10 questions with Petra Lunenburg
On this Friday the 13th we are interviewing Dutch artist Petra Lunenburg. She has just moved to an island in the UK with her family surrounded by nature and sea. We love her fashionable drawings and her signature graphic and unconventional black lines...
Hi Petra, great to have you here!
1. Tell us something about yourself.
After my degree as a fashion designer I focussed on illustration after having worked as a stylist and a graphic designer. Born and raised in Holland I have recently moved to UK/ The Isle of Wight where I am surrounded by nature/ clean air/ the ocean... not too far from London and Brighton I feel like I am on the brink of a very exciting new period in my life.
2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
As a child I loved drawing- very much inspired by my sisters as well as my mums skills. Quite early on I realised I wanted to go to art school. Not knowing exactly what to study as long as drawing was a great deal of the education. So I went for fashion design at ARTEZ. To express myself and ideas by means of a complex thing as a fashion collection I understood why drawing works for me; It is simple, it is direct and yet you I could create anything I liked.
I developed a deep love for 'lines'. Nothing more personal than a drawn line, a trace/ a record of energy in time. Looking at someones line is like crawling under his skin. I completely was blown away by the nudes - tiny line drawings by Picasso when I visited NYC for the first time.. now 25 years ago.
3. How would you describe your style?
My style is very direct. Keywords are; Handdrawn, lots of black lines, lots of white paper, Bits of colour, graphical, traditional in material choice, unconventional in line use.
4. What’s your technical/creative process?
I work almost fully analogue- always searching and improving my lines. I believe in the power of repetition. By repeating my subject it s essence will come to the surface. So I embrace the process- I never know the outcome of my images I show my audience my process. There may be 'false' lines in my drawings. They are the one leading me to the 'right' ones and are perfect to counterbalance and avoid dull perfection.
I often picture women and love life drawing to improve my skills- my seeing and my flow. I am a great deal influenced by fashion illustration- hence my education as a fashion designer. I do love the fifties and sixties illustrations f.i. by Rene Grau, fully playing with what to show and what to leave out in order for the viewer to see himself.
I start by literal drawing my subject- whether it a tree a woman or a pair of scissors. I make sure I have enough space to create easily hundreds of drawings. By repeating I am taken to the essence of my subject. Like an evolution. Within this proces the real pearls are the ones in which something unexpected is happening. I call them my perfect mutants. They go beyond anything I could foresee. If a drawings surprises me- it could be The One!
I work with oil pencils and acrylic paint, mostly on paper- I love an easy-to-apply-technique so nothing is in my way to convey my energy onto paper.
5. Who or what inspires you and your work?
I am inspired by many things. Music is definitely one of them; certain atmospheres really help me to draw. I love Prince. I love Patti Smith but also pictures of nudes or fashion silhouettes and colour uses can inspire me. Meditation helped me lot by recognising my process.
6. Which brands do you work for or do you love to work for?
I work for the denim brand Denham quite regularly. I am given the freedom to tell in my language, my lineplay , their story. The outcome I could have never done without their imput. One & one makes Three. I find their ideas refreshing and intelligent. Also all jobs for Dutch ELLE I do with great pleasure; they fully trust me- they are going along with me through my process and together we get there.
7. What is your favorite thing in the world to illustrate?
I honestly don't have that - as much as I tend to mostly draw women I believe my work comes to life when I embrace any given subject matter. In case for instance of ' The Denham - scissors' ; it turned out to be one of my most inspiring series and I can tell you I would not have picked that subject matter myself. Be humble is my device.
8. What’s your dream project?
Anything big ;) like Tracey Emin once was commissioned to design a drawn artwork applied on a British Airways airplane. As if she had been doodling on a giant rocket. The smallness of a drawing the giant proportions of a plane...a dream come true!
Then again.... I can think of so many awesome ways to apply my drawings. I could illustrate someones life, a great fashion collection or just have a decent exhibition offer.... So much I havent experienced ...yet.
9. What 3 things can't you live without?
Water & Air & (my) Sun.... quite elementary things.
10. Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists?
"Growth takes time. Be patient. Have no judgement and know that all 'failures' are taking you to where you want to be"