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Sofie is an illustrator and animation film director based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the past fifteen years Sofie has done everything from editorial illustration to comics, advertising to book productions.

She received her Bachelors Degree in 2014 from The Animation Workshop in Denmark.

Q. Tell us a little about your background. 

A: I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. None of my parents are artist, and besides my grandmother embroidering and creating little creatures of seashells, twigs and other things she found in the wild, it can't find any obvious source of inspiration or explanation for my early passion for creating and drawing. I was an only child for 6 years, and I used to spend endless hours with comic books, paper, crayons. Anything that allowed me to immersive myself in another universe, really. Not that I didn't enjoy the one I was in, I've just always been very curious I guess.  

I've always drawn and illustrated, but my educational background is in animation. I directed a short film called Tsunami, which is still some of what I'm the most proud of. I feel like the deeper understanding of storytelling I acquired working with film really took my "still" art to another level. To me, the best art tells very compelling stories. I think it needs to evoke an emotional response beyond just being visually stimulating I guess. 

Q. You are quite the traveller, which country was your favourite and why?

A. That's so tricky! I find that every country I've been to has given me something different, if nothing else it has put other countries and experiences into perspective. I do have a seemingly never ending love affair with Japan though. The contrasts in everything are staggering, and fascinating. Old vs. new, tradition vs. rebellion, simplicity vs. abundance, tranquility vs. bustle. It seems to me that everything in Japan is turned to 11, so to speak.   

Q. We would all love to know, what happened that inspired the series of “Noodle Nymphs”? 

A. Basically, I think they've somehow become my brains attempt at illustrating how many of my experiences with Japanese people and cultures have been around a combination of art and food. I think that it can be very tricky to get under the skin of a culture very different to your own in the short period that make up most peoples visits. I was lucky to spend a little over 6 months first time I went to Japan, and ended up speaking a little bit of VERY basic Japanese by the end. But still there seemed to be this barrier between me and the Japanese people.

I was so keen to get beyond the surface, and after a failed attempt at just that, one evening dining by myself in a small yakitori restaurant in Shibuya, I made a break through. I'd been trying to communicate using English, the ten Japanese phrases I knew, and grimasses and sounds. The owner spoke no English, and was starting to display some irritations towards my attempts at bonding. Slightly defeated I decided to make him a little sketch, illustrating the food I had had, and thanking him for the meal. When I gave this to him with the bill, any sign of a barrier between us completely evaporated, and I ended up with him and his two co workers in their local izakaya, drinking umeshi and eating sashimi for a whole evening. Not being able to exchange anything using words somehow became insignificant, and it was such an amazing evening. There are some languages that seem to be universal, and I think art and food are two of those languages. I'm sure there are more, music is an obvious choice. But I speak art and food much better than music.   

Q. What kind of message are you trying to express through your artwork?

A: To be perfectly honest, this is not something I'm giving too much thought. I'm trying to let my subconscious do that work for me - I find that my work becomes stiff and forced when I try too hard to put a message or headline on it. I receive the strongest reactions to the motifs that kind of just find their own way out of my brain. 

Q. What kind of advice would you give those who want to be a contemporary artist?

A: This is going to be really tough without sounding very cliché. I don't feel like I'm in any kind of position to give anybody advice on this. But I think that something a lot of people (myself included) is struggling with is the relation between our art, and social media. I think it's important to make art for art's sake, not to feed the feed so to speak. Stick to what you do, post when you have something you feel proud posting, don't chase the likes, or consider the algorithms' demand of frequent posting to increase your popularity. It's worth nothing if you're not in it yourself.

Q. What kind of future projects have you got planned?

A. Right now I'm back in animation for a bit, directing again for a tv series. 

I feel like shuffling still - and moving pictures really keeps me on my toes. I'd love to create more of my noodle nymph foodie ladies, and of course travel and get inspired! 

Thank you Sofie it was a pleasure speaking to you.

Make sure you follow his progress by following her on social media

Instagram: @sofiekampmark

Next Who's Next? article - 18th April 2019.


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