I hope everyone had a great weekend! I’m sure you all have been waiting to see our latest interview, at least I am more than pleased to share it. This young lady is from Stockholm, Sweden and currently resides there as a graphic designer and illustrator both in the form of print, product designs and of course, paper! I’m pleased to introduce the talented Fideli Sundqvist. I hope you enjoy our interview with her. Happy Wednesday!
Tell us a little about your background — what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I was born and raised in Uppsala, a small university town c. 40 minutes north of Stockholm. My mother is a potter and an artist and my father is a scholar and he often worked at home. So you could say I grew up with two parents whose work and interests mingled with each other, where they could also work, but on their own time. The fact that I can choose how to utilize my workday lets my work and passion merge since that’s what I have experienced since I was young and I have never thought about my profession as conventional “work”. I am very happy and pleased that I am able to be in this situation.
When I was 14-15 years old, I became very interested in music, I played in bands and gathered vinyl records. In doing this I began to see illustration and design as an art form and I had never seen it in that way before. It was like a real “eye-opener” and I was completely mesmerized. There was one albums artwork that struck me in the heart. It was Bright Eyes “Lifted – or The Story Is In The Soil”. The cover gives the illusion of being an old book, with illustrations carved in linoleum.
This is where my interest in “cutting” began. My mom and I took the train to Stockholm and bought all the material I needed for linoleum cuts. Then I was swallowed up in the craft. I cut a series of images that were about a boy (I called him Isma) who lived at a lighthouse with all his longings and dreams.
The linoleum technique reminded me a lot of paper cuts, both in craft and graphic expression. Then my brother went as an exchange student to China and came home with a book of paper-clips (real silhouettes behind plastic pockets). I was 18 years old and completely moved by this technique. The thought that someone worked with so much detail and time, touched me in a special way. So I started to make my first silhouettes and that was the funniest thing I had ever done. And so I thought much more about the expression on paper cuts than the linoleum.
So the last five years I have been consumed by this technique. It feels that now I could continue for all my life and since it feels like that paper has so many options, I will never get tired. In recent years, I have almost only worked with three-dimensional paper art. I think it is wonderful because it gives the work a great variety. I work with everything from concept, design, craft design, composition variations, photography and finally to design the material. I become excited just by thinking about it now.
Last spring I took my bachelor’s degree from the Art Academy in Stockholm, Konstfack, Graphic Design & Illustration. And now I work as a freelance paper artist and illustrator and is represented by Agent Molly & Co.
What have been some favorite recent projects/clients/collaborations?
My favorite project was my bachelor project examine, which I completed last spring. I wanted to explore what it was to illustrate with the three-dimensional paper and chose to write an adventure, called “Tilly and Yellow – an adventure at sea”. It was a real in depth exploration, which in hindsight seems like a redeemer in my work. It was as if I found my language, where I can feel at home. It was a fantastic experience to work ten weeks concentrated on the same project, and I think it may be necessary to do so if you really intend to deepen your knowledge of something. Then you may arrive at an understanding of what you want, why you are doing something, and how to develop the dexterity and freedom of thought and idea process.
How would you describe your creative process?
I have a bunch of ideas that I walk around and think about, and some of them are stronger than others. Suddenly one idea could turn up with new pictures, stories or moods. After that I think: “I must do this”. I have a pretty long starting time. It’s like I have to collect and get in a mood to “kickstart” me up. As soon as I get going I produce quite fast. I am usually completely swallowed up in my project and then the idea and content take shape.
The actual work itself is self-generating. During my working process new ideas and solutions occur. Then comes the little harder part when I must end the project. I dare to drop it, since I am a kind of perfectionist.
What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you surprised where you ended up?
Since I was young, I always wanted to become an artist. I dreamed about being Frida Kahlo, Niki de Saint Phalle, or Claude Monet. In early adolescence, I had a time when I thought art stuff was nerdy … but I turned back to these dreams after a few years and discovered the new genre of illustration and design, which suited me well. It has never really been “my cup of tea” to go to school and work and to be forced to accept specific times and places. I’m very glad that I can make my own working and living schedule.
What is a source of inspiration that is not art/design related?
A lot of things inspire me, such as people, conversations, cities, nature and animals, but also books, thoughts, dreams and stories. I like to walk, sit in cafes and travel.
If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
I have several musicians I would love to work with. I hope that one day I will do that. It would also be nice to work with an animator and get the paper moving. Interactive art is something that fascinates and concerns me very much, such as an artist or programmer.
What can we expect from your future works?
I want to make and build more stories, which are illustrated with the paper work. I want to continue with the three-dimensional paper creations.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
I will be on a show where I work together with a photographer and stylist. It will be presented this spring in Stockholm. It will be very exciting. Then there are two small solo exhibitions also in the planning stage. The dates, however, and what I will show is not decided yet. You can follow me on the blog and you will see!
If your work had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
I guess that would be done by Neil Young.
How often do you get paper cuts?
It does not happen that often. I think it happens more often that I cut myself on the scalpel, but it is also quite rare.
Have you always worked with paper, or have you used other mediums prior?
In recent years I have worked mostly with paper. But as I mentioned earlier, I also worked with graphics, though it was long ago. I debuted in the spring of 2011 with the children’s book “Birre, where are you?” (Sw “Birre, var är du?”) where all the illustrations are painted in acrylic. It was a new technique for me to work with, which I liked very much. I think there is a unique thrill of getting to work with a brand new technology, because of the mixture of anticipation and enthusiasm.
Is there anything else you Would like to share with our viewers
Combine different materials, try to mix them. Take inspiration from other artists, music, movies and other stories. Try to find out what get you going, and what things make you fall into a certain mood. And let your hands and your heart work closely together. It sounds so “cheesy”, but I believe in that
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and share your work with us Fideli. I love being able to share with our viewers the outstanding and versatile work in the realm of paper. To our viewers, be sure to post below with your thoughts and if you know of any artists that work with paper that you would like to be interviewed be sure to shoot us an e-mail.