It's been a long time coming but we finally bring you our long awaited interview with the very talented Rebekka Hannesdóttir! Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Rebekka's distinct style is heavily influenced by a healthy love of anime, comics and video games -- all great things from our point of view! Go on, take a look, and you'll see why we're such big fans.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a 24 year old illustrator attending Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, USA. I did attend art schools previously, but transferred to a more affordable school after two years. I love colorful things, cute things, happy things, etc.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Iceland and lived there until I was seven, which is when I moved to the United States with my family. We were first in Kansas, then Oklahoma, until finally ending up in Portland, Oregon. I've more or less lived here for about ten years with a few short interludes in Minnesota and Denmark, and consider Portland to be my hometown.
Is there a big creative scene or community where you live?
Portland is definitely an artsy city, there is a good variety of creative vibes in the different neighbourhoods here. Although Portland isn't known for its illustration scene, it's easy to come across good music, photography, craft and painting just by walking around town.
During the months where we have good weather, there is a gallery walk called First Thursday where new shows open and a few blocks in a neighbourhood called the Pearl close down for creative vendors to sell their work street-side. However, most of the art from the community that I see (and enjoy the most) are things like ink drawings on coffee shop walls and posters for local shows on telephone poles. You don't have to look very far to find creativity in cities.
When did you first get into drawing? Is it something you always wanted to do?
I am 100% that kind of artist that has been doodling since childhood, but I honestly didn't consider art to be a career path until my second year of high school. Up until that point, I had just been doing it for fun, drawing my favorite cartoon characters and making up my own stories.
When I learned about all the different art programs around the country, I started to rethink what I could do with my drawings, and when my fellow creative friends started working towards that path, it was settled for me. At this time I was also very involved in online drawing communities (oekaki boards), and I saw a lot of artists that I respected either going to art school or pursuing illustration as a career, which was a great influence on me.
You have a very distinct style, where do you get your inspiration from?
There is a heavy influence from cartoons, anime and video games in my work, but a lot of it also comes from the illustrated books I read as a kid, as well as from the work that I see my friends do. I'm gleefully aware of myself taking aspects of other people's styles outright and incorporating them into my own work. It's hard not to when you are constantly looking at art. It might sound cheesy, but I love being inspired!
I think I particularly enjoy it because it's something you can't force, and when it suddenly strikes you after a long time of feeling down or uninspired, it's such a positive jolt. The art I force myself to do with no inspiration is nowhere near as satisfying or fun to look at as the art I do when I'm looking at pictures that I love or watching shows and movies that boost my creativity.
Are there any particular artists you draw from?
I follow a variety of artists on tumblr. As a matter of fact, most of my inspiration these days are drawn from artists that post on tumblr, like Chika Sasaki. I also have some hella talented friends whose work I creep on and gain inspiration from, such as Perry Maple and Charlotte Jackson.
What kind ideas of projects are you currently working on?
I have both short term and long term projects that are ongoing. I really enjoy drawing pictures of fashion, whether it's current or past trends, and am currently creating pieces for an illustrated fashion book that I want to finish this year. I'm also planning a series of children's books that I hope to release digitally, and am looking into ways to make them interactive.
Long term, I have many, many stories that I am constantly fine-tuning that are a ways off from being released in any kind of form. Some of these ideas are over ten years old, and instead of thinking of them as projects, they have kind of become a part of my personal identity as an artist.
What do you enjoy doing when not creating art?
I've been watching way too many television shows lately. Even when I'm doing art, I will sometimes have my favorite shows playing in the background. I also spend a lot of time reading about things related to feminism and queer issues, which I am very passionate (and to some people's disdain, vocal) about.
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
There's nothing concrete that I am really working towards aside from completing my personal projects, both short and long term. My life has been enough of a roller coaster that I know to expect the unexpected. Even at this age, I feel like I am only just beginning to enter the art world properly, but I am an artist and plan on keeping it that way forever and ever. I can only hope that in 10 years time that I will still be doing something creative, whether it's related to illustration, animation, fashion, and so forth.
I couldn't live without… internet.
Right now I love listening to… instrumental trip-hop on Songza. I don't even fully understand what this genre is, but I dig it.
I'm most creative when I'm… surrounded by creative people and when the sun is shining (which isn't often enough in Portland).
The last book I read was… The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
My favourite meal is… anything seafood-related. Smoked salmon, unagi, shrimp tacos, and so on.
After a long hard days work I like to unwind by… getting coffee, or watching my favorite TV shows, or both!
I wish I could travel to… anywhere. Really, as long as I'm in good company and can navigate with the languages that I and my companions speak, I'd be up for it.