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Feature: Kopparberg’s Ün-establishment Pop Up Space

Monday 08 October 2012

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Words Spindle

Sweden is cool: fact. And not just by virtue of its climate.  Fashion, music, culture, religion, design from Sweden seems to have an un-affected detached quality with an innate modesty; it combines practicality and elegance, simplicity and history. I can’t think of anything vulgar or tasteless from Sweden! Lots of great things have originated in Sweden:  H & M; saunas; Abba; clogs; massage….Ikea?  And Kopparberg cider, which is hosting a short series of events in Manchester and London. The idea of un-establishment events is to showcase talented individuals who “jump the mainstream to find the extraordinary. It will bring together collectives, musicians and artists who don’t fall into the rut of populism and cliché- appropriate for a Swedish brand.

It opens in Manchester on 12th October and runs to 18th October , then it moves to London from 20th October to 25th October. The range of events and people involved is really exciting and the themes range from music (DJ Eats Everything) to art (Margot Bowman) to science (Super/Collider) to gardening (the Pothole gardener), to name just a few. Go to the Kopparberg website to get the full programme.

Kopparberg and Margaret have picked some beauties! Most of the individuals are creative and successful and talented, and don’t choose the obvious path, which is maybe why we don’t know that much about them. Well, that is about to change and two of the artists, Camille Walala and Hattie Stewart, have answered some questions so that hopefully we can get an insight into them and their work.

First, Camille Walala, whose work is like throwing a bucket of iced water at your eyes – it wakes you up with a bang! Wow, it is super bright.

My eyes feel like they¹ve been on a rollercoaster. Your designs are BRIGHT. Do you ever want to create anything muted and subtle?
Yes I do and I did already (just done a collection with the amazing Shop Darkroom for design week called T-R-I-B-A-L-A. and there are quite few pastels in there!) but yeah, maybe One day when (if) I grow up I will use muted colours, but right now I’m enjoying the “BRIGHT”.

Who or what is the inspiration behind your designs?
For few years now I have been really inspired by Postmodernism design, especially from Memphis group, but also recently by the tribe Ndebele from South Africa. Absolutely love the patterns and colours. (Sorry nothing muted there again.) I am also really into Bauhaus, POP culture, De Stijl.
I like to mix them all in my head and translate them on some original Walala-Tribal-Pop-patterns.
Why do bright colours make people smile?
I don’t know if bright colours make people smile, but pretty sure they uplift their moods. I do like the idea of making people smile though… using Statements and putting them into my street art… Recently being doing a collection of Posters that I paste up over east London, where it says
SMILE MORE…. and Many more

statement’s work.

Hopefully this is working.

Why did you get on board with the Kopparberg project?
The agency, Margaret, contacted me few weeks ago. I am really excited to be part of this project and feel flattered to be part of the Ün-established gang.

What¹s going through your head when you’re designing?
I am trying not to think too much actually, otherwise I freeze. I will look at books, do some mood boards and put on my walls visuals that inspired me and then go into trance in front of my computer.

And if your work had a theme tune, what would it be?
Right now, that would be Beto Craviato & Whatever/Whatever – No Social Culture (original mix).
Listening to it on repeat.

What venue/ space would you most like to design for?
I love the Barbican and his interiors but If I could have a copy of it (as we need to keep the original, too good) and could do whatever I want, pattern wise that would be one of my “living the dream” moments in a lifetime.

What¹s next on the horizon?
I have some really exciting projects coming along, I will soon do another collaboration with the chef Kate de Syllas (after Walala Greasy Spoon), working on some interior designs for a pop up restaurant. But also just about getting part of a club night, to do some decors with some glow in the dark patterns. Oh yes.

Next, Hattie Stewart, an illustrator who draws over the top of existing images to create new worlds and characters.

I can’t remember illustrations like this when I was reading Ladybird books. And where are all the pixies and gnomes?

They weren’t around then! I never read Ladybird books;I was more into The Beano and The Dandy, especially Beryl the Peril: she was an early icon of mine. I used to copy the drawings from different cartoons. The earliest I can remember was drawing a Cowboy and Indian scene when I was six from a Dandy annual; wish I could find it. This definitely influenced my ‘cartoon’ character based style.

 Did you train in a traditional style? And where did your current style develop from?

I definitely used to love drawing ‘realistic’ portraits, still life, landscape etc, but as I reached college it became too restrictive. I have liked strong black lines since I was very young and hated life drawing. I always wanted to create my own worlds! I wanted to see more character and colour, more fun. I couldn’t ever pin point how or why my style has developed the way it has, it’s a natural progression. I put pen to paper and whatever happens happens, it’s a subconscious development that can never be forced- that’s where you stumble.

When you draw the eyes over a person, are they still the same or do they become another character?

They definitely become another character. I don’t know how they could possibly stay the same! It’s interesting how something that is so simple- a pair of cartoon eyes- when put on a photograph can suddenly transform the subject, shifting the image from one context to another. That’s what I find fascinating: the transformative value of subtle manipulation. It’s also the interaction between the real and the imagined that I think is so much fun! Kind of like Space Jam; love that movie.

And why eyes? They seem to be the most important motif in your work.

I guess eyes have a subtle power of being a simple motif that can convey so much and automatically transform a subject and give something more character. Considering I work pen to paper I feel it gives life, a detail that automatically jumps from the page. Especially when used on photography and the magazine covers I feel it almost makes the characters real.

Why did you get on board with the Kopparberg project?

I love cider. Just kidding! Although I do love a little tipple every now and then. So many great people were involved and I loved the whole idea of it. No one could turn down the opportunity to collaborate with or be a part of such a diverse group of creatives and I’m super happy to be involved.

What would be your favourite image to doodle on?

Tough one. I really couldn’t say; I would love to doodle on someone directly, that’s the next step I’m beginning to work on, so watch this space!

What other projects do you have coming up?

Quite a few, I’m going a little crazy but I’m very excited. Working with a few different musical artists, a few magazines, a few brands, a few events and I have some more personal projects I’m hoping I have time to do. Nothing can be revealed yet but all will be revealed soon…

Check out Hattie Stewart’s teaser video here:

Words: Rose Davison