Pipes

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In the Kitchen With Laura

1996. A request comes in to my agency… Would I be interested in doing 4 full spreads (!) for a new magazine out of London? Brief was simple. Title, “Essential Things For Fall”, to be hand lettered. A short list of kitchen objects to be shown, otherwise – do what you want! A dream assignment!  The magazine was Wallpaper and this was their launch issue that came out in September of that year. The “uber hip” magazine shook up the publishing world and turned out to be sort of a “milestone” and “game changer” in my career.

In the kitchen you will find beautiful shapes and colors in ordinary utilitarian objects, utensils and appliances. And then there is the food, fruit and vegetables of course with all their textures and color. I take every opportunity to “work in a food/kitchen spread” in a children’s book and ever since that Wallpaper assignment I have been doing a lot of kitchen stuff. Here are some of my favorites!

 

 

 

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Decisions Decisions Decisions

 

With a library of a million patterns and textures and with a computer that allows me to change things up with a few clicks, the options and possibilities are endless. Which to choose? What to do? Hmmmm…..

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New Stuff

 

Art Department, the agency that I have been with since 1995, is working on updating their website. That gave me an excuse to update some of my old illos and make some new ones. Having worked with mainly “children’s stuff” for a while, it felt great to “be back” in my old world.

Interesting how all of a sudden new colors are “popping up”, how my pallet has changed. I love working with all my patterns and the photographed objects are so much fun to mix with the drawings! Very inspired!

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Interior/Exterior

 

There are inspiring scenarios all over and I find them everywhere, inside and outside. I always regret when I didn’t shout, STOP THE CAR!!!, or I didn’t turn around and walked back to get that shot of that special place. Here are some examples of when I did!

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MoMa Art While You Eat

 

I again worked with Chronicle Books on this pad with 50 (!) sheets for MoMA. The prompts and designs on each sheet encourages kids to draw and make their own placemats. It’s a little bit overwhelming at first glance starting a project with so many pieces of art. When you get into the 3rd round of sketches, you can easily find yourself in a big mess if you haven’t  been keeping everything well organized from the start. But it all went very smoothly and a pleasure as always working with Chronicle and MoMa.

A couple of things you didn’t know:

My daughter Violet is the proud creator of the beautiful hamburger and carrot on the cover.

I got the idea that I wanted some photographed green peas on the plate on the cover. But when it turned out to be impossible to find perfectly round, wrinkle free peas to shoot, I used green bubblegum instead!

 

You can buy here,

http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/kids-teens/by-age/all-ages/moma-art-while-you-eat-place-mats.html

 

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I Can’t Help Myself!

 

 

 

This book doesn’t come out until May, but I couldn’t wait to give a preview.  I had the honor and pleasure of illustrating  the Australian author Mem Fox’s new book. I just got my first copy in the mail today and I am so excited. I love it! It’s crazy! It’s like candy!

For me the process of authoring is full of  pressure, responsibility and a little angst ridden. My fun starts when I can go to final on the art.  That’s a place where I am really comfortable and where I belong,  so illustrating another author’s children’s book (which is something I said I would never do!) was just just fun, fun, fun. I hope you like it too!

 

 

 

 

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Inspiration

 

I get asked often where I get my inspiration. I usually say that I don’t know, that things just pop up in my head. Images and colors appear as out of “nowhere”. But where do they come from? I believe it must have been something that I at one point have “taken in, that’s “coming out”?

I don’t look much at art or go to art museums or galleries. To me the interesting part is already over when a painting is hung on the wall. I am interested in the “problem solving” aspect of creating. The problem solving for a “fine artist”, to me, seems to be a deeply personal process and If  I’m not intimately familiar with an artists life and process, I am usually not that interested… Unless of course  it’s very beautiful with shapes and colors or techniques that “speak to” or interest me.

Where you really get to see problem solving is in design. To me looking at a beautiful AND functional chair is much more interesting than paint on a canvas. “Utilitarian” graphic design, the kind that nobody pays attention to, the kind that’s just there, is were I find some amazing gems. You’ll find them on signs, labels, tickets, menus, text books, and let’s not forget packaging!  That’s why I find a trip to the flea market, corner deli, supermarket, airport, pharmacy and my favorite – the hardware store,  much more inspiring than a gallery.

I have my little collections of things. “On Board Safety Brochures” from different airlines (btw, who designs these treasures?). Cans, Old Betty Crocker cook books.  And yes, I do have a box fetish! Enjoy my little collection and hope it will inspire!

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Glimpses of Nature

 

 

 

As a committed city girl my nature experiences are a somewhat limited. Sometimes nature comes to me in small glimpses, and that’s enough. I’m not  going camping anytime soon.

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Behind the Scenes, MoMa Play Town

Working with Chronicle Books on this project for MoMa is one of the most inspiring, challenging and fun jobs that I have ever been assigned. A creative dream with technical difficulties that I have never faced professionally before. I felt like I was back in art school!  One of my favorites  in this group of 9 structures is the hospital (I felt like a genius when I designed that one!) And here you can see the design process, from start to finish.

First is one of my own rough sketch paper constructions.

Second is the more elaborate “dummy” that I printed out and glued together full size, photographed, and sent to client.

Third comes the final artwork in the template ready for print.

Fourth is how it turned out in the end!

Then comes a variety of the full-size dummies that I photographed and sent to the client for approval. If you compare with the pics of the final product in the post below,  you can see what changes I made.

 

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MoMa Play Town

I was thrilled to work with Chronicle Books on this project for MoMa. New challenges. Building structures. Volume. Thinking in 3D. All new to me. Designing this slot-together cityscape that can be put together “the right way” or “your own way” was a big challenge . But oh, what fun I had!  Play Town will be available July 2012.

 

You can order here.

http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/kids-teens/by-age/pre-school-2-5-yrs/moma-play-town.html

 

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Parking

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ENTRY

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Did I Do That? (From the depths of my flat files)

 

 

In my studio I have these 4 gigantic flat files. There are 20 drawers containing art dating all the way back to my childhood, through my art school years and beginning of my  proffessional life.  Digging down in this “artmine”, which these days is expanded with a digital one, is almost like time travel. Some things I remember very well, and bring back  lots of emotions and memories. And then there are things that make me say  - did I really do that? Phew…

 

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Signs

 

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Growing Up

Growing up, I was always drawing. I would create patterns, mostly black and white, and I would fill page after page with shapes, sometimes mixed in with objects. I would draw in school during class and soon I was decorating school diplomas and announcements for my school.

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Show and Tell

In my book Follow the Line to School that came out July 2011 I have worked with placing photographed objects in the artwork. Sometimes I went on a hunt for a specific object or sometimes I used something I had already in my files. As an example, when I needed an image of a car, I remembered the photo I had taken a while earlier of a pink Volkswagen Beetle in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Here is a little “Show and Tell” of the origin of some of the photographed images in the book.

At the end is a spread from Follow the Line Through the House. On the wall in the bedroom is a framed photograph.  That picture is one of my favorite photographs from my childhood. It’s my twin brother and I on vacation in Torremolinos, Spain, in 1968. I still remember how much I loved that dress and how proud I was to show off that the lining of the jacket has the same fabric as the dress. Tres chic!

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Old Treasure

In 1986 when I was living in Stockholm, Sweden, attending graphic art school I found a treasure in a container. In a little old wooden box, that once had contained butter, were old large photographic glass negatives. I locked myself in my school’s darkroom for a weekend and developed tiny “contact sheet” images.

3 small, black and white photographs, the size of the negatives themselves have been kept in a box all these years and followed me across the Atlantic to New York. One day recently, I decided to scan these images into my computer, blow them up and retouch them in Photoshop. To my absolute amazement, faces and personalities appeared with such detail and clarity that it was a little spooky.  I was looking into faces that were looking back at me from what I would guess was around 1925-30.

I contacted a museum in Stockholm that informed me that this was the KFUM’s (Swedish scout organization) gymnasts, and that the group picture was taken at their headquarters that used to be at Snickarbacken 7 in Stockholm.

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Makes Me Smile

 

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Garfitti

 

When my daughter was younger, she could not say the word “graffiti”. She would pronounce it, “garfitti”. So when I thought of a name for this post, that seemed just right –  Garfitti.

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