Swedish artist Elisabeth Fredriksson is both a painter and graphic designer. She possesses an intuitive understanding of color and form, which results in mesmerizing compositions. On a quest to understand where her complex pieces originate, we recently chatted with Elisabeth. Discover her below.
We love learning about our international artists. Remind me where you’re located again?
I’m a graphic artist based in Sweden, currently living in Umeå. I work from my home office that also serves as a guest room. Since I make most of my art and designs on the computer I don’t need a lot of space, as long as I have a desk I’m happy. I also share a small studio with my partner in our living room. We made into two rooms! There I have a small desk where I paint and do other creative things.
I remember when you first joined the site. I fell in love with your geometrics and immediately posted one to our Instagram.
Thanks. I work digitally with mostly geometric shapes. I work a lot with lines. I love to make structures and then fill the blank spaces with colors and textures, there is something very meditative about that. When I paint, it’s more chaotic and playful.
That’s an interesting dichotomy – structure vs. chaos. Can you walk us through your creative process? Is there a part that you enjoy the most?
The first thing I do is make a sketch or several sketches for a new design. After that I translate it digitally in Photoshop, making the ground structure. That process can take everything from an hour to several days.
Then comes my favorite part; adding color and textures. When I’m done and happy with the result, I often make the same artwork/design in several color versions. I can come back to a design I made a month/a year ago because I have a new idea for the colors.
Your use of color never ceases to amaze me. I enjoy seeing a new work on Indiewalls in a different color pattern. Do you have any specific influences or inspirations?
Everything between a grain of sand to the universe at large. I can get inspired by the shapes of trees and mountains, by a book I’ve read, a movie I’ve seen, a game I’ve played or the shape of a coffee stain on my desk. Right now, I’m obsessed with art deco.
I can see the art deco influence. Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Art, in some form or another, has always been a part of my life. I grew up with my mother’s oil paintings on the walls, those had a great impact on me. When I was 10 to about 14 years old I did a lot of drawing. I could draw for hours and hours, time didn’t exist until my mom called me for dinner. I also painted a lot with watercolors.
I got my first camera when I was 15. It ignited a deep passion for photography. I took pictures of pretty much everything. It was around this time my dad introduced me to Photoshop. For about 10 years, I made a lot of digital collages and developed my skills in PS. In 2011 I went to art school to explore other mediums and some time after that I got into graphic art, which is still my main interest.
Whoa, I wish I had started using photoshop when I was that young. You must be a whiz. Is being an artist/designer your full time profession or an all consuming side passion?
It’s both. Making my passion my full time profession is the best decision I’ve ever made. It wasn’t easy, I worked hard 8-16 hours a day for about 3 years before I could make a living. I’m grateful for all the people that supported me in the process. There were a few bumps in the road but they didn’t stop me.
Deep in the Forest
Sounds like you made it work for you! What recommendations would you give to artists who are looking to make their passion their profession?
Whether you are a photographer, a painter, a movie maker or a musician, try new things and see where it takes you. If you find yourself at a dead end, push yourself and find a way around it. It’s so easy to give up because we are afraid to fail but every time you fail, you learn something.
I gave up a few times but one time I got an opportunity to really show myself that I could do something I didn’t think I could do. In the end I gained not just experience but inspiration and motivation to keep going and take on new challenges.
Also, promote yourself on social media and don’t underestimate having a website to showcase your art. Make sure there’s an easy way to contact you.
Outside of your work, are there any other creative pursuits that interest you?
Yes, I play bass in a band that we started a little over a year ago. And one of my biggest interest besides art is computer games, mainly RPG (Role Playing Games) and strategy. Games help me relax when I’m stressed and need some time off reality to immerse myself in a story. For that reason I like to read books and watch movies as well. One of my most important interest that I picked up this year is badminton. Exercise is good for the body and mind when you have a job where you mostly sit still. Also, I’m a huge Star Trek fan.