The graphic designer and illustrator Emilie Mottet is mainly recognised by her explosive visuals of muscly women, humoristic characters and psychedelic patterns in blazing neon colours. With a bachelor in visual communication from Swinburne University, Sydney and an MFA in Storytelling (Visual Communication) from Konstfack, Stockholm, Emilie Mottet has already shown her work for several years with great success.
Her current installation at Tranan Bar is no exception. The all-encompassing and utterly exhilarating Bad girls do it well at Tranan is set to stay up for six months, and I spoke with Emilie about the installation but also about other projects in which she is involved.
Tell me about Bad Girls do it Well
– For the Tranan installation, I was inspired by songs by female musicians such as M.I.A., Grace Jones, Joan Jett, Bikini Kill, Robyn, Tirzah and Missy Elliot and I have covered the walls with patterns and typography. The patterns are quite playful and humoristic while the texts that I’ve chosen to work with, I believe express a kind of female rebellion and toughness that is about women doing what they want to do.
I used markers to draw the patterns straight onto the wall, with multiple motifs on top of each other. We also installed RGB LED lights in the space and when they fade in different colors, different motives on the wall become visible. It’s been a fun technique to work with especially for me since I like working with animation.
What would you say was your greatest challenge with Bad Girls do it Well?
– This is the first project where I’ve worked with a space as a starting point and also the first project where I’ve worked with light. It was a challenge to choose colors for the patterns and the text and I did a lot of tests but you kind of had to see it on the wall in the right size to fully grasp how it looked. It is also the first semi-permanent public piece I’ve done and I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could use this opportunity to express something that would feel important and valuable to me and other people.
Your visuals are super colourful and it’s always easy to identify your works as specifically yours. How did you arrive at that particular visual language?
– I’ve always been a fan of strong color combinations. I can’t really remember when I did something in black and white and I am constantly moving between different drawing techniques, using markers or pens by hand or drawing with a wacom pen straight into the computer. I find it very satisfactory to work in the computer where it’s possible to get very strong and solid colors, something that I find hard to achieve when coloring by hand.
– I think my visual style is the result of my experience as both graphic designer and illustrator, but I also think it has evolved and been shaped by the projects I’ve been working with lately.
I became increasingly interested in images of women, feminism and how I can contribute to a more equal society.
And your motifs, are often related to gender issues. What sparked your interest in those types of motifs?
– I think I have gradually developed a more analytical or reflective way of looking at pictures and what they communicate. With my master project, which was about how muscular women are portrayed in images, I became increasingly interested in images of women, feminism and how I can contribute to a more equal society.
– It sounds very big but I can accomplish some of it in the micro-world that is my images. With the murals at Tranan, I wanted to shine the light on female musicians and give them room in a public place
– Gender is an important subject and myths about femininity and masculinity fuel norms that make it difficult to move away from conservative ideas. With my work I can create images that generate other perspectives on what we usually see even though it obviously can’t be said for all my pictures. For me, it’s interesting to work within a challenging subject which continually forces me to evaluate and reflect on what my images represent and communicate.
Lastly, what are you working on at the moment?
– I spent the past two weeks participating in a graphic print workshop where I’ve tried out different techniques like photopolymer printing and letterpress printing. The workshop was part of a scholarship that I received earlier this year and the result of the workshop is on display at Grafikens Hus.
– I am also involved in a few collaborative projects, one research project that I am really excited about and a book project with artist Marcus Mårtenson.
Photo by: Johanna Åkerberg Kassel