Emilie Grubert

Posted by Fabio 28 January 2010

Meticulous positioned patterns of vibrant colours, graphic and sleek pattern cutting topped off with gorgeous knitwear was womenswear designer Emilie Grubert’s graduation collection Rainbow Safari S/S 09 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2008.
Grubert has just recently positioned herself on the world wide web, so I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you all to her work and thoughts. The wonderful thing about her website is that she gives one a rare insight into the work behind a collection by showcasing her sketchbooks. Even not being a fashionista one will find Grubert’s illustrations and layout very interesting and inspiring to look at.

Where do you live?
I live at Nørrebro, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Does your surroundings influence your type of work?
Well… a few years back I would’ve said that my surroundings influenced my work, but not the type of work I was doing seeing I was focused mainly on fashion, but now my surroundings definitely influence the type of work I do more than ever. First of all I am working on two site specific installations, exploring the clash of manmade structures in nature, while at the same time speculating about the fact that even what we call nature in Denmark and most of the western world is so controlled by man, so in a way it’s sort of a funny self-contradiction. Moving back to my native country after 6 years in London has of cause made me look at the country I have returned to with new eyes…its good but also chocking. After a few days living in Nørrebro I walked the streets and thought: if this is one of the places in Denmark that contain the most diverse group of different nationalities, how come you can’t see it on street scene? After researching the lack of ethnic culture as in art, street art, design or any sort of foot print that show that this is a place where people from all over the world live, I got in contact with a Pakistani designer living and working in Denmark. We found out that we share many of the same ideas and we are now in the middle of preparing a project that can help these things on to a smoother surface, cause I am in no doubt that there is a lot of fantastic unused resources out there, that are just waiting to be found and pushed forward into the light. People with a different aesthetic than the one we are used to see in for example Denmark. This project is not political nor has anything to do with integration. It’s a curiosity for different cultures and a want to meet people from all over the world and be a link between them, but first of all be involved in some kick ass art and design projects that the world has never seen alike before!!

How would you describe your work in 3 words?
Serious funny shapes

What general emotions do you call on when you create your work?
The main thing for me is fun. If I’m having fun I get lots of ideas and I am such a simple person that as long its fun I can work for weeks without an end. Not said that I drop out if it’s getting difficult, because it’s also fun to struggle as long as you believe in your idea. I feel alive when I’m pushing myself at 5 in the morning, struggling with a solution, totally high on coffee and with a feeling that my body has given everything it can offer hours earlier, but the energy the good idea gives, is fuel enough for my brain to take the decision to continue, not my body, and my brain says: You go girl!

What do you do to switch off?
I rarely switch off… my work is my life and it gives me energy, but to clear my head I go for a swim or a fast bike ride through the forest.

Who would your ultimate collaboration be with, from any field you choose, and why?
There is no doubt, if I could pick on all shelves, I would collaborate with the Canadian musician Chilly Gonzales. He is a massive inspiration to me. He has such an extremely casual and at the same time 110% professional approach to his work. What comes from his hands is in my opinion very interesting and fresh. He makes it look so easy, actually I have a feeling that it is easy for him. I think of his work as a work in progress which I find really interesting, it is sketches and notes and then here and there a complete master piece appears, but its all with the same energy and vibrant touch of life.

Tell us something no-one else knows about you?
Well there is probably a good reason why people are not ought to know that thing if I keep it a secret..

What did you struggle with the most when you were starting up?
Priorities. When I look back I can see that my focus on my work when I was younger was so strong that I hardly made space for anything else. I worked and worked and worked and produced a ridiculously large body of work. Suddenly I realized that my large group of friends had been reduced to a few very stubborn friends (whom I owe a lot to) my love life was cracking and my work was getting more and more empty, or at least very self orientated…It was a very tough realizing how selfish I had been and that the only looser was myself. I learned a lot from those years, about my work, cause that was all I spent my time doing, but I now know more about balance and how exchange of energies is the main drive for me.

Do you think it’s possible to retain your artistic integrity and be commercially successful?
First of all one has to ask oneself: what is artistic integrity… is it forgetting your roots? Is it doing some work that you wouldn’t have done if you weren’t asked to do it? I.e. work you do to get cash… I think it’s really easy to fall into a trap labelled: A REAL artist has to suffer, be misunderstood for years and then maybe he will be praised and sold in expensive galleries, but when he then buys a Cadillac he has turned into a capitalist.. I think it is a matter of how you look at you life and the way the world works. In my opinion, you can be clever about it and think two steps ahead. Package you work so people understand it and put work into finding your target group. But also to realize that there are things that you produce that absolutely no one else think is cool, those you can hang on your wall and then move on. OR you can say, I am a proud artist and will only produce the work I have always produced and if no one buys it, it’s because they don’t understand my geniality, so therefore I have a part time shit job, and worry about next month’s rent every month the rest of my life. And in comment to that.. is it not actually a even bigger sell-out on a much higher level to allow yourself to live like that- than to rethink you practice and get it up to scratch? I think it is extremely backwards not to embrace the culture we live in, seeing the possibilities it brings instead of the opposite and being stubborn.
Some people are lucky enough to be making work that commercial companies want to be linked together with… they want a piece of the cool cake. These artists and designers get to do what they want. Some people are not as lucky/cool (you pick), and they are the ones that need to realize a thing or two, its hard work, it’s a hard realization, but if you work hard and focused it’s very unlikely that you won’t succeed in one or the other way.

Do you ever get stuck for inspiration?
Well… I never get stuck for inspiration, the world serves it for you on a silver plate everywhere you look, but I definitely get stuck for how to use the inspiration in an interesting way. When this happens I often start working on an idea, even though I know that it probably won’t get finished because its shit, but the fact that I’m working always gets my brain rolling and new and much better ideas and solutions come up.

What are some of your goals for 2010?
Can you talk about any current or future projects that you are particularly excited about.

My main goal for 2010 is to settle into Copenhagen, meet lots of interesting people, travel and produce tons of good work. The project I am most excited about is the project I am doing together with the Pakistani designer at the moment. That could potentially be really grand and exciting.

What is your favourite time of the day?
I love mornings, to wake up to a new day is exciting, I think it is such a privileged to be given a fresh start every 24 hour. I love my morning shower, to put on some music, have my morning coffee and get going.