Elin Matilda Andersson

Tell us a little bit about yourself and you creative history?
I grew up surrounded by independent and brave women, which is something that has helped form myself in a big way.

Creativity has always been a part of my life. Although I wasn’t born into a formally artistic family, I was encouraged to make things, draw, paint and explore beautifully illustrated books as a kid. It became a way of being and thinking that stuck with me.

I studied Visual Communication and have been working as an illustrator and graphic designer for the past 5-6 years. I chose to become a designer as opposed to a fine artist because, I am driven by problem solving and work best within a framework. Design is all about context. I like the idea of using images as a part of a wider conversation.

When creating do you have initial concepts you hope to portray? How does a work generally come about?
I am broadly attracted to issues around gender, social norms and history. Whatever I do, whether it is personal or commissioned, my values as a feminist goes hand in hand with the work I create. As soon as I became aware of the vast amount of stereotypes that saturate our visual space, and wanted my images to offer alternatives, often with a humorous tint.

One of my on-going projects, Second Skin, is an idea I came up with for an artist residency last year. For it, I ask people to describe a wearable item or other modifiable feature of their appearance that make them feel powerful, and why.* With this I want to investigate the line between self-objectification and empowerment.

(*If anybody who reads this would like to contribute anonymously — here are three quick questions!)

How would you describe your style? Has it changed since you first started illustrating?
Yes it has changed a lot, as have the things and people that inspire me. My style can vary a lot from project to project. I keep looking for new ways of creating. I never felt like I got to a point where I ‘found it’… I have a feeling I will always be a bit confused about what I do.

You are also a graphic designer. Have you found having digital design skills has broadened your approach to illustration?
Oh yes. It is integral to my practice. Working digitally allows for a lot more freedom to explore options quickly, which is helpful when you are battling a perfectionist mind. However, what I love about creating outside of the computer is the unpredictability of the result — it’s like something seeps out from the dark corners of your mind that you can really control. I strive for a balance between both.

What is your ideal setting to create in?
I’m super anxious and dead scared of failure, which really sucks in the context of creative work. So to put it lightly, the state of my mind is a lot more important than what the physical space looks like. I’m actually quite good at ‘zooming in’ on a task and blocking out the external, as long as I am mentally in a good place.

Having said that, being close to nature is an essential ingredient to happiness for me. I recently moved out of the city and now I have a national park right on my doorstep. It’s wonderful. I feel very lucky.