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Emelie Sandahl

Emelie Sandahl is starting to realize that, "you don’t become an artist because you want to, you do it because you have to." Her meticulous, thought out designs are the result of this mantra. Even though design comes intuitively to her, her process is very researched based. 

Tell us about yourself! What’s your name and where are you from
My name is Emelie and I’m from Malmö in the south of Sweden.

How did you get started with You have a “theoretical, critical-based approach” to
design. Tell us about your design process!

Well.. at the moment I separate my art from my design. I am an opinionated person and design is my way of making my voice heard. When I design Im not very interested in making things that are purely pretty. I don't think we can afford for all designers in the world to keep just making pretty things any more. I definitely think we need to rethink our roles as designers and what responsibility comes with it. Im not saying I don't love pretty things, I really do! But it’s not my main focus in my work. I love the idea of using design as a way to raise questions about equality, injustices and breaking norms.

So when it comes to art I guess thats where I allow myself to just let it all go. It's a way for me to be creative and relax and not follow any rules. When I make my art I try and clear my mind and be free(if we ever are). My art has meaning to me and is full of emotions, but anyone looking at it is free to feel what ever they feel. Or don't feel! I will not tell them what it is they are looking at, or how to feel when they look at it. I secretly wish I made political art full of criticism, but at the moment it's like there is no more room for that after designing that way all day.

My process is pretty much always the same, in both art and design. It is very up and down and all over the place. It’s full of doubt and self-hatred and frustration. I used to hate the process when I was younger but now I know failure is part of the process and I’m much less worried about it now. In the end I trust myself and my abilities and I almost always love the end result! Then when it’s finished I stare at it until I hate it again.

When did you know design was your one true calling?
I'm not so sure it is, haha! I don't know if we get one true calling? Or.. Im sure some people feel that way but I don’t. I would’ve loved to work in gardening or anything with plants. And I almost became a teacher. I was scared to apply to design schools but then I felt like I needed to try and apply because otherwise I would never know. Maybe that is a true calling? haha! Design and art is very intuitive and emotional to me. I love that it is something that comes from inside my mind, and it is so much fun doing it! But then people look at it and judge it, often without complete understanding of everything that went in to it. People would never look at and judge works of most other professions that way. Positive or negative feedback can be both exhausting and overwhelming a lot of the time. I heard someone say "you don’t become an artist because you want to, you do it because you have to." I’m starting to think that's true.

You have a diploma in interior design and styling. How has that influenced what you do today?

I do! I studied interior design in Sydney witch was amazing and I learned so much about my process and the basics of design there. I do love interiors and styling and it is a big interest of mine. Ironically enough it was after that course I realized I don't want to work with design only in the traditional sence.

You’re also studying sustainable development! Tell us a little bit about that and why you’re passionate about it.
I have a year left to get my bachelors degree in design for sustainable development. I got in to it because I am interested and passionate about making a change and like I said design seemed like a good way for me to do that. Weather it be ecological or social issues. Sometimes I feel like we all need to do so much to keep this world from going under and I am doing nothing! Then I try to remind myself we all have different skills and ways of doing that work. I also have this belief that the world would be a happier place if we all worked with things we enjoy.

Tell us about your holistic approach to design and how you incorporate that into your work - and your life!
I look at pretty much all design as communication. And I think an important aspect of design that is sometimes forgotten is empathy. You have be able to feel the way the user of your artefact/service (or what ever may be) will feel. I think I am good at that in both work and life. Also as boring as it may sound I always try and approach a design project as organized as possible and make little notes about everything.. the same as in my life. My life is full of lists! I don't even look at them, I just need it written down. Thoughts, ideas, dreams, things to do. Most people in design make little sketches and that is their way of making notes. I do that as well but the written word is definitely my first choice.

What’s your favorite print?

I really like my ”you work days I work nights”. I love the simplicity, the deep color and even the name. Its a song title like most of my works. Its the only one of my prints I have in my home and also the background in my phone. Lol I should change it.

What inspires you?

I must say the internet is my number one inspiration. My process almost always starts with pinterest! It is such great platform for creativity and inspiration. Other than that; really loud music, passionate/talented people and political activism!