Michelle Carlslund is a young and talented illustrator based in Copenhagen. Her work is playful, warm and somewhat nostalgic. She creates universes filled with bears, strong men, eclectic cityscapes and playful puns. Her style suits both adults and children, which is why I love her prints and stationery so much – There is something for everyone!
It’s with great pleasure that Michelle agreed to answer a few of our questions.
1. Tell us more about yourself. How did it all started?
My mother is very creative. We always been creating a lot, like painting, drawing and doing handmade invitations for our birthdays; I remember one for a Halloween-ish party where I paper spider fell out in a thin string once you opened the invite. I did not have a clue, though, that it would be my way of making a living until 3-4 years ago. I started out photographing and got a taste for creating images. I wanted to put all kinds of crazy costumes, animals and other props in my photographs. With no money or means to make such complicated staged photographs I started cutting things into my photographs. Over time the photographical elements were replaced by cutouts and drawn elements and has developed into the style I have today. After the photo school I have studied design and graphic design, but has not actually finished any educations. I got more freelance commissions and started to produce posters that I sell and in 2013 I was so fortunate to be able to say goodbye to school and hello to a life as a self-imployed illustrator.
2. Best thing about being a designer & artist:
The thing I like the most is the freedom to create your own working life. It is not always easy being your own boss, but I really enjoy that if I for instance have a dream of trying to do wallpaper I can just start researching to make it happen. I chose the direction of my career and it is as satisfying as it is terrifying.
3. Complete the sentence: “When I feel uninspired…”:
I feel like eating chocolate and watch TV.
4. What is your design philosophy?
I try to put most of myself in my work. I forget sometimes, and then it is hard for me to judge if the piece works. Then I have to go back a few steps and be more true to my own style and taste. I aim to make work that is honest, charming, warm and nostalgic.
5. You, in three words:
Conscientious, optimistic, fearless/naïve
6. What is the best advice you ever received and from whom was it?
I went to a lifestyle-expert who advised me to eat organic and sleep at least 9 hours at night. I try my best to do both and it feels great when I do.
7. What advice would you tell your younger self if you could?
Take it easy – breathe, don’t overdo it. Arms can fall off when you draw or use the computer 12 hours straight…
8. Dream assignment/collaboration/project?
I would really love to work with letterpress printing. I hope to get the opportunity someday. The biggest thing would be for me to buy our own letterpress.
9. What can’t you live without?
Obviously the people around me that I care about. Besides that – French fries!
10. If you could invite somebody for dinner, famous, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Actually I can be sort of shy to people I don’t know, so inviting strangers do not exactly appeal to me. I would probably just invite my best friends!
11. Best Scandinavian city and why:
I have to say Copenhagen. And that is simply because it is the city I know the best. There probably are many that are just as great.
12. Something on your bucket list:
I would love to be able to bring my family and live 3 months of the year some place else than Denmark. It is so dark here in the winter. So some day I hope I can make it happen.
13. What is your all-time favourite design/art piece(s)?
This Boris Bilinsky “Metropolis” posters is really a favourite. It is on our dining room wall. I just don’t seem to tire of it.
Visit Michelle’s lovely online shop here!
P.S Looking for the best gift ideas? Have a look at our 2019 guide for design lovers!