“These scenes reflect my past, present and future,” Marzia Kjellberg takes us behind her calming new works
Marzia Kjellberg has once more turned real-life places into soothing artwork. Depicting three locations she holds a connection to, the artist explores her past, present, and future, "as well as the feelings associated with each stage," in a series titled Time.
Brighton-based illustrator, Maì Accents-founder, Evermade favourite, and creative all-rounder Marzia Kjellberg tends to create "calming and colourful art, favouring quiet, still places," says the artist. But for Time, Marzia says she's "experimenting with simplifying colour and shapes" while still depicting sceneries based on her own photographs. At Evermade, we couldn't be more excited to reveal her new works - familiar landscapes that break fresh stylistic ground.
For Marzia, Time all started with a revisited artwork: "the idea came from an old watercolour of mine which I simplified quite a bit by layering colourful shapes." Moving away from the sense of realism her practice often evokes, "the result here is more minimal and graphic," Kjellberg says.
The final collection comprises three works: Laghi, Italy, a print portraying Marzia's hometown, Camber Sands, UK, spotlighting a coastal spot near her current home, and Kyūhōjiguchi Station, Japan, representing new horizons for the artist. While the latter distills the feeling of adventure Marzia felt on her first trip to Osaka, Laghi and Camber Sands capture moments of serenity for the artist. We think all three are perfect daydream material, full of gently sloping linework, soft composition, and tones of spring and summer.
To get to grips with her newest prints, we caught up with Marzia and talked Maì Accents, Monet, and moving to Japan.
What creative projects have you been working on recently?
This year for me has begun with lots of artist collaborations, which are always a lot of fun, and I also have been working on new ceramics for Spring, learning about candle making, and spent lots of time knitting!
It's been almost a year since our last interview! How has your style and practice evolved since then?
In the last year, I’ve focused on expanding the product range I offer in my shop, which resulted in learning some new craft, whilst also spending time refining old skills. Unfortunately, due to Covid, I currently work from a tiny corner beneath my staircase, which limits my ability to create at my fullest, but I’m extremely thankful that I can still work from home and I look forward to a proper workshop in the future.
How do you typically approach an illustration?
I still like to base my illustrations on my photographs, and oftentimes I keep a sense of realness to them, whilst infusing my drawings with a sense of tranquility and more saturated colours. However, for this series, the idea came from an old watercolour of mine, in which I simplified the image quite a bit: the result is more minimal and graphic, achieved through layering colourful shapes.
When did your love for illustration first begin?
All throughout my education, art class was always my favourite. I remember clearly when, in middle school, my paintings were selected for an exhibition and I was so thrilled to see them hung up on a wall. I always liked drawing and although during high school I found myself mostly focusing on the historical side of art, vs actually practicing it myself, I eventually reconnected with this old passion a few years ago, which I find so relaxing.
Could you tell us more about Time and the three places it features?
I’ve chosen to depict the countries I feel most connected to: Italy is my homeland; England is where I’ve spent most of my adulthood; and Japan is where I hope to start a new chapter of my life.
Laghi, located in the Vicenza province (where I am originally from), is a mountain town that houses less than 130 people, yet it’s one of the most striking spots I ever got to spend time in, so it felt right to shine the spotlight on this hidden gem. Although I visited on a rainy winter day, whenever I think of Italy, I think of a warm, safe space I can always go back to, which I tried to translate into this idyllic sunset scene.
Camber Sands is a coastal area in East Sussex, not far to Brighton & Hove, where I currently live. In the winter, you barely see any people around, and standing on top of the sandy dunes is so freeing - not to mention the spectacular sunsets you get to experience from up there. I often drive there, to walk for hours near the shore with my dogs, and cross the grassy fields. It gives me this comfortable and serene feeling, which is very much something I’ve come to know as I’ve spent more and more time in England.
When I went to Osaka, my husband and I ended up lost for part of the day. It was our first time there, and we felt it could be fun to wander around without following an itinerary, nor a map. We had no clue where we were going, but that was part of the adventure! Generally, when thinking of Japan, my mind goes to busy Tokyo; yet I chose to illustrate this station, as to me, Japan represents a new chapter of my life I have yet to explore. Something that excites me, but that’s also unfamiliar, and can’t wait to discover.
Photo of Camber Sands by Marzia
Who are some of the first artists who inspired you?
Impressionism was the first movement I fell in love with (Monet in particular): I remember how exciting and refreshing the technique was, especially coming from studying the more traditional paintings. The way they were able to capture a fleeting moment so perfectly, yet not being after perfection itself, was so inspiring. The dreamy landscapes, the infusion of light into the canvas, and the depiction of everyday scenes really made Impressionists’ pieces stand out to me.
What do you sketch for fun?
My time is divided between tasks needed to run my shop and product designing, that normally, I find myself mostly sketching when I’m on long phone calls. I always have my notebook nearby, and I mindlessly draw animals, flowers, or weather-related scenes… and then put cute faces on everything, of course.
Photo of Laghi by Marzia
Tell us more about Maì Accents! What sparked the concept behind your creative brand?
My intent with Maì was to create a space for myself where I could simply create. In fact, my main passion is to create. I wouldn’t be able to pick an individual craft, so having the opportunity to work on a different project without limiting myself, is very important to me. It started with ceramics and jewellery, and over time it has expanded to illustrations, homeware and clothing.
What have you learned so far from your journey with Mai Accents, and what's the most fulfilling part of the process?
That you are never done learning, that there is so much to be inspired by, and endless ways to create something new! It was a pretty steep learning curve, in the beginning, as starting a business requires you to focus on the logistics - which at times, takes away from the creative and fun aspect of it all. But it has been incredibly rewarding, and every single time I am ready to launch something new, I get so excited! Nothing compares to the feeling of holding something you created yourself, and being able to make more so that others can enjoy it too, it makes me truly happy!
Photo of Kyūhōjiguchi Station by Marzia
The final print of the series of Kyūhōjiguchi Station explores your upcoming move to Japan! What everyday experiences are you looking forward to most?
The thought of stumbling across new neighbourhoods, looking at the Tokyo skyline at night, and cooking/learning lots of new dishes are just a few of the things I daydream about!
What aspects of Japanese culture inspire your practice?
I admire how devoted Japanese people appear to be to improve their skills, and the pride they take in their job. Their attention to detail and craft is immaculate. If I am being honest, I’m not the most detail-oriented person, so I definitely want to improve on that myself!
What's something new you'd like to try this year?
Painting one-off, larger pieces. I have never tried that, so if I ever have enough space, I would love to have a go at it.
Marzia's graphic new collection is now available for purchase from Evermade.
Discover more of Marzia's creative work here.
All images courtesy of artist.