Illustrator and artist Malin Koort lives in Uppsala, Sweden, and spends her time creating miniature enchanting worlds out of paper. We couldn’t wait to find out more…
1. What made you want to become an illustrator or artist?
I was studying to become a teacher when I started drawing in my early 20s and realised that I really wanted to do something creative. So I went to art school and pretty early on I decided that I wanted to work as an illustrator. Most of all it was my love of drawing and storytelling that made it such an easy decision for me.
2. What is it about paper as a medium to work with that appeals to you?
I really like making illustrations in 3D. I like that so much can happen with the mood and everything else just by changing the light and focus when you’re photographing. You can move around the different objects in the illustration, and in that way tell a different story. I also like the simple things, like cutting a perfectly round shape with the scissors.
3. What is the most challenging aspect about working with paper? Be honest – how often do you get paper cuts?
Haha, I actually never get paper cuts. The coloured paper that I use doesn’t have those sharp edges. The most challenging part is that it’s quite time consuming and therefore not really optimal when making – for example magazine illustrations. But I love working with all different aspects of it, from drawing the sketches, to building the images, lighting and photographing. So I wouldn’t want it any other way!
4. Who or what were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
I was probably mostly influenced by the illustrations in the picture books I read as a kid, we read constantly! And also by the artwork I came across around the house and at my grandmother’s house, a lot of Matisse and Chagall-prints. My other grandmother lived in this really old, atmospheric house with a 70’s interior, which was also an early influence for me. Bold orange tiles in the bathroom and brown flower patterned curtains.
5. Do you think living in Uppsala has helped shape the kind of work you do?
Living in Uppsala (a university-town in the middle of Sweden) is great for me! I used to live in Stockholm, but the pace is slower here and living is less expensive, you can walk to wherever you’re going. I think that has been good for my creativity, I am less stressed and I hear my creative thoughts better.
6. What 5 things can’t you live without?
Coffee, licorice, my friends, my family and my dog!
7. Who/what is inspiring you right now?
I rent a studio from a group of artists. Watching them work is really inspiring, not just because they make great things, but because they seem to be driven by pure creativity. I consider myself to be an illustrator and not an artist, meaning I mostly illustrate something someone else has written (for example an article in a magazine), that sparks creativity in me, and I love working, but I don’t know if I would get much done unless someone gave me an assignment. Being around genuine artistic creation is the best kind of inspiration.
8. When are you happiest?
When I’m with my friends, when I’m walking in the woods with my dog and when I’m in the middle of some creative project.
9. What do you think it takes to make a good artist?
I think the most important thing is to try to believe in what you are doing. To not look around to see what everyone else is doing. It’s hard to say anything without it sounding cliché, but working hard and ”staying true” to who you are can get you far I think? And when it feels like you are stuck, just keep working.
10. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I feel very creative lately, and I hope to keep that feeling. I am exploring new work opportunities and hope to have more time to do my own projects as well. I would really love to make a paper children’s book for example!