INTERVIEW WITH KLARA LILJA
What is creativity to you?
Both my mother and father have always encouraged any kind of creativity. Whether it was drawing, painting, embroidery, remembering dreams, making pearl necklaces, or picking flowers. They also supplied me with paints, my first camera and so forth. When people say they ”want to be creative” I don’t understand because I had never thought of it as a choice. To me, it was a core part of my personality. I know now that it's because I was privileged enough to be raised by two inventive and encouraging parents.
How do you manage to stay both personal and original in your creative endeavors?
When attending the Royal Danish Academy of Art, I discovered the great pool of fantasy memories from my childhood and my ability to create compelling narratives. I used all 6 years at the academy to perfect my technical skills, which were really awful in the beginning.
When all this came together, it felt like I found an electrical socket, where I could plug my brain in, and ideas poured out. It never runs dry. Actually, I think the voltage is a bit too high because I have more ideas than I could ever hope to materialize in the real world. Other than art, I also want to draw, write fanfiction, make jewelry, write a book about how to use social media, but I have to stay focused on the big dream, which is to become an internationally renowned artist.
Do you create hidden meaning in your works?
I create art entirely for my own taste. I love fantasy, both when it comes to books, comics, video games, and movies. My art practice is about fantasy and worldbuilding my own universe. Therefore I embed a lot of hidden clues to old classics, game mechanics, or specific universes. For example: healing items are a standard in fantasy videogames, and I've made my own versions in clay, decorated in my style. Most people will only see the beautiful flask or enjoy the technique, and that's fine. But a few will notice the title,”HP Bottle”, and relate it to a video game (HP stands for Healing Points). That's the kind of hidden stuff I incorporate into my work.
Who do you define as visionary?
It's gonna sound like you told me to say this, but in all sincerity: Emilie Helmstedt.
I remember seeing her early stuff at Holly Golightly. Then came the Oceanic collection, and it drowned all my dreams of ever trying to make clothes. It was that good. I knew I would never be able make clothing like she do. I never seriously considered becoming a designer, but that collection made me respect fashion design more because it was fantastic and skilled. Emilie is visionary because she creates clothes that I dream of wearing but don't have the imagination to envision.
Have you ever doubted your talent? How did you work through it?
Yes, most of my adult life.
To be honest, I was always a very good student but had low self-esteem. What I have now came from many hours of work and cultivating my skills. I never had any immediate talent.
I don't want to pass out advice because people are different. Some should believe more in themselves. Some should doubt themselves more. Some should produce more. Some should stop producing so much and focus their attention.