ARTIST INTERVIEW SERIES - WHATWEDO March 20 2016 2 Comments
Faunascapes is the creation of Hanne Scheel Mikkelsen & Tobias Scheel Mikkelsen. Since 2008 they have worked together under the name Whatwedo across different media and disciplines.
Hanne holds a bachelor degree from The Royal Danish Academy of Architecture. Tobias has worked freelance as a commercial illustrator since 2001. He holds a bachelor degree in graphic communication from The Graphic Arts Institute of Denmark. Together they form a strong team under the banner Whatwedo.
In 2013, Paper Empire Aust. approached the couple as their first international artists to represent & manufacture. A wonderful collaboration was formed where all faunascapes products are produced in Australia and a series of new products have been developed exclusively for the Australian market, including greeting cards & removable wall decals launching in April 2016!
Tell us about an average day / What is the most exciting part of creating art?
Well - there’s a lot of contrast from day to day. Our work tasks range from seeking inspiration over freelance design assignments to promotion of our art prints and administrational work. It takes a whole different mindset when designing than when doing promotional work. So the favourite among these days are the ones where we actually scheduled 3 hours in the morning for brainstorming ideas and sipping coffee - and these 3 hours somehow always turns into the whole day - and at the end of the day we realize that we didn’t even finish half of the work we planned for that day!
As we are husband and wife we spend almost all day together - at home and at work. So the boundaries between work and home are non-existent. We like to discuss ideas all day - also at the dinner table.
But at the same time we are glad that we have a studio space in central Copenhagen. In theory we could work on our freelance assignments from a desk at home but the studio space helps us to get out the door once in a while! - and as it is customary here in Copenhagen we ride our bikes to work - about 2 km back and forth.
Is it difficult to run a creative business. Any advice?
When asking creatives whether or not they have a hard time running a business we think the answer will always be: YES! It’s always a balancing act between creative ambitions and making a living - and it’s even harder when you’re also a bit of a perfectionist. At some point down the road you come to the conclusion that you have to cut a corner once in a while to keep the wheels turning - that’s hard to swallow - and even harder when you realise that cutting too many corners also closes some doors - so as we said: a balancing act between creative ambitions and making a living.
Hanne & Tobias have a shared studio in Copenhagen with the On Purpose design collective
How long have you been working as an artist- what changes have you noticed in that time - technology; design trends; customer expectations;
Tobias has been freelancing as an illustrator since 2001 and started working with ink and water-color - but for the main part of his career he’s been working with a more simple computerized style in Adobe illustrator because of simpler workflows. Now the tactility of ink and water color are often simulated on the computer. Our art print range The Faunascapes could never have been created without a computer - though inspiration comes from old analog double-exposure techniques developed by early photographers. We embrace the new technological workflow and love the opportunities created by technology. - both creatively and promotional.
Do you have a favourite piece of art?
At the moment it’s “Cactus composition #01” by Mai Aabenhus aka Sacre Botanica - which we also interviewed for our book Danish Art Prints. She really captures the current design trend of nature/flowers in the most beautiful way - and it really fits our current living room decor.