Meet the up-and-coming Danish illustrator whose work is winning him worldwide recognition
If you're in Copenhagen any time soon, go to the library for some inspiration. The Danish illustrator and street artist Husk Mit Navn spent weeks working on his recently-completed mural project at the Biblioteket, a new house of culture in the city. The modern building is now decorated with characters who are at least three storeys tall.
According to the artist, who's moniker translates as Remember My Name, his aim was to inject some vitality into an otherwise run-down sector of the city. "I wanted the characters to be something that you don't see on a big building every day," he explains. "It's a cultural house and a library so it should be a friendly- and fun-looking house. But I only used two colours. I didn't want it to look like a complete circus."
One of the challenges of the job was to get it right the first time. "The characters are painted on the raw concrete of the building. I could not make any mistakes and everything was painted in one take," he adds. "It's always fun to paint something that's bigger than yourself. When I work in my studio I just sit still and draw. It's good for my body to do some large-scale work, otherwise I'll just end up a studio blob."
In addition to illustration briefs and environmental visuals like the work for Biblioteket, Husk Mit Navn sells a range of character-based t-shirts on his website. He's also becoming well-known for his gallery shows. In the past few months he's done an exhibition with Horfe in Stockholm, and had a solo show in Denmark featuring murals, copper etchings, illustrations and graffiti. "I need a Christmas holiday!" he says.
His character style draws in all kinds of influences, including Walt Disney, Keith Haring and Daniel Clowes as well as numerous graffiti artists. The thick, exaggerated line work will remind you of Disney, but he brings in unique aspects with hand-rendered textures for certain elements in each image, such as the hair or fabrics. "For outside work I do simple stuff with fewer colours. I focus on the lines and the shadows and perhaps on drawing one element a different way than the rest of the painting. It can be the hair or the eyes, or something else - just to add a bit of variation. When I do works for exhibitions or other types of indoor stuff I experiment much more with the materials and way of drawing," he concludes.