Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Illustrator Emily Grandin "Littering their imagination in a multitude of mediums"

Emily Grandin is an illustrator from Sweden. Her projects focus on the adorable characters Zoe and Dante, but she also developed some new characters while participating in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). With tradeyourtalent she speaks about exploring fantastical spaces, the unforgettable experience of taking part in the Sketch Book Project and why she doesn't really feel like an "artist from Sweden".

Your work looks really multifaceted. How come?
I don’t know, I guess it’s because I just draw what I love. My illustrations are filled with the things I want. I want to explore fantastical spaces and go on adventures, on the way there will be patterns and details and there will always be room for despicably sweet rabbits. I could bring up my studies in geology and architecture which have definitely played their part but when you get down to it, what I find irresistible is looking at something mundane and thinking how can I add adventure to this?

You are participating in the Sketch book project. What does this project mean to you?
I enjoy seeing how creativity thrives in the confines of limits, if for no other reason than to see how it drives people to stretch those limits. Some told stories, some took their books apart in a metamorphosis of sorts and some just filled them with all the delightful things that were littering their imaginations in a multitude of mediums. And to think it all started with a simple empty sketchbook! Beyond the obvious reasons like exposure, projects like this are great because at best they’re mini workshops, and like with workshops it’s an opportune way to find and connect with fellow creatives.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
When I was little I treasured the cross-sections in Barbapappa and Stephen Biesty's books, I would stare at them for hours. Later frank Miller and Tove Jansson’s art entered my life and I thought I want to draw like that. These days I still eye a lot of books but my resources of inspiration are more than I could justly name not least of all the wonderful wealth of art out there on blogs and digital portfolios.

What's it like being an artist in Sweden?
I like this question, right away it strikes me I don’t really feel like I’m an ‘artist in Sweden’. I assign much of my freelancing to the internet and the extraordinary ways it allows me to feel the pulse and connect with my market on an international level. That I live in Sweden feels like a footnote.

                                          Emily Grandin:

For more on Emily visit:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Special Feature: Surf Artist Fernanda O'Connell "Surfing keeps me interested in painting"

Surf and Seascape Artist Fernanda O'Connell grew up in Sao Paulo in Brazil and now surfs the oceans of the world. With her art she captures moments and perspectives of the ocean that are quite unique. Currently she surfs, paints and is preoccupied with issues that affect Indonesia and its people. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about growing up in the chaotic city of Sao Paulo, being one of the first females to bodysurf, why painting keeps her surfing and how she raises awareness for the critical conditions of the oeans. 

What was it like growing up in Sao Paulo in Brazil?

Growing up in Sao Paulo was intense. It is such a big chaotic city! I am part of a big family that is really close. Even though we lived on the city, my uncles owned a boat and we used to get to the beach very often and from a very young age I knew deep in my spirit that I was going to leave Sao Paulo and travel the world in search of waves, different cultures and a seaside lifestyle.

Why did you start surfing?

My older cousins were surfers and they were my heroes, they meant the world to me and introduced me to the surf and music. Back then stand up surfing wasn't that big for females but bodyboarding was starting to appear and somehow females in Brazil took to the sport. I was 10 or 11 then, when I travelled to the States and got my first Match 7-7 bodyboard.

When did you start doing surf art, what does it mean to you?

I always dabbled into drawing. My mum thought I would become an architect... But when I started travelling around Australia, Indonesia and particularly the Canary Islands I felt the need to draw the seascapes. I was so attracted to drawing and painting waves and that was back in 98. When I settled in Ulladulla I went to an art teacher to teach me the skills to use the paint brush and realised early on the importance to find my style and signature brushstroke so that my work could become recognisable. The recognition for my work grew very quickly and I guess it is a blessing to be able to make a living painting a subject that has been my passion, the ocean. Painting waves keep me interested in surfing, and surfing keeps me inspired to paint!

Your art is really unique. Have you met other artists/surfers doing this? What do you think your connection is?

Thank you, I appreciate it! Through generic websites such as and artists get a chance to become aware of other surf artists. I got a chance to meet Jay Alders in Brazil at the Festival Alma Surf which is an artist I really appreciate, and Erick Wilson which is an amazing environmentalist. My latest trip to Hawaii I got to meet Jennifer Prince, Mark Daniels and Patrick Parker which was really nice. And of course, because of the internet I keep in touch with fellow brazilian artists and a fair few european artists.

Is surfing a form of art to you ?

Surfing is surely a form of art. It requires a lot of practice and perseverance to perfect your surfing. I believe creativity is very much a part of surfing as a surfer performs the manouvers in a wave.

What is your favorite place to surf?

I will always have a heart for Indonesia. The arquipelago of the Mentawaii Islands have endless world class breaks. I love the romance of arriving on a uncrowded surf spot and jumping out of the boat and surf all day! But I also love the breaks around my home,  especially Ulladulla Bommie.

The oceans are endangered.  Do you think your art can help to protect them  ? 

I have been involved with Surfrider Foundation through the invitation of the Malibu Boardriders in California for the last 2 years and been personally preoccupied with the issues that affect Indonesia and its people and donated to SurfAid. I would like more and more to collaborate with such organisations, donating and raising awareness of the critical conditions we now face.

                                                         For more on Fernanda  visit: 



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