In a recent call for ‘featured artists’, one artist who responded stood out immediately. Sandra Hultsved, a self taught illustrator, with a unique and dark style that I found appealing. Her work has a gothic theme running throughout, which could be bleak, but isn’t, as the drawings are skillfully executed, and whilst dark, retain a certain whimsical quality. Some of her drawings were reminiscent to me of the original illustrations featured in the works by Edgar Allan Poe. One drawing in particular, called ‘The Bride’, bought to mind an opera by Donizetti called, ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ based on the book by Sir Walter Scott. Needless to say, her drawings have that kind of evocative feel, which is a unique gift, as it is not often for me, when viewing an illustration, that it engenders an immediate literacy association.
I asked her to tell us a bit about herself.
My name is Sandra Hultsved and I am a self-taught artist & illustrator, based in Stockholm, Sweden. I create art from my emotions, and depict stories about dark romance, melancholy and unfortunate events.
I draw my artworks mainly with graphite pencils and ink, with great inspiration from nature – particularly the forests of Wermland, where I grew up. I also have a deep fascination for roses, which has become like a symbol for myself in my art. The 19th century aesthetics, as well as classic fairy tales and its illustrations is also a great inspiration.
What others may see as dark things, I often find beautiful, and I like the contrast between darkness and light. The real dark place for me is the reality, there’s too much crap in this world and sometimes I can’t take no more. Therefor I often flee into my own fairytale world and to my art, then I can endure a little bit longer. Art has always been my form of therapy and the only true way for me to express my inner feelings. Sometimes I also write short stories or poems to my artworks, as they come to my mind.
Like most artists I have always liked creating things ever since I was a child. During my teenage-years I started drawing portraits and quickly developed my technique for photo-realism. Some years later though, in around 2009 I started to feel trapped in the eye candyland of photo-realism, I wanted to get back to my roots and focus on my own ideas, that had suffered in the the popularity of my realistic celebrity portraits. So I started searching for my inner voice and tried many different things and mediums. Now I feel like I have found some part of what I searched for – I fell in love with ink and started to find my own expression. But I know that I will always keep developing my art and try new things. My art keeps me alive.