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GRADE-A VISUAL STIMULATION BY SARA ANDREASSON
VIA THE DEPARTMENT OF NEW THOUGHTS — 49’ 16’ N / 12’ 8’ W

SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Analog
Freedom


Sara Andreasson is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose work feels nostalgic as well as futuristic. Her illustrations remind you of Greek paintings and sculptures, but instead of romanticized godlike figures, the subjects feel like the people you hang out with in your everyday life. Her work depicts hilarious observations about the human condition that connect on a deep, emotional level.

Sara is a master of her craft. She can strip down her figures to their most basic forms, while still incorporating rich palettes, color blocks, and contrast patterns and gradients. Her body of work seems equal parts psychedelic and humanistic, and manages to portray both a childhood innocence and social issues like sexuality and feminism. You can tell that Sara not only tries to create beautiful rendered work, but also social commentary that makes you think.

Q: Hello Sara, Your work consists of amazing, surreal graphic portraits. I love the art and design.

A: Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear that.

Q: Do you base illustrations on real-life subjects, or draw references from photographs? Describe the process you use when beginning a new piece:

A: Depending on the subject matter and the composition I have in mind, I either look for references images online or start sketching from memory. When using references as a base for my drawing, I often cut and paste different pieces and slightly distort the images. I’m happy to see myself becoming less and less reliant on reference pictures though, as the whole process is getting faster but also a lot more fun.

I always make my drawings in Photoshop or on my iPad, from start to finish, using a wacom pad or an apple pencil. I just don’t see the benefits of drawing on paper, not even for rough sketches. Using a rubber seems so old school to me, haha. In most cases the sketch phase is quite short as I’m so eager to get started on the coloring, which is the fun part. The rest is just playing around, adding details and altering the palette — sometimes for hours on end. I would say that my process is everything but linear as the outcome tends to look completely different from the initial idea.

"I just don’t see the benefits of drawing
on paper, not even for rough sketches."

Q: Your work comes across as both digital and analog as the same time. Did you start out drawing and painting, or do you come from a technological background?

A: That depends on how far you look back in time. I studied engineering for a few years before attending art school so I think it’s fair to say that I have a technical side, but on the other hand I’ve always been mad about drawing. You know how there’s always one kid in each class at school who’s never letting go of their pen or crayon. That was me. I was told off daily by my teachers as I wasn’t paying attention, just quietly working on my next masterpiece haha.

Q: Your color palette is very beautiful and unique. What inspires your color choices?

A: I think I’ve always been fascinated by odd color combinations and patterns. When I last visited my mom’s house I went through this big pile of old drawings that she has saved from my childhood and you’d be surprised by how little my idea of color and composition has changed throughout the years. This made me think that a lot of what I do comes from somewhere inside me. Either that, or I’m just still a kid inside.

When you’re working with images on a daily basis there’s no on and off switch, and you constantly see things that catch your interest, whether it’s a blue plastic bag next to a pink fur jacket, the homemade graphic design seen in your local corner shop or brilliant drawing by a five-year-old. I tend to get unreasonably excited over these kind of things.rough sketches. Using a rubber seems so old school to me, haha. In most cases the sketch phase is quite short as I’m so eager to get started on the coloring, which is the fun part. The rest is just playing around, adding details and altering the palette — sometimes for hours on end. I would say that my process is everything but linear as the outcome tends to look completely different from the initial idea.
Q: I see pop art influences from the ‘70s and ’80s in your illustrations, similar to commercial airbrush work from artists like Philip Castle or Sorayama. Are these eras a part of your inspiration?

A: I can totally see why one would think so, but that’s a genre I haven’t actually explored. My biggest influence is undoubtedly the Swedish illustrator and animator Per Åhlin. I have very clear childhood memories of watching movies by him while having a bowl of ice cream at my granny’s house. The way his characters moved and how they all looked kind of wobbly and soft was quite a contrast to the Disney aesthetics I was used to seeing. The same goes for Milton Glaser and that whole psychedelic era of the ’70. I’m basically a fan of illustrations and art that look like it was made with pure joy.

Q: You are also an editor of BBY Magazine, a female-focused arts and culture publication. Does feminism play a role in your own designs?

A: Definitely. If you care passionately about something I think it will manifest itself in your work, whether it’s a conscious choice or not. Aside from that, I believe that visual culture has a huge impact on people and that every image counts. In a way, social media has made us all opinionators, on a small or large scale, and this is something one can choose to work with or not. As my following has increased quite a bit throughout the years, I think I have become more aware of this and try to make use of it in the best way I can. to get started on the coloring, which is the fun part. The rest is just playing around, adding details and altering the palette — sometimes for hours on end. I would say that my process is everything but linear as the outcome tends to look completely different from the initial idea.
Q: If you could choose one dream project or collaboration, what would it be?

A: In terms of clients, I think it’s hard to say as it all comes down to specific art directors and how well you work together. What I enjoy the most is working with people who want to collaborate me particularly because of my individual style and who is helping me take my work to the next level, as opposed to asking me to repeat what I’ve done in the past. If I’d have to choose a dream project though, it would probably be to work on a larger scale. I’ve never done a mural for instance, so that would be cool to try.

Q: I heard that you also make furniture. Are you self-taught or have you studied? Are there any designers that have influenced your work?

A: Yeah, I attended a cross-disciplinary art school which allowed me to try a little bit of everything, but for some reason I ended up spending most of my time in the wood workshop. Designing and constructing three dimensional pieces is so much fun! It’s such a reward when you learn how to work the tools properly too. But at the end of the day, woodworking is too expensive and also a bit too linear for my taste. It’s so much easier starting over on a drawing than it is throwing away a pile of wood that you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on. Collaborating with a furniture designer would be really cool though, mixing illustration and three-dimensional objects. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a collaboration like that to happen.

"I believe that visual culture
has a huge impact on people."








Native Tongue

These articles are official documents of the Department of New Thoughts. The Native Tongue is part of the continuing study of lite on Earth. The galaxy speaks and we jot it all down for all the Explorers, all the Folk and all the Feet of the world to consume. Free for all minds—wander into the wonderful.