Inge Jacobsen: Hijacking the image
Artist Inge Jacobsen combines found advertising imagery and thread to ‘hijack’ the image and its intended message. Originally from Galway, Inge’s family moved to Denmark when she was a child. She returned to the British Isles to study Photography at Kingston University, London and has worked as a professional artist since her graduation in 2011.
Now based in Sussex, Inge has had several high profile commissions including work for renowned luxury brand Georg Jensen and more recently American Express.
In this interview with Inge she tells us why her work isn’t decorative and reflects on the importance of staying focused and being patient.
Experiences and influences
TextileArtist.org: What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
Inge Jacoben: My Danish Grandmother was very good at knitting and cross-stitching and taught me. Her sisters, who I never had the opportunity to meet, created some very intricate and beautiful cross-stitched piece that would later influence my work.
I was always interested in drawing and painting as a child but when my family and I moved from Ireland to Denmark I became much more focused on it. It was a way of working through the language barrier and a good way to make friends.
I was able to draw from these experiences and influences once I started university in the UK where concepts meant a lot more than aesthetics.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
You use a traditional technique to create very contemporary work. How did you come to use stitch in your photography work and why?
I started using it when I was in my first year at university. Before then I was very much a painter but at university I came across, and shared a studio, with some amazing painters and knew I didn’t want to be in competition with them. Also, university taught me that ideas were just as valuable as skill and thread was the best way for me to explore my ideas.
The inspiration came from a cross-stitch piece a friend had made me many years ago when I was at school.
It is a medium that still excites me now.
Stay focused and be patient
Tell us a bit about the environment you like to work in.
I like to work in my home. It’s the sort of work that traditionally was done in the home and that is something I like. I usually work with music or in silence. It is important to stay focused and patient with embroidery. It is not something that is created in a fast paced frenzy. Also, because I work on paper it is too delicate for it to be rushed.
Tell us a bit about a commission you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of.
I have done two major commissions that I am very proud of. In 2011/2012 I worked with the Danish brand Georg Jensen and re-energised their 2012 campaign. I created 4 relatively small pieces for their display and 4 very large pieces for their windows. It was non-stop cross-stitching for 3 months.
I was lucky enough to have the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace help me for 2 weeks. I asked if their degree students would be interested in helping and we worked together to finish it.
Recently I did a commission for American Express. I created my own interpretations of three of their cards; the Green, Gold and Platinum card. These were used on their social media platforms.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Get your work out there as much as possible. Don’t be shy and believe in your work and your talent. I’m always surprised when I speak to artists that are trying to get noticed but don’t have a website – it is so important to make it as easy as possible for the right people to see your work.
Apply for group shows and competitions and utilise the internet as much as you can. Post your work/links to your work on communities that you think might be interested and don’t be afraid to email galleries/magazines and make some noise about yourself and your work. The worst thing that can happen is that they say “No”, then move on to the next.
The right context
What is your favourite tool, book and resource to do with your work as an artist?
Magazines are my favourite resource. I love flicking through magazines looking for an image to jump out at me that makes me want to rework it in some way.
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
I’ve been lucky in that I have been approached by some fantastic people and galleries who have offered to show my work. I have turned shows down once or twice just because I didn’t feel that being part of those shows who send that right message of what my work is about. It’s important for me to have my work seen in the right context otherwise it can be mistaken for something decorative. There isn’t anything wrong with decorative art or craft but it’s not what my work is about and because embroidery is traditionally viewed as a hobbyist craft, it is important for me that my work isn’t labelled as such.
Where can readers see your work this year?
I just finished a group show in Victoria, Australia at the Town Hall Gallery in Hawthorn. It was one of their most successful exhibitions and was really well received – I am very proud to have been a part of it.
For more information visit: http://www.ingejacobsen.com
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