Organic is her name, design her game: Sougwen is the girl behind these beautiful illustrations. Many contemporary designers say less is more, but this Stockholm based artist goes all out. Her fluid lines are captivating in all their twisting goodness: they twirl and plunge and lead your eye to the center of Sougwen’s universe. It’s no wonder she was worked with Google and Nike. Climbing to the top of the graphic ladder can be though, though. Tune in to hear what Sougwen has to say about growing up in Canada, her recent skateboard collabs, and what’s in her bag.
What does your name mean?
In Chinese, it means “sincere person.”
Where did you grow up?
Why/when did you make the move from Canada to Brooklyn?
I experienced an expedited move to New York to pursue a job several years ago; it was fairly rushed and mostly unanticipated. At the time, I was planning on moving to San Francisco. More recently, I’ve left Brooklyn to live in Stockholm for a spell.
Are you formally trained in illustration/design?
I have a BFA in Design, but I consider myself to be auto-didactic in regards to the type of work I make.
Do you draw from visual references or purely from imagination?
My graphic work to date is driven by a fascination with the investigative process of seeing. In other words, through having one mark inform the next mark. Usually, a piece develops on the page using this process. As a result, the type of drawing I practice has a strong emphasis on improvisation and experimentation.
A few months ago, I participated in a collective drawing performance for TWiN Studios in New York. Video of my drawing to their playlist can be seen here, which documents how one of my illustration develops through mark-making. Also, I’ve been cataloging some fragments from my sketchbook here.
How much time do you spend with each piece?
I usually finish multiple studies and experiments before stumbling onto the beginnings of something I’d consider a piece or a series.
Do you work primarily in a digital format or by hand?
I begin by hand.
What kind of art direction have you done?
I’ve art directed projects for companies ranging from corporate entities to start-ups, record labels to skate companies. Most recently, I’ve been responsible for the new PercussionLab.com, an online community dedicated to curated and user submitted sets. In addition, both Ian Lynam and I are responsible for designing limited edition decks for OPEN Skateboards, which will be available for purchase soon. A few upcoming projects involve another collaboration with Ghostly International and some new socially minded and philanthropically oriented work.
Creatively, however, I’m looking forward to switching gears a bit and experimenting with a new medium in the near future.
What’s the best part about your current job?
I like that my job is intuitive, collaborative, and I can do it well from anywhere in the world.
What would you do differently if you could turn back the clock?
Ask me in 25 years.
What does your living space look like right now?
I’m spending the next little while traveling through the US, Canada, China, and eventually ending up in Stockholm, Sweden. In my shoulder bag, I’m carrying a Macbook Pro, Digital SLR camera, flatbed scanner, drawing pad, and pens.
What’s your favorite thing to spend money on?
What are you most passionate about?
I’m not entirely sure yet, actually.
What drives you to create?
To purchase prints of Sougwen’s work, please visit: http://www.inprnt.com/profile/1522
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