Saturday, November 4, 2006
MODERN RETRO GIRL
If you've been reading the design blogs lately, you've probably seen photos of the wonderful new home line called Isak, launched by Sandra Isaksson, a Swedish artist living in the UK--(Lincolnshire to be exact, and moving to Brighton soon). I'm so happy to share a little interview I just had with Sandra.
Although my realm is fashion, I really believe that all design is related and connected--good design is good design--whether it's on a card, a chair, a cushion, a towel, plate, or dress. I've never understood why design blogs can talk about tea towels and paper design to no end, and even touch on art and jewelry, but draw the line at fashion.
one of Sandra's illustrations that caught my eye--love the Eames rendering!
To me it doesn't make a lot of sense. The most fashionable people I know love Domino more than Vogue and are crazy about food magazines & blogs. Someday I hope more people will come around to the idea that style is about how you live your life, not just about how you dress, and that fashion is in furniture, coffee mugs, blankets, rugs, and stamps--to quote Coco Chanel: "fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
This is one reason I think Sandra's work is so interesting. Not only does she have a beautiful new home line, but she also has a wonderful portfolio of print & pattern, illustration, photography, and she's nuts about designing stamps (yes, stamps!)
mj: How would you describe your style?
sandra: My own style, well, I am a contemporary retro girl, if that makes sense? I love patterns, 50s, 60s and 70s cuts, bold colors. I love my classic cut coats, lovely high heel boots 70s style...A black suit...Nice dresses...over the knee skirts. Lots and lots of shoes and handbags. In my everyday life I go for jeans and a t-shirt, pink "Crocs" and a wooly jumper.
mj: Besides illustration I see that you do graphic design and photography. How did you start out, which is your greatest love?
sandra: I was always painting and drawing as a little girl and knew very early on that I wanted to be a graphic designer. Well, for a few years I thought I wanted to be an oil and watercolor artist but graphic design and illustration are my true passions. Photography is more of a hobby and a helpful tool in my work, extra memory, if you like.
mj: What is your favorite project that you've designed so far?
sandra: I really enjoyed doing some illustrations for UK supermarket chain Waitrose. They have this great project called the Food Pod--they run cooking workshops for small children and teach them about healthy food. They have this great big bus that they drive around the country with a kitchen inside where they invite a whole class of young kids for a cooking class. I did all the illustrations for this project, posters, recipe cards, merchandise. It is going very well, the kids love it and Waitrose has commissioned some more work from me. It is very pleasing working for a good cause, promoting healthy eating for kids.
mj: Who are your influences and how did you develop your style?
sandra: There is a great graphic designer that I love, his name is Olle Eksell. He's in his 8o's now and has done some great book and packaging design. I like the retro style...I like the 50s, 60s and the 70s. Fashion design, furniture design, interior design... and I guess I mix those influences with a very modern, contemporary style. Clean, sleek, crisp...Growing up in Sweden has influenced me and I think one thing just leads to another. You have to continue developing, moving forward, learning new skills and improving. Traveling, new cultures, new scenery, new people, new languages inspire me. I think my style is just the result of all the things I take in, my brain processing that information and spitting something else out--my interpretation of the world. (Or how I think it should be.)
mj: Do you have new projects that you're working on?
sandra: I am very busy with my company Isak at the moment, designing the new range of products and working on the wallpaper range we are going to have. And I have some interesting design commissions too that I can't wait to get started on!
mj: What would your ideal project be?
sandra: I would love to design stamps! Quite a challenge to fit a message and the factual information on that small a space!
In this stamp series, Sandra wanted to address the fact that AIDS/HIV warnings have almost stopped in Scandinavia
Although Sandra hasn't landed a stamp design commission yet, I have no doubt she will. Her post graduate project was an attempt to take stamps to another level of responsibility and address isues such as HIV/AIDS, terrorism, freedom, human rights, and global warming.
Here are a few THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT SANDRA ISAKSSON:
A) THE FOUR MOST STYLISH PEOPLE THAT INFLUENCED ME:
1 Well, my mum has always been interested in fashion so I think I picked that up from her.
2 I used to adore Isabella Rosselini when I was younger.
B) FOUR WAYS THAT STYLE MAKES THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
1 It is underrated how much a nice, pretty, clean and harmonious surrounding influences us in a positive way. Makes us work better. Sleep better. Relax better. Entertain better. Cook better. Love better.
2 I think style is underdeveloped in many of us. It's often brushed off as being something very expensive and too posh-- which it doesn't have to be. Style to me is about clean lines, well balanced shapes, textures and colors and that applies to anything!
3 Decorating my home in my style makes me enjoy and take pride in my home more. It makes me really look forward to coming home and that makes me happier. Hopefully I have an extra smile to offer grumpy people on the train after a long day because I have a stylish and welcoming happy home to come back to!
C) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS
1 Orla Kiely
2 Tove Cristensen, went to Uni with her and she now works for H&M
3 Ivana Helsinki
D) FOUR JOBS I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE:
1 Substitute teacher
2 Bartender in a wild greek bar one summer long time ago....
3 Used to be a useless waitress dropping glasses, forgetting orders
4 Care worker for the elderly
E) FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER (AND DO):
1 I am not keen on watching movies or read books over and over... But suppose I do watch a lot of Pingu with my son.
2 There has also been a lot of Bambi...
3 Saltkrakan, Swedish Astrid Lindgren film.
4 Emil i Lanneberga, Swedish Astrid Lindgren film.
F) FOUR PLACES WHERE I HAVE LIVED:
1 Santiago de Chile
2 San Juan, Puerto Rico
3 Ketchikan, Alaska
4 Kolding, Denmark
G) FOUR TV SHOWS I LOVE TO WATCH:
1. Planet Earth, great nature documentary by the BBC
3. Some cookery programs...
4. Some re-location and home decoration programs...
H) FOUR PLACES I HAVE BEEN ON VACATION IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS:
I) FOUR WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY (Or at least Weekly):
1 Different design blogs
3 My own two for update and upkeep
J) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS:
3 Homecooked English Sunday lunch
4 Juicy salads
K) FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
1 In Vegas where my partner is working at the moment.
2 In Sweden with my family and dear old friends wearing my new winter coat watching my son playing in the snow!
3 In Japan eating great sushi and drinking sake and taking loads of inspiring photos.
4 Anywhere in China, oh how I adore China! Enjoying the amazing food and visiting remote villages.