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Thursday, November 7, 2013

First Friday: A Craftsman, An Artist

Because the blogger scheduler and I have a terrible relationship and because my new sister-in-law required the entire Friday for pre-wedding celebrations you are just now enjoying our First Friday piece. I will push aside my anger and frustration with my technological mishaps and share a new artist with you all. Enjoy!

Per-Ole Lind (P.O.) has become a new friend of ours in the last year or so and I have recently discovered his profession and creativity. He also works in an industry Laurie and I both love, print media. His Scandinavian roots lead him to a great deal of work in Europe and Asia. On top of that, a great deal of inspiration comes from Asia and his current home, Knoxville. Some of his works-in-progress are inspired by art on wood he found during one of his many stents in Asia. While he is a graphic designer by trade his creativity spills over into many areas of expression. Just the same as my interest in the work of Scott Steere, P.O. has a certain graphic element to his work I really, really enjoy.

If you are ever in town and would like to talk art, P.O. is your guy. Were I to share all of the interesting tidbits and anecdotes he shared with me during our mini photo-shoot you would be reading for days.  I will never admit to being an expert in the field nor will I ever have the lingo or jargon down...however, I feel like I learned more in the minutes I spent with P.O. and his wife, Amelia, than I have perusing any modern art museum. So much fun.

Back to P.O. He is currently working on his "Geek Series." His work is showcased on Birch Baltic Plywood. Some of the pieces are even carved into the "canvas" so to speak to create a more realistic depiction of the images. Not only can P.O. produce high end graphic design pieces, he is also a fantastic wood-worker. This series he is working on combines his love for wood and interest in painting with a little nostalgia mixed in from the subjects he is working with. These pieces are so fun!

P.O. crafted a beautiful dinning table for his home....

We are catching him mid-project; however, he was recently involved in a large-scale, community project in my very own neighborhood. The recent mural project (seen below) took a great deal of his time and creative energies (as one can imagine). But, now he is back to focusing on his ongoing projects.

Two of four - Had to include my neighborhood

I hope you enjoy some of our dialogue and some additional information about him below:

PP: When people ask you what you do what is your response? It seems like there is more than one art-form in your accomplished tool belt.

P.O: Professionally, I work as an Art Director. That usually takes a little explaining, but people get the idea, when I tell them how I design projects involving many different design elements like photography, illustration and typography and orchestrate all people involved in order to get a particular expression.

If people ask me if I do any creative work on my own, I include illustration, carpentry, photography, copy-editing and painting.

PP: Beginning your creative career, or at least considering the idea, at age 10 with photography-do you still pick up a camera from time to time? Does it have any role in your design at this point in your career?

P.O.: I always have a point-and-shooter on me. I record anything that catches my attention and archive it for inspirational purposes. If I can't shake it, I often sketch it, just to allow it to speak in a different format. At times, it ends as a painting. At times, it ends up in projects. Recently, a shot I took riding my bike in a Copenhagen park ended up on a environmental poster for the Danish Embassy in Tokyo.

PP: What sparked your interest in print media?

P.O.: I've always loved magazines. It's the ultimate cross-point between written and visual. There's no other format, where visuals and words co-relate to a similar symbiotic effect. The artwork serves a purpose.

PP: What keeps you in print media? Is there anything you enjoy as much?

P.O.: The web is in many ways fascinating and fun. Motion graphics is such a rich media. But print stands as the most consistent. Digital owns the Wow, but print has the I'm still here. How to combine the two is the question.

PP: When you are working with a client to create a new campaign or look does the process start the same with most every client or does the process differ from client to client?

P.O.: It always starts with dialogue. I tend to ask a ton of questions. If I work with a decentralized team, I provide questionnaires, to get enough to work on. At times, I work gradually with the client, providing related visuals to support my sketches to nail the atmosphere my client is looking for.

PP: Tell me about your pop art series you are currently working on.

P.O.: There's something absolutely fascinating about early personal electronics. They were, for the time highly innovative, and often expressing that in form. That in itself has a tremendous attraction. Second is the nostalgia connected to them. These objects are in a cross roads between trash and collectors items. Third, is the innocence. These objects were exceptional for their time, but still had clear limitations. The C64 took a lot of patience to work with. The Walkman could handle one cassette at a time until the batteries ran out. These objects wouldn't steal your attention in the same massive ways our smart phone does. Yet, these objects were the first slow heat that eventually boiled us in with personal electronics.

PP: Where does the inspiration for content and design come from (Pop Art)?

P.O.: I wanted to do some of the more iconic objects of the cut, without avoiding the odd pieces in the mix. When I spotted a Betamax video camera with a purple-rainbow shoulder strap, I had to get that in the mix. I have no idea, why rainbows was such a big deal on all these objects.

PP: With the most recent mural project you have completed and your upcoming Victorian project (car hoods), what is it about Victorian-style design that attracts or inspires you?

P.O.: While I lived in Japan took a lot from brush illustration, simplicity and their use of wood. Now in the US, I have discovered the potency of Victorian typography and illustration. It so clearly refers to it's craft. It's a technique intended for reproduction, in the early industrial era. The masters of this skill took it to incredible levels. Often overlooked, since it was mostly used for commercial purposes. Today, often ridiculed as old hat. With the growing interest in pre-information age expression, it's bound to find it's renaissance. It might be a fad, but craftsmanship never dies.

PP: Since moving to the southern US have you seen a change in inspiration or influence in your work? 

P.O: Absolutely. Digging into the South-Eastern typeface masters and their playful drive for innovation has been a bit of an eye-opener.

PP: What has been one of your favorite projects to work on in your career?

P.O.: I often mention the Danish Furniture Poster I did in Tokyo. It was a steep challenge to pay credit to the Danish furniture masters, while bridging the new generation of furniture visionaries.

P.O.: I've always found the Danish Masters to be a source of inspiration. They managed to bridge fine craftsmanship with industrial production, without losing the life of the object. So for me to work this project, I had to reconsider my approach. I decided to do handcrafted halftone life size portraits of the designers. It took more hours than budgeted, but the project itself was rewarding.

To learn a little more about P.O. or to see more of his work visit his website.


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