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Ditte Gantriis – Illustrator and Artist

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Ditte’s selfportrait

Was born the 3th of May 1980 and lives in New York. She studied Visual Communication at the Danish Design School and went to the Academy of Fine Arts at The Funen. She started at an early age making drawings sitting next to her mother who also is an illustrator. Her family has always been creative with music, art, illustration and design and this is probably where she got her creativity. She has created illustrations for a Danish erotic boutique, held an exhibition called “A Note on Cravings” at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel in New York during The Armory Show and her next project is to make a series of artwork for the Soho Grand Hotel in New York and many other exiting projects will follow.

What is the best time of day?
Night time for sure, the hours between 12 – 4 am.

What is illustration to you?
A lot of fun! My work is one of the things I enjoy the most.

Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?
Actually yes. I guess it has to do with my family background, they’re all kind of crazy hahaha and very creative within music, art, illustration and design. My mom’s an illustrator and so was my grand dad. As a child my mom had her studio at home and I remember having my own space there too, like a table and stuff next to hers. So when she was working I was sitting at my own table drawing and making up stories about my drawings.

When did you start?
I can’t remember not drawing. As a child and as a teenager I spent most of my time at home drawing. I guess I was a nerd or something. Professionally I would say about 4 years ago, -after my bachelor.

What is the most important job your work shall fulfill?

Well, I guess it is to combine my skills with my clients visions. But it depends if I’m doing fine art or illustration, the difference can be quite big actually. But both are basically about communication whether it’s your own art or a job for a client.

Do you feel like a danish designer or as part of a global setup?

Since my clients are not only Danish I would say global even though living abroad makes you aware of and appreciate your origin values, both work -and personwise.

Describe your style as a good friend would describe it.

Actually this is how a friend of mine described my work when I showed him my latest drawings:

’’With a nod to russian constructivism, art deco and 50s illustration styles, these new works explore the fragmentation and reconstruction of narrative, gender and identity as fractured wholes.’’

What is definetly not your style?

Abstract oilpaintings, street art and performanceart.

Where do you find inspiration?

I get inspired from anything from early Cronenberg movies to a beautiful pattern on a mug in a thriftstore, from the view on my rooftop, from reading a book about someones work or about a certain era, from studying someones nose in the subway, from music.. I don’t know. I’m like a sponge when it comes to inspiration.

Favourite magazine?

Purple Magazine, Interview, DotDotDot, love Lettres layout, McSweeney’s and The Believer –the last one most because of Charles Burns illustrationwork.

What kind of music do you hear right now?

Right now, let me see.. The last songs played on my iPod are Lindsay de Paul: Sugar Me, Fagget Fairys: Feed the Horse and Nina Simone: He Needs Me. Wow what a weird mix..

Do you have a muse?

No not a muse like one person.

Who’s your hero?

My hero.. workwise it’s definately Charles Burns. Personwise… Well I’m almost sure that if I’d met him, my answer would be the same! Yesterday I found this large scale speciel edition print of his in a small bookstore in Brooklyn and it’s so f.. amazing. I love his work so much that I’m starting to feel like a 15 yearold TakeThat teenage fan screaming and going all crazy. I’m not sure that’s a good sign!

Is there a person/company you would love to make illustrations to?

Kiki de Montparnasse — I secretly dream of doing a mural in their store on Spring and Greene. Also fashionbrands like Whyred or Acne / AcnePaper would be awesome.

How do you start on a new project?

I’m always working even when I’m not. Meaning when not drawing, creating or producing I read theory, research, trying to always stay in touch with what inspires me etc. In that way I kinda always have a base for new projects or new ideas.

When I start a new project I narrow down my sources of inspiration depending on what project I’m working on. In my research fase I’m more analyzing and conceptually aware of the exact direction I want to take.

Where do you work on your illustrations and projects?

Within the last year I have almost nonstop been traveling between Copenhagen, Berlin and New York. There are both good and bad things about this. Inspirationwise it’s a big boost but the logistic side to it, can be somewhat complicated. My work is where I am and so far I have somehow managed to get myself a workingspace up and going no matter city or country. That said I couldn’t do it without the support from good friends and fellow artists.

When I return to Copenhagen for the summer I’ll be working in a studiospace in the old Carlsberg Brewery.

Do you discuss your work with other illustrators?

Yes! I always discuss my work with collegues and friends that are somehow related to my field of work.

How do other illustrators work affect yours?

Not much really, I try not to look too much into the work of my favourite illustrators and artists.

Which challenges have you met in your work?

The biggest challenges: to find my signature style, my concept. That’s still a challenge, but in a good way. But it’s also a challenge to learn how to manoeuvre within the whole buisness. It can be very complicated and confusing sometimes.

Describe an evolution in your work, ?from your first projects to the present day.

Working as an artist there is or should always be evolution, if not you end up repeating your self . When I started out, my style was very experimental within its own universe. Today I think I‘m getting closer to having a signature style.

I have a concept that are at the base of what I do, whether it’s illustration fine art or both.

Which project has given you the most satisfaction?

My recent show; A Note on Cravings on TriBeCa Grand during the Armory show in New York in collaboration with ArtRemix. I worked so so hard and I was –still am, very satisfied with the result.

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?

Work hard and be nice to people.

What’s the next project?

The current one is a serie of artwork for the Soho Grand Hotel here in New York and the next ones are murals in studiospaces both in Chelsea and Greenpoint and maybe one in Philly too.

What are you affraid of regarding the future?

To wake up one day and find my self a bitter person.