They are all based on reindeer and Sami culture. The Sami are the indigenous people of northern Fennoscandia (Sápmi), and their association with reindeer is recorded as long ago as 1000 BC when they were its hunters. By the 1500s they had turned to herding, and in modern day Norway they are now solely responsible for the reindeer herds.
"Despite the use of technical aids like radio communications and snowmobiles, this occupation is still adapted to the herd's annual cycles."
I've been looking at early (1900-1920s) photographs of them and I am so drawn to the cosy-looking garments, use of patterns, beautiful hats and snow! But I'm aware that they have been misrepresented in the past, and I've been doing my research so that hopefully I do get it right.
I'm also inspired by Alexander Gronsky's series of photographs Less Than One, which I saw earlier this month at Amsterdam's FOAM. His images of Russia have a stark and graphic appearance, primarily because of the amount of white snow in them. Its worth seeing for yourself: http://www.alexandergronsky.com/
(I've been reading Tintin in Tibet too, which I should also mention features a lot of snow.)
And I've been listening to Bjork:
For this project I'm working with Indian ink and mapping pen on 300gsm gummed watercolour paper, and adding colour digitally. (I've been collecting autumn leaves during my cycle to work for some colours and textures to use.)
This weekend I'm getting some nice prints made of my work, and some cards and postcards printed too, so I will be setting up the shop very soon!!
PS: Here is the black swan of Amstelpark, Amsterdam:
He is a very handsome fellow, very friendly and inquisitive if you decide to sit near the lake, but also a bit of a coward - he can often be seen being chased by a gaggle of noisy ducks and coots.
My Jazz. When I was sad, he would always find me. He would sit with me quietly while I painted, and sometimes he would let me draw him. He was a very timid cat, but he would look you right in the eyes. His brother, Hebe, would try to grab his tail when he walked past, and chase him all over the house. When they were kittens they washed each other. They were ill and abandoned, and my dad asked us which one of them we would take home, but of course we couldn't separate them. We picked their names from The She Book of Cats. Jazz was an "exciting cat". He used to sit cool as a cucumber and look at next doors dog through the wire fence and conifer trees while the dog went insane at him. He especially liked to be stroked on the forehead, on the spot just above his nose, and scratched under the chin. He would stretch out and we would stroke his soft belly and tiny ribs and he'd stretch even further, plucking with his claws. Some nights he would wake me up at 2am, miaowing and miaowing, and I'd call to him "Its alright Jazz!" and then he'd be off, back into the night. He just wanted to know we were there.
He was like a sleek black panther and I loved him.