I would like to present to you my fourth Aldred’s Artist, the lovely Silje Kristiansen. I met Silje at the University College of Falmouth where we both spent our three years studying for an Illustration degree. I was amazed at how much detail Silje could produce with just a pencil and paper. The realism of her images and the tones she produced were just phenomenal. They looked just like a photograph. Her projects always consisted of intriguing musicians, portraits with a grunge underlay and clean white backgrounds to contrast her illustrations perfectly. This mixed with a lines representing anatomy and biology makes her work eye-catching and so unique.
It was so nice to talk to Silje again since University and want to wish her the best for the future.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Silje Kristiansen, I am 28 years old and living in Norway. I am an illustrator as well as a toxicologist to be.
What’s your background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in illustration, from the University College Falmouth where I graduated in 2011. After that I have worked freelance as an illustrator, but also started a master’s degree in biology/toxicology. Hopefully in the future I can continue to combine the two fields as much as possible.
Why do you do what you do? What inspired you?
When I started pursuing illustration it was because drawing was something I loved doing and I thought I was good at it. Soon I became familiar with more techniques and media, and my work evolved. Later on I realised my interest has expanded to a lot of things, including biology. I started thinking what illustration could be used for and to accomplish, in addition to aesthetics. Today I want my illustrations to teach and maintain knowledge, start thought processes, to add an extra understanding of literature, to clarify, and also stand out.
I find inspiration through people, magazines, music, social media, but my favourite inspiration is found in old information books with hand drawn illustrations, found at flea markets and second hand shops.
How do you work?
I work as traditional as I can, with mainly pencil drawings and some elements of acrylic paint. There are always digital editing needed, but I prefer to work with my hands. I appreciate being able to use photographs as reference, especially for portraiture. I also have a very limited palette, which I aim to expand in the future.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I love a variety of work, which is what you get when working freelance. There are always new projects with a new approach and new people. But the work I enjoy most are book covers and informational illustrations. My favourite motives are animals, plants and portraiture.
What themes do you pursue?
Usually I don’t get to pursue any themes as they are chosen for me when I get a commission. But I get extra happy when I get requests concerning portraits and biological elements. Of course a challenge such as abstract work gives a boost when it is completed.
Who is your favourite artist or artists?
The artists I most appreciate change quite frequently, as new inspiration emerges constantly. At the moment it is Zaria Forman who uses pastel to recreate beautiful scenery from Antarctica, and Mike Dargas who is incredible with realistic portraiture.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
These inspirational situations usually involve me scrolling on tumblr, looking at books in fleamarkets, flipping in magazines or exploring on instagram.
What makes you angry?
When people, animals or the environment are treated unfairly.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is to illustrate an educational book of biological elements, preferable for animals, containing different biological levels, from cells, organ systems and individuals.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
My favourite and most inspirational place is Svalbard, the Arctic archipelago of Norway, where I have had the opportunity to study biology in incredible surroundings.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It is probably a combination of all the advice I have received from my parents growing up, about life in general.
Do you have any projects upcoming or gone that you would like to tell us about?
At the moment I am planning an exhibition of artworks with a biology/anatomy theme, which I am hoping to be able to complete. It is in its start phase of planning, researching and collecting inspiration, which I am enjoying to do when I need a break from working with my master.
Tell us something about you that people don’t know about?
I don’t think there is anything about me that not one person knows about, I always have the need to talk to and share with someone.
Thank you again for reading and if you would like to feature in ‘Aldred’s Artists’ please don’t hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on the links below.