have to take 6 months off and become a ski instructor or something instead for awhile.

I found the work I license the most are the quirky "weird" stuff that I had a great time doing and the stuff I made trying to follow the guidelines on how to find a recipe for licensing success are so watered down and drab that no one wants to touch it. So, stick to your guns. Be yourself. Have fun. But also be open to see how to make your work more exciting by watching, learning ,and experimenting.

WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE, I.E. YOUR PASSION: My kids, the beaches of my hometown, hotels, my boyfriend, drawing, laughing, sleeping, swimming. Not necessarily in that order. And coffee. And watermelon. And going to the cinema. Daydreaming.

© Monika Forsberg
WHAT YOU DON'T REALLY LIKE: Money grabbing mentality, Skype and un-kindness.

A FAVORITE SOMETHING: My friend Danny, a comic book author and I have been going winter swimming for the past 4 years and it's the best. You get a thrill from the icy, near freezing water and she is the best of company. You feel alive and all troubles dissipate with that combination of things. So all of you, find a Danny girl, a freezing cold lake, jump in and you will feel great!

A MEMORABLE EVENT IN YOUR LIFE: Going to the BAFTA's was very memorable. I was nominated for best short film and I took my friend Danny (the comic book artist) along. We got all glammed up by professional make up artists and walked on the red carpets with film stars and celebrities and drank too much tequila and then we took the night bus home because we were too frugal to get a taxi. I loved that. To belong to all and everything and nothing. By the way, I didn't win the BAFTA but that wasn't really that important.

© Monika Forsberg
A FUN MEMORY: Going to the Clermont-Ferrand film festival with my eldest son who was only 4 at the time. We stayed in a hotel, played pin ball in cafes, watched loads of films and ate chips with mayonnaise. And it was raging winter and we'd come there in our summer clothes. It was cold. It was great fun.

YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD AS AN ARTIST: The lines are often blurred as an artists. I donate art for charity auctions and give up time for volunteering and give advice to people needing something they think I can give. I've learnt over the years that you have to sometimes just say no. Just because I work from home and manage my own time I do need time to work and my family is my main priority.

© Monika Forsberg
THE NEXT CHAPTER IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE: I will be exhibiting at Surtex with the Cloverly Art Collective in May and that'll be exciting. I'm working on some new products for the beautiful people of eeBoo which is very fun and not much like a "proper job." I really want to do more book work and so am playing about with some ideas. I also have ideas for larger scale pictures - we live in London where space is sparse so my work is very tiny to fit into little boxes and to not take up too much space. I think I need to do an exhibition to justify making LARGE pictures.!

A HELPFUL TIP TO OTHER ARTISTS: When drawing observe carefully and draw fast.

© Monika Forsberg

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