Endemicworld’s online gallery is primarily stocked with art prints by New Zealand artists and designers, but every now and then we come across an international artist whose work we’ve just gotta have. Swiden is one of those brands that had us in love at first sight. And behind the contemporary, pastel-coloured prints we’re obsessed with is designer Charlotte Swiden, a Swedish national who now calls Melbourne home. Let’s have a chat, shall we?
What was the journey to creating the Swiden brand – were you working a regular day job at the time?
I was working full time as a senior graphic designer at Swedish stationery brand kikki.K here in Melbourne. It was a dream job, I had creative freedom and was designing over 300 products a year.
After three years at kikki.K I felt that it was time to do something of my own and slow down a bit. I always dreamt about designing homeware and doing more experimental designs, so I went home to Sweden for a couple of months, made my first products and set up shop. Also managed to have a summer holiday and get my inspiration fix.
The brand has grown and developed ‘organically’ over the years and I’m now a mother so balancing two passions can be tricky at times.
What are you working on at the moment (new prints, other projects)?
I’m part of a couple of group exhibitions this year in Melbourne which I need to start planning for.
As far as prints and products go, at the moment I’m immersed in the fun phase where I just experiment and play, throwing around colour and materials. So nothing finalised as yet, but something new is on its way.
Tell us about a few creatives/designer you are personally inspired by?
Tove Jansson, mostly famous for her children’s books. I love her illustrations and story telling.
Karin Larsson, the wife of painter Carl Larsson. She was a great designer but I don’t think she has been acknowledged as much as she should have.
Your prints make walls 250% more awesome – what’s one of your favourite things on the walls of your own home?
I’ve got an old String book shelf which was the first thing I bought for myself when I left home back in Sweden.
Reading is one of my favourite pass times and it makes me really happy just seeing my overcrowded shelf holding all these amazing stories.
Beside art/illustration, what else do you love to do?
I love the beach and the sea. The ocean clears my mind and resets everything. Unfortunately we live a bit too far away from the coast at the moment to get a daily fix but I go to our local pool a lot, it’s a good substitute. I think I was a fish in a former life, I need to be submerged in water on a regular basis.
What words of advice would you have for anyone wanting to make their art their career?
Stick to your own style and keep at it. Get better at doing what you do best.