Artist of the Month : Pippip Ferner

Mar 1, 2022

Pippip Ferner (1957) lives and works from Asker. She works extensively with, among other things, drawing, painting, sculpture and installations where she uses found objects that are processed in her artistic process. Central to the artist is drawing. The strength of Ferner's artistry lies in the imaginative and energetic drawings that open up for an understanding of something bigger and more serious. The playful and spontaneous drawings are always based on an idea or a theme. The framework for her drawings is nature, the sea and life under water. She likes to find inspiration in science. Through this perspective, she explores socio-ecological issues and through an organic line, viewers are challenged to increase their understanding of the biological diversity in nature.

Ferner has had a large number of solo and group exhibitions. She has been involved in projects in Tanzania, Italy and Svalbard, among other places.

‍ TF: Pippip, can you tell us a little about your artistic work ?  

PF: I've always drawn. As a young person, I was at times quite unfocused at school, but often saved myself by illustrating special assignments, science assignments, etc., more concerned with the appearance of the assignment, than what was written. I have an art education from Edinburgh College of Art and Parsons NY

For many years I worked as an illustrator / graphic designer. When the Mac came in the late 80's, it got bigger and bigger place in my work, and I almost panicked when it dawned on me that I had completely stopped drawing and sketching by hand! It was the joy of drawing that made me take my education, not sitting in front of the screen all day. Pen and pencil were picked up again from the drawer and drawing on paper resumed. Eventually I laid off all the customers in my small business, and have never looked back. Although I have benefited greatly from the digital knowledge from these years, I have stuck to the analogy in drawing.

I also work with painting, sculpture and installation, but drawing is central to the way I work. Often a combination of acrylic, felt-tip pen, pencil and charcoal - just like right on the wall, as on paper or in the painting.

I live close to the sea, and as a child I could sit for hours and study snails, seaweed fleas and other life on the shore. It was a great sorrow when I discovered that much of this life had been replaced with plastic that came in telling. This has characterized my work for the last 15 years. They refer to the complexity of marine diversity and how climate change is affecting these small organisms in an ocean that is getting warmer, more polluted and filled with plastic.

TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process.

PF: I like to investigate the possibilities the different drawing tools provide in relation to substrates. Charcoal on canvas, pencil on paper or felt-tip pen right on the wall gives completely different end results, not to mention the presence along the way. I like the unpredictability of pen splits and inks and all the 'accidents' with bleeding lines and unintentional stains. Or draw with a stick in wet paint. At the start of a work, I apparently have no plan, other than the theme. For example, should I make a large drawing right on the wall, I just start without thinking too much. Usually with black marker that can not be erased or corrected. The process is spontaneous and direct; driven by an intense urge of creating. I am by no means consistent in whether it is figurative or abstract - what wants to come in, gets in - preferably in a blissful mix.

The work is completely intuitive, where one line gives guidance to the next. In advance, I have done enough research so that the anatomy within the topic is in my fingers.

Actually, I'm pretty nerdy and the works are often based on scientific facts. They change course along the way and the result is pure anatomical fables. They are rich in detail, often with a chaotic network of intersecting lines. Elements from both recognizable and alien forms flow together in a symbiosis with reference to a complex marine ecosystem. Maybe an ode to nature's own mixture of chaos and structure?

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

PF: Life underwater is inspiring, especially small invertebrate marine organisms. I am fascinated by the richness of these seemingly simple organisms and the role of each of them in maintaining a balance.

I am inspired by collaborating with marine biologists, and joined a cruise in 2012 to learn more. There is a lot of inspiration to be gained from illustrated science - historically, art and science were under one roof, and many of the earlier scientists were extremely skilled artists. Like for example. Leonardo Da Vinci. Or Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) - zoologist and skilled draftsman who published several books on the subject, including Art forms in Nature . I am also inspired by fellow artists who have brought science into art.

‍ TF: What are you currently working on?

PF: Most often, several projects are going on at the same time. Thematically, I'm still under water. I will have a separate exhibition in Galleri Guddal at the end of May with installations of found marine plastic, in combination with fabulous drawings of marine animals. In the Plastic revisited series, I investigate how to combine plastic and drawing, and sew the line with found fishing-related rope on paper.


TF: What does drawing mean for you / your work?

PF: The drawing is my driving force. Drawing is to be seen. Drawing can be done anywhere. In the middle of a work, drawing can be meditative and redemptive, but just as often there can be resistance there that is just as important for moving forward.

TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!

PF: They are from a series of pencil drawings of marine animals. For example. Fabulation over tunic anatomy , or sea urchin in Norwegian, which is a bottomless invertebrate marsupial. They can be individuals, or colonies. In practice, they are a living tube that pumps bacteria and other microorganisms into one end, and sends completely clean water out the other end. As much as 100 liters of water every day! A great wastewater treatment plant.

See available works by Pippip Ferner in the online store .