"SOLO but together" - the message is a testament to the times we live in. Putting emphasis on self-care and self-love through the thick of a pandemic, while looking out for the many societal- and systemic issues we are facing as a community. It's not always easy to decide where to focus your energy, but a good place to start is by putting a smile on people's faces with the worry-free illustrations scandi artist Tuva Belfrage dropped on the back of our new shirts!
Hi Tuva, give us a little introduction!
Hey! My name is Tuva, 27 years old. I'm 50/50 Swedish and Norwegian, from the eastern part of Oslo. I’m living in Copenhagen, moved here 7 years ago.
I am currently doing my masters in Graphic Communication at the Royal Danish Academy. Besides school, I’m working for a danish music festival. I am doing their graphics and illustration and in my precious me-time, I draw and paint as much as I can. I’m trying to ﬁnd the balance in my work between being artistic and commercial.
How would you describe your work & style?
Playful, full of humour, and not perfect at all. My work can be very messy, but still simple. I have never been a perfectionist, so my style has been developed over years of frustration of trying to create something perfect and then I kind of giving up and just doing it how I wanted to do it and surprisingly people actually liked it. My work is a way of expressing myself visually since I've never been an expert with words.
What is your workﬂow like, what do you use to draw, design & print?
I like to work with analogue techniques and not overproduce stuﬀ. Keep it more limited somehow and avoid using digital printing. I have my favourite pencil that I have been using for many years now, it is an ink-pen that is diﬃcult to control the strokes with - so the outcome of the illustration gets more dynamic and the unperfected stroke ﬁts my visually language. And the same applies for printing. When I print something I use the silk-screen printing technique. It is analogue printing, so every poster becomes unique, sometimes it gets messy and unperfected - I love that. The silkscreen studio at my school is like my yoga studio, it is very peaceful for me.
"I love visualizing the skateboard-scene because it is full of diversity, sister- & bromance, action and courage."
What’s your relationship to skateboarding?
In Norway, I used to snowboard a lot. Then I moved to the ﬂattest country in the world, so I had to ﬁnd something to replace my love for snowboarding - Skateboarding. I was introduced to a group of girls that skated in Copenhagen, and I have never felt so welcome into a community as I did with this one. I still prefer to have snow under my board, but being introduced to this community has really inspired me in my work. I love visualizing the skateboard-scene because it is full of diversity, sister- & bromance, action and courage - and it is inspiring turning it into visual stories.
What was your favourite project you got to work on or brand you got to work with?
That would be the onsite production for "Musik I Lejet" in 2019. I’ve been doing their graphics for 6 years now, but that year was special. I got to build my illustrations on a scale of 6 meters tall, together with my best friend and a group of lovely guys. The best with this project was that it was low budget so we had to cut it out ourselves, so the outcome became very home-made. It was so much joy building these characters and amazing to work with such a big scale, and see your visual work in an outdoor setting like this and not just on paper or digital.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I deﬁnitely ﬁnd inspiration in my obsessions and people around me. I visualize simple stories that people can see themselves in, sometimes in a whole other way than I expected it - that makes it so much fun. You can clearly tell from my Instagram feed what I am currently obsessed with. Right now it's dogs.
"It doesn’t matter if you are a female, male, a child, a grown-up, a dog, a cat."
What’s the idea behind the SOLO shirts back print, how did you approach the design?
The T-shirt was a good way to step away from the dog obsession and enter another community that I love. I approached it through my view of skateboarding. Skateboarding can be stereotyped, so I wanted to create something that symbolized the diverse community which skateboarding is all about. It doesn’t matter if you are a female, male, a child, a grown-up, a dog, a cat - everyone is welcome and we help each other to become better. It has this “taking over the world” kind of vibe that I like, a lot of power and movement.