Selected to partake in Mindcraft – Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi's exhibition which highlighted creators from Denmark – during Salone del Mobile, Danish designer Louise Campbell presented her drawing series Open 1, 2 and 3. The set of three 300cm by 261cm explorations result Campbell's unpredictable deviations from a single set of rules. With a red felt-tip pen in hand, Campbell maintains an underlying baseline grid of 24 horizontal and 54 vertical creases but manipulates the line quality and spacing for uniquely diversified results. Campbell takes a moment to share with us about the Open drawing's creation as well as some insight into her creative process:
Were these drawings a study for another idea or project?
Louise Campbell: The Open drawings were made for their own sake but were initially inspired by doodles made during a particularly challenging meeting. Before the huge drawings came, half a dozen much smaller versions already explored the idea of basing each drawing on the same amount of horizontal and vertical folds placed within the same sized paper area, but allowing the free movements of the pen to vary the outcome of each drawing. With the smaller drawings, I had some control of the result. I could decide from the onset whether they were to flow in a direction of choice or not. I moved on to the large scale to take away this choice. When working so slowly within the chosen limitations on such a large area, bit by bit, the overall control was greatly reduced, meaning that I had to wait until finished with each drawing to read the landscape the pens had made.
Are drawings a tool to articulate your ideas or is it a form of personal expression?
I sketch to articulate my ideas all the time. My sketches almost always look like shit, yet function well as a means of first thinking, then communicating. I draw to get to the bottom of something by myself. Things happen when staying with pen and paper, which I can't make happen elsewhere.
Do you have preferred drawing medium? Is the red your pen colour of choice?
I have quite an obsession with pens and the Open project certainly allowed me to dwell on this, having gone through several hundred pens of many different types whilst drawing. Among my favorites, to nerd awhile, are the Faber-Castell broaden 1554, the Pilot v-pen (a lovely fountain pen), the Pilot v-Signpen, the Staedtler lumocolour in various thicknesses (although these dry out too fast), the Paper Mate liquid Expresso and the Paper Mate Flair.
The colour Red has been a dominant feature of my work for a couple of years. I am slowly preparing a number of works all made in red for an exhibition project I hope to find time to complete within the next couple of years. The open drawings are the first really finished works in this collection.
Is there a special moment and environment in which you like to draw or is anytime a good time to let the creativity flow?
There are very few moments or places not suitable for sketching. I would much prefer people around me sketching than fiddling with their phones or other digital machines. Sketching opens us to our surroundings, it makes us alert and observant, whether we are looking down or not. Drawing, on the other hand, the way I do it, is extremely time consuming and requires a different level of focus and concentration. My drawings are usually made during long, dark winter evenings where it can seem almost natural to become as dull as the darkness and just draw.