The Most Interesting and Inspiring Thing is to Combine Different Personal Styles – Interview with Gina Thorstensen

Norwegian multifaceted artist who works in very diverse fields such as illustration, wall painting, sculpture, puppets, animation and video art.

You tried a lot of art forms: illustration, animation, wall painting, sculpture, etc. Is it difficult to change your mindset when you change a technique?

I have always been switching between different artforms so it doesn’t feel like I change my mindset much. My work has mainly come from a personal place where I have created without a lot of direction from outside.

I think that is why I have touched so many different artforms too; as it has come from a desire to explore materials and techniques and create some kind of connections and feelings without knowing exactly why and where I am heading.

Lately I am trying to work in a more structured way, as I want to tell stories and convey some more specific ideas, and that requires a very different mindset which is challenging for me. But I will keep insisting as it feels necessary in order to make my work evolve in a way that still inspires and satisfies me.

Music video is a commissioned work. How can you make it as an auteur, which shows your personal style?

I think it depends on the kind of project and who commissions it and whether they are willing to trust you in the process. The first music video I made, in collaboration with Nacho Rodríguez, was a friendly low-budget collaboration with the Spanish band Pumuky and we did it to play around and have fun. It probably made the standard for later commissions, because everyone who contacted us wanted our personal universe and gave us freedom to work in our own way. I usually make it clear before taking on a project that I need to work with artistic freedom and that I will show very little work in progress. For me, that makes the creative process better and therefore gives a better result. I obviously want people to be happy with the result and feel the video is right for their music, so I prefer spending more time before production together with the musicians to understand what the song is about and what they want to be expressed in the video. With that base I can do my best to add my art and style to the project.

How can you cooperate with other artists when you have such a unique personal style?

I love working together with other artists and I think it is the most interesting and inspiring thing to combine different personal styles. I suppose it can be more difficult sometimes, because combining very different styles is not always a straightforward process, but usually I think the result will be richer and more complex if you manage to bring together contrasting ideas and expressions.

Gina Thorstensen on Primanima in 2019

Have you worked on a feature animation before Anca Damian’s 'Marona's Fantastic Tale'? How was it different from working on short films or music videos?

It was the first time I followed a feature film from the development to the end of production. The big difference was of course the very long process and that it went through so many stages and people with different expertise to actually end up as a movie. I am not used to that level of professionalism from my own projects and I learned a lot on the way. On the other hand, I do not think this movie followed a very conventional process for animated feature films. Anca believes in a different and more philosophical approach to the creative process, which is more similar to my own, so in that sense I´ve felt very at home during the work on this film.

Gina Thorstensen's visual design for Anca Damian's movie 'Marona's Fantastic Tale'

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