Design Links: A Chain of Creative Inspiration, Part 9


Editor’s Note: This is part nine in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week, will feature three artists whose work offers fresh, fun and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the eighth part in the series, featuring Flemming Dupont, Kim  Hiorthøy, and Jonas Williamsson here.

Jonas Williamsson is inspired by …

Emma Åkerman

She is working between fine art, commissioned work, and self-initiated projects. Emma’s visual language constantly develops through experimentation with new techniques, but always in line with her distinct expression. I read the quietness in her images as something of a reversed strategy, when everything around us is getting overblown and bold, to make place for critical reflection and afterthought.


I never get tired of this one. It was part of a series of drawings for an exhibition at Crystal Gallery in Stockholm. All of the drawings were made in large formats and performed with tiny studious pen marks. Even though the drawing is very detailed, it holds a feeling of emptiness, like if the repetitive and perhaps meditative labor behind the drawing is being transferred through it.


This portrait holds a silence similar to the drawing. Each brush stroke, each decision, together manifest an unmistakable sensibility that does not comply with what could be seen as the current tendency of over-simplification and over-abundance of images in our society.

Emma Akerman is inspired by …

Rui Tenreiro

His images from commercial work, children’s books, and graphic novels hold a complicated mixture of grotesque evilness and complete stillness. It’s a world that is surprisingly elegant and beautiful, inhabited by creatures engaged in strange behavior that is more suitable in moonlight than the sun. The creatures, as well as his environments, are all respectful and calm, but nevertheless up to no good. His pictures are obviously useful in all imaginable areas, and he is also impressive in his production.


Someone is quite hungry. Rui´s world has some interesting inhabitants. They all seem to be part of a complex fairytale, or in need of one. Neither good, nor evil, this one seems to me desperate, like many modern citizens, perhaps a Berliner.


[The image above is a] lovely classic Rui pic. Still and beautiful landscape with a mystery. Strict and sensitive in his style, strongly connected to graphic traditions of Japanese as well American underground. Rui always knows what is his own story. He’s a writer as well as graphic artist.

Rui Tenreiro is inspired by …

Stina Löfgren

Being influenced and being inspired aren’t exactly the same thing, but sometimes they overlap. There have been times when an artist’s works inspire me without influencing my work. For example, I can be inspired to write a new story after seeing something I dislike. Other times, I’m influenced in style without being inspired to create new works. Being influenced by something and being inspired by it are very different things which are often bundled together. Ray Morimura has influenced me. Stud Terkel’s Hard Times audio interviews inspire me. Stina’s works have inspired me for diverse reasons — it’s not something you can see in my style, because her style hasn’t influenced mine. Stina’s writings on illustration* and perception have also inspired me toward synthesizing my visual language into a less literal depiction of the subject. For me it meant—and means—a way of simplifying life and information, and obtaining freedom from an impractical view of the world. This transformation isn’t complete yet, it’s happening right now. The full metamorphosis will surely take years. Furthermore, it’s not individual works I find inspiring, but the substance under the works, and the accomplished nature of her body of work as a whole.


I like this project because it includes two things: drawing and motion. Through the motion you can see the fluid nature of a highly synthesized and graphic style characteristic of Stina’s. It doesn’t feel like a compromise, and that’s inspiring.


I look at this quilt with a little of the same admiration I look at Gunta Stölzl’s tapestries. Despite the change in medium and materials, I see this project as an extension of an already-defined playfield in which Stina works. That’s probably easier to see in her sculptures, but quilts ultimately keep you warm, and I like objects that can be useful everyday, become worn out, and eventually perish.

Tune in two weeks from now to see who inspires Stina Löfgren.

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