mandag den 21. november 2011

An interview with Sigrid Astrup

Words by Louise Rytter

It’s simply not possible to tick one box when viewing Sigrid Astrup (1979) work. Her repertoire is wide and includes film, music, fashion, ceramics, graphics and her newest occupation as mother. Sigrid Astrup is a ‘multi-inspiring-playful-working-artist-in-the-making’ and only just graduated from the Danish Design School in 2006. With an impressive cliental from MIKA to Danish DR TV, she has also been part of the art collective Hurrrraaa, founded the fair-trade fashion label MotherMother with Helena Lindberg. This year she launched the shop "Vanishing Point" that sells fair trade quilts, ceramics, jewellery, posters and art. 

Sigrid Astrup is known for her playful hands-on approach and strong narrative. She curiously explores all angles and fields of any given material, sound or medium. She transforms beats, illustrations and stitches into poetic, colourful and abstract visuals. Sigrid Astrup was born in Tromsø, Norway, and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her partner artist Rune Brink and their baby Edit Hulda. 
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How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it? 
As experiments, with the conventions and preconsidered ideas of communication platforms, techniques and materials I use. No matter what context I work in, I always try to do the opposite of what is expected or obvious, as to find new ways to unfold the visual world of what I work with.  
I experiment with materials and mixed medias. Also I’m very childish but my humour is ‘sick’, so I often make stuff that is a tab too odd for other people to truly understand. This really attracts some and makes others just confused. And I always try to create something new to develop my repertoire of knowledge.

How does your Norwegian background influence your work?
That sick humour I have is definitely straight from Norway. It is also typically Norwegian to be shy and underplayed, which makes me terrible at selling myself or networking. I just can’t talk my way into a job. Most of my friends wouldn’t believe that since I am also so cocky, but it’s true.

Music video for Feed The Horse

What do you overall wish to express through your art and how is it a reflection of society? 
I don’t have an overall goal that my work is aiming at, and I don’t think my work reflects society really. Sometimes I see myself as a poet when I look at the results of my work. I guess its eccentric and self flattering and all, but it is definitely part of everything I do.  I work with aesthetics and materials just like using words in a poem. Carefully putting things together, to create an abstract render of emotions and ideas.

You work in multiple fields (fashion, art, graphic design, music videos and ceramics). What keeps you interested in all these fields and what inspires you? 
Everything inspires me, especially my friends, and my man Rune Brink. The idea of learning something new, trying new techniques and materials just makes me roll over. I love materials, especially natural ones as stone, wood and clay. At the moment I’m saving up to buy myself the ultimate power tool, a stone cutter.

Illustration for mothermother
Your work always has a strong narrative and a hands-on approach. Can you explain your way of working? 
I go about things in different ways so that is difficult to answer. But most of the time I have this very clear idea of what I want to do before I start, and I rarely sketch it out, because that would ruin it’s impossible beauty in my head. Then I get the stuff I need, and start doing what I want to do with it. It is inspiring to have the materials at hand. This way I figure out what the materials are cable of in order to get as close to the original idea as possible. 

What has been your most challenging job?
No doubt being a mother... hahaha. I know it doesn’t classify as a job, but it is. It’s full time and totally demanding from when you wake up until you go to bed, even during your sleep. I always used to mock my good friend Marielouise about the big knot of hair she had in the back of her head. I thought she was too sloppy with her life in all. But she isn’t, she has 2 kids and is a single mother now. I regret this awfully now that I have Edit on my hands.

Intro made to "Min nesten normal familie", TV2

Combining handcrafted collages and digital media is quite a challenge. What role do digital and social media have for you? 
I love mixing analogue and digital techniques, which I don’t find difficult to do at all really. The tantalizing possibilities of software can make you caught up, and you sometimes forget to go out of it and bring in something real. Just looking at the pallet in any adobe program makes you eager to get at it, using all the different tools. I often find that it’s actually easier to put some life into things by bringing in something from the “real world”. And I don’t know about social media. I often find it to be an attempt at making the internet more alive than it really is. 

Cover design for Chimes&Bells
You worked with musicians such as Moi Caprice, Mika, Chimes and Bells and Of Montréal. Can you explain your interest in music vs. art and highlight some of the work you done for these bands? 
Working with musicians is a perfect opportunity to work abstract with form. Creating imagery to trigger the different moods, emotions and ideas, or just a flow that they have created. People I have worked with are exceptionally good at creating the emotions they intend to, and it’s been such a treat to get to know and work with them. Trying to compliment or make a visual world for something not visual, created by another artist with another vision, is also a totally sweat challenge. 
If I was to highlight something it could be the 1 hour visual set I made for “Of Montreal” in 2008. The idea was to make a constant 1 hour continuative piece of collage created under the camera, constantly developing and changing into something new. Nice to do something totally intuitive and without thinking, even though the visual result was so-so, - my version of “new millennium Dadaism” haha. 

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