Artist of the Month : Iben Sandemose

Jul 1, 2021

Iben Sandemose (1950) is a visual artist, illustrator, illustrator, set designer and author. The drawings are characterized by a clear graphic line and an ingenious simplicity. With a squint at life, she comments on daily life in a humorous, ironic and playful way. The artist's expression is distinctive and recognizable, and her imaginative universe strikes both adults and children. Sandemose has had several solo exhibitions and group exhibitions, including the Autumn Exhibition. She has received a number of awards and prizes, such as the Hedda Prize, the Ministry of Culture's Illustration Prize and the Book Art Prize. The latter is an honorary award she was awarded for making a significant effort to promote good book art. She has several public decorations here mentioned; Postgirobygget in Oslo, Sentralsykehuset in Arendal and Agder Distrikthøgskole. She has been purchased by the National Gallery, the Norwegian Cultural Council, and the National Gallery.  


TF: Iben, can you tell us a little about your artistic practice?  

IS: I trained as a shaping teacher. Plus a few years of drama and tapestry. Of the techniques, it was potato and onion prints that made the most impression. I traveled to England and learned woodcarving and agriculture, could even drive a tractor. Then I fell in love with a painter who easily persuaded me to quit as a teacher and become an artist. The first two drawings were in yellow school pencil. Both entered the Autumn Exhibition. I was an artist! I thought.

TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us about your work process!

IS: I have written a lot. Postcards and letters. Illustrated envelopes. Text and drawing became increasingly intertwined. The excitement of saying one thing in letters and something else in a dash. I can not draw and have to rely on my own variant. I can draw. Everyone can. The most important thing is to put your head on a stool and draw from the heart. Win the battle against performance anxiety. But it lies there like a monster when I make books, scenography, pictures for exhibition. Always. A driving force too, something big to overcome.

TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?

IS: Life inspires me. Family history. Death. The love. The fragile. The strong.
An indestructible theme. The gloom and sudden happiness of thought. Spooky and light. I do not understand why I'm so scared. It's just a matter of pushing yourself!

TF: What are you working on at the moment?

IS: Right now I'm working on my 30th calendar. At that time I wanted to do something light and unpretentious.
A tile of a calendar with different themes, text and drawing. It went well, so well that I now have a patch of calendar psychosis, fresh and ridiculous performance anxiety!

TF: What does drawing mean to you?

IS: Sometimes I think that without drawing I am nothing. I use it for everything. Invoices, envelopes, photos, porcelain, engraving on glass, posters. With drawing I can say most things, an apology, a thank you, a consolation, a joy.

See available drawings by Iben Sandemose in our online store.