Nord Projects // Josefin Holmgren
Beauty comes in all shapes and forms. As the minimalist I am, I find that some of the most beautiful creations I come across are as minimal and abstract as can be. One purveyor of such beauty is Josefin Holmgren, an aspiring young Swede with the same penchant for the purist and paired down.
Having developed her distinct style over the past few years, she took a plunge earlier this year and set up her own brand of art prints - Nord Projects.
Her carefully curated brush strokes and muted colour palette portrays human emotions and nature, that through dynamic motions, are translated into ethereal organic shapes. I absolutely adore the level of abstraction and wanted to know more about how this young woman works:
1// Who are you?
My name is Josefin Holmgren and I am the person behind Nord Projects. I grew up in the north of Sweden but have lived in Gothenburg for the past ten years, studying and working within design. I am currently working full-time in a car design studio and am running Nord Projects on the side.
2 // When you were a little girl, what aspirations did you have?
My dream was actually to be a doctor!
3 // How did your illustrator career start and how has your journey been up until today?
It depends what you count as the start of my career - I’ve always loved to paint and create and have studied art & design and or a few years now I have been designing and selling different types of prints and original work just for fun under my own name. I have explored everything from sculptures and abstract oil/acrylic paintings, to realistic charcoal portraits and digital art, as I enjoy all types of creation.
However, it wasn’t until earlier this year, that I finally decided to give it a proper go, so I started Nord Projects and created the brand and set up a website.
4 // Most of your artwork is very organic, what is your main source of inspiration?
The human being and nature, for sure. The human body and everything that is human, with our feelings and imperfections, our relationships and emotions, is very beautiful to me. I like to try to capture fractions of life - the situations when you feel genuinely happy and you just want to stop time, or the struggles and the everyday monotonous routines. All these moments are a part of life - So with the organic shapes from the human body or nature, combined with a specific color or brush technique, I try to express these different emotions.
6 // Could you describe what your technique is and how you have developed it?
To start with I was exploring mostly with traditional oil and charcoal, but when starting to share my work and selling art prints, I always felt that the quality of the prints never lived up to the quality of the original, so I started exploring digital art instead, so to have better control of the quality. So now most of my artwork is created digitally with pressure sensitive brushes.
7 // How is the process from idea to finished illustration?
The process never looks the same, but I seem to switch between two different approaches - Sometimes my eyes will catch a shape that I like and will start experimenting this shape with different brushes and techniques to get the expression that I am looking for. Other times I know from the beginning what type of feeling and style I want to express, so then I go down the route of exploring these different shapes until I’m happy with the result.
8 // What is your favorite part of this process and why?
My favourite part must be when I find that creative flow, which is so motivating and inspiring, as well as the feeling I get when everything in a drawing seems to be falling into place.
9 // What is your future aspirations for Nord Projects?
I would love to get the opportunity to show more sides of my creative work. I can’t say more right now, other than that I’m very excited about the future.
10 // And finally, what career advice would you give to others looking to follow the same path as you?
Just do it! It will be a slow process in the beginning, but start small while you’re still doing something else to build your foundation, and take it from there. But the main thing is just to start and then to continue to follow your aspirations.