Interview - Camilla Engman & 2008 Calendar

I can remember the first time I ever visited Camilla Engman's blog, (a swedish artist rather well known with the online community and art world). I was taken with her folk style illustrations, collages and paintings, as is everyone I'm sure who has visited her site or seen her work in various galleries and stores around the world. It was back in 2005 when I first started reading blogs and not long after started up my own that I noticed her illustrations which rang a chord with me. Perhaps it was their familiarity of an old fairy tale long forgotten, her use of muted colors that had the feeling of an old comfortable sweater, or the stories that seemed to appear and how she leaves the interpretation open for us viewers. Whatever it was, it kept me coming back for more and a forever fan. I was so pleased when she agreed to an interview for Poppytalk this past summer and I am also pleased to introduce her new 2008 Calendar that is available at her online shop effective today! Here's the interview:

(Poppytalk): I love how you continue to experiment with your work and so easily share the process online. Can you explain the process that takes place for you once you feel the spark to create?

(Camilla Engman): To create is what I do, it's my life. It's hard to force oneself to create a specific thing on a specific day. Some days just cute things appear, another day it's all about shapes. And a third day paper and layers is the only thing on my mind. I try to work with, not against, those feelings. To make it easier for myself. Somedays there is nothing. That is a good day for finding inspiration in new places or to bake some bread.

(PT): You sometimes speak about the process or making your art as theraputic (for instance with your collection series - above image), and I was wondering if you're aware if you're making good art at the time or are you just doing it because you enjoy the process and the beauty is a result or by product?

(Camilla): I never think about doing good art. Who knows what that is? The result is the most important part, but the process is far more interesting! I'm creating things because I want to see what happens, on the way and in the end.

(PT): I love the idea of you using the bubble wrap as a background of your recent pieces (image below). I'm sure alot of us look up to your work for inspiration, could you explain where you draw your inspiration?

(Camilla): The bubble wrap was just laying on my desk and beside it there was a roller, it could only end up in one way :)
Where I look for inspiration depends on what I'm going to do. Maybe I'm the only one that sees it, but for me it is a big difference between making an illustration or a painting. And then there are things in between. Much of being inspired depends on courage to believe you can do it, to believe you can make something good. So that is what I start with. To find the spirit.

(PT): I'd like to hear who your favorite artists are (in whatever medium, be it art, music, photography)?

(Camilla): So I look at art/listen to music that makes me brave. I don't have any specific artist that I come cack to. They change as my mind and purpose changes, changes over the year and over my life. I'm looking for what I need right now. It can be a colour combination or a story, a shape or whatever. With the internet I can get my dose of pictures and inspiration so easily, it's just to surf around until you find what you need. Music is a good inspiration source and I actually have a favorite band - Radiohead. I think they are really good and inspiring, always striving to find something, to be better and more true.

(PT): I spoke at the beginning about your colour palette and the use of muted colors. I'm thinking I'm drawn to those colors a lot due to living in in the north and the familliarity it brings. How much is your choice of colors due to your nordic surroundings do you think?

(Camilla): I think the light here is very white. Something with it makes very bright, strong colours look ugly.

(PT): With your new 2008 Calendar, could you explain this collection and what it brings.

(Camilla): There's so many of my pictures that I like but that just disappear. I wanted to make something that felt like a closure and a "collection" of the past year.

(PT): What is in the future for you professionally? Can you give us an inside scoop where we'll be able find your work coming up this winter, any galleries, etc?

(Camilla): Third Drawer Down will have a new product, and in spring 2008 I will have a solo show at their Gallery. I think there will be one or more wallets at Poketo. Art Star will have some new prints. Reform School will have a print/poster for sale. I will have about 3 paintings at Appelgate Gallery, Santa Monica in February 2008. I will send some paperwork to Shelf in London. And I will try to get some time to make a new screenprint or two.

(below) Pillowcases from Third Drawer Down named, "Here I am Still Waiting" (screenprint and embroidery).

(PT): All that read your blog are aware of your sweet dog and I can't think this interview would be complete without asking a question about Morran. How much do you think Morran affects your creativity process?

(Camilla): Morran loves me no matter how ugly or bad things I make. She also keeps me away from working all day and all night. You can always say that you don't have time to your friends and family, but a dog is craving attention and long walks. She makes me a better, nicer and happier person.

(Poppytalk): Thanks so much Camilla for this interview! Your art, Morran and happy living inspires us all.

(Camilla): Thank YOU!

Camilla Engman's website
Camilla Engman's online shop
Camilla Engman's blog

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

morran makes me a better, nicer and happier person too! :) wonderful interview. x

Abigail A. Percy said...

So good, so true, so Camilla. I loved this :)

Anonymous said...

Fab interview, thanks. It's lovely to see Camilla getting the attention and recognition that she deserves, her work is so beautiful and haunting. We showed her art at the Here Gallery in Bristol last year and it's even more incredible in the flesh.

Anonymous said...

This is such an excellent interview! Inspires me to get more creative myself. Thank you!

arounna said...

I'm a big fan of Camilla's work and need to acquire more!- great interview Jan and thanks to Camilla for sharing her work.

lisa solomon said...

what a TREAT to read this. truly. thanks jan [great questions] and camilla [i will hear your answers ringing in my head for days i'm sure]

LĂșnula COV said...

A great interview. I`ve been followed Camilla for more than a year, it`s nice to have a different point of view about her. I think she`s so creative because she`s so connected with her emotions, with her life.
Congratulations for you both!!!

LĂșnula COV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
simplyolive said...

thanks for the interview.
i love camilla's work!
...morran is such a cute bonus, both on camilla's blog, and in your interview.

Anonymous said...

so lovely and inspiring to read this post

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic interview, thanks for your wonderful questions, and perfect inspiration from Camilla (she is one of a kind).

Francesca said...

lovely interview. very inspiring.