Thank the universe for Flickr, without it I may never have discovered the astonishingly beautiful work of my interviewee today, Cecilia Levy. How to describe the aesthetic pleasure I felt the first time I saw Cecilia’s incomparable book art? The material appears to be returning to the element from which it came. These are magical books indeed! From witty & touching illustrations, to crocheted worry birds, to installation pieces, Cecilia’s art works combine formal beauty with a thought provoking environmental awareness. They do many other things too of course, let’s visit Cecilia now and you will understand what I mean!
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“I’m a graphic designer, bookbinder and artist. I live in a small medieval town in Sweden with Mattias (who’s an illustrator), our two girls; Olivia and Rosa, and our dog Asta.”
“As an artist I like to draw and mostly I use lead pencils or Fine Liners, on paper – preferably vintage or recycled – or boards prepared with putty (I think it’s called) or gesso. The putty is the kind you fill holes in the wall with, it gives an extra feel to the drawing. I like to make book art, small accordion books that I draw in. Or, I take the cover off an old hardback book and work on it, inside and out.”
“I’m a slow starter, but once I get an idea in my head, I can work quite fast. I like series, doing several images on one theme.”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
“Nature is one. We take long dogwalks and live next to a forest and a lake. I can be inspired by something I read or an image I saw; in the morning paper, a book, a magazine – anything anywhere can give me a jolt of inspiration.”
“I love going to museums, galleries and artshows, but don’t go as often as I’d like. And of course the internet is a huge source of inspiration.”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Tell us the story behind the piece.
“Save which I made for the weekly Illustration Friday. I chose it because I’m concerned about the planet. Here in Sweden there’s a big debate about fishing areas. There used to be plenty of cod in the sea, for instance, now it’s practically fished out. But it can be saved, if just everyone took their responsibility…”
“I’m fond of the piece, quite pleased with how it turned out. It also reminds me of a cat we once had, he was allergic to fish, the poor thing. I used lead and color pencils on recycled paper, and collage for the fish.”
Thank you so much Cecilia for giving us such an inspirational insight into your life and artistic process. It was such a pleasure for me to spend the afternoon re-exploring Cecilia’s work.
Next week I will be getting to know someone I have been crazy about *meeting* for what seems like an age. There will be spectacular plush and perhaps a little music. Oh, but I am too generous with my hints. Curious kittens will have to wait until next week!