An Interview with Nicole Gustafsson.
The People’s Printshop, in anticipation of tomorrow’s (Friday, April 4th) print release, recently interviewed artist Nicole Gustafsson:
1. Hello Nicole, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska and spent most my time running around the park by our house, playing video games, and drawing. My life now pretty much mirrors all my favorite things as a kid. Visiting parks and camping are something that I love to do and video games are pretty much a daily conversation in our house. I am currently a full time artist and recently made the move from Nebraska to the Pacific Northwest and live in Washington (those trees were calling me!).
2. Your work is very playful and reminds me of several of my own childhood fascinations such as the young-adult series “Redwall” by author Brian Jacques. Did and does literature have an effect on your work?
Literature has always been a big part of my life. As a kid I always looked forward to our library summer reading program (where you read as many books as you possibly could for some kind of prize) and that love of books never left me. Lately I’ve been revisiting some classics like “The Swiss Family Robinson”, “Jungle Book”, and “Frankenstein,” and they all make their way into my work in some way or another. Following a character through the discovery of their world in literature is really wonderful and world-building/character development is something that I try to apply to my paintings when I’m creating a piece.
3. What about video games?
I love video games. I tend to gravitate towards old school NES games as my favorites, but the indy gaming scene in recent years has been doing such amazing creative work. It’s hugely inspiring. Games like “Journey” literally brought me to tears and the mixture of music, visuals, and knowing that it is ME moving that character about is such an ultimate combo. It’s a really exciting time for video game development. I can’t wait to see what people create.
4. With your film based pop culture work, how do you go about creating a piece, from choosing a film to what aspect of it you’ll portray?
With my pop culture inspired work I always like to watch the movie (and read the book if it’s based off a book originally) and have it freshly on my mind. Even movies that I’ve seen many times I will re-watch before I create a piece based off it. That and “having” to watch a movie for a recap is the best homework ever. I try to choose films that I have a good connection with… something I’m nostalgic for or just really loved the storyline.
5. What initially drew you to doing a piece on The Life Aquatic, is it your favorite Wes Anderson film?
I am a huge Bill Murray fan and I love his character in The Life Aquatic. It’s one of those movies that I love more and more every time I watch it. The details and reoccurring themes in Wes Anderson films are really wonderful and that’s what kept drawing me back to The Life Aquatic. As far as my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tennenbaums and The Life Aquatic are tied for me (don’t make me choose!).
6. Where does “Nimasprout” come from?
I wanted a studio name that encompassed all my projects, so I used my first two initials “ni” plus my husband’s first two initials “ma” and used “sprout” as an ending. I wanted to reference growth in someway so using “sprout” was our way of thinking to the future.
7. What do you think helps maintain a healthy imagination?
I feel like surrounding yourself with creativity and things you love is one of the best ways to keep your imagination going. Also it’s important to go out. I’m pretty much a hermit, so it’s a bit of an effort for me to leave my house but it’s really important to expand your horizons and immerse yourself in new sights, new food, and new things for your senses. Go to the library and check out some books (just grab something off the shelf, don’t worry about researching it first), take a walk in the park, or try that new restaurant that opened up around the corner.
8. With inspiration, what’s the strangest place you’ve found some?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard one. I think lately I’ve been really digging fun hair styles. Pastel color hair, neon highlights, interesting cuts… I keep seeing really awesome hairdos and they’ve made their way into my artwork lately. I think anytime I see someone rocking their creative side it’s pretty awesome.
9. Do you have a favorite snack to snack on while painting?
I really dig string cheese. It’s something that’s always in the house and a good snack that doesn’t get crumbs all over. That and dark chocolate of course.