Fangirls commence: I just interviewed Madelen Foss!
This was one of the friendliest interviews I’ve ever edited. I feel like I know this sweet little lady. Trying to describe her illustrations brings to mind sweet-sticky candy and the set of Saved by the Bell. Her style is very mid century retro with sassy, spacey components. I’m a little weirdo, and all that may not make sense. So, see for yourself…
Please tell us a little about yourself and your artistic background. Where are you from? Where are you now?
Hello! I’m Madelen Foss, Norwegian freelance illustrator and artist living in Oslo. I have a BA (hons) from Kingston University in London where I studied illustration for three years. I also studied art for two years at Strykejernet Art School in Oslo before I moved to London get my bachelor degree.
What’s your studio or work-space like?
I now finally have a studio which I share with my sister Natalie Foss at Blank Space in Oslo! It’s a small but very nice place, with a lovely atmosphere where you also can meet other creative people. We have big windows and lots of natural light, I’m kind of in love with it. I still haven’t had time to put any inspirational art on the walls yet, but we do have some plants!
What’s your creative process like? Like, are you more likely to create something while drunk or maybe right after you wake up?
I feel like a night person. I prefer creating art in the evening or at night, it’s when I get most of my ideas (especially when I have to get up really early the morning after).
I still haven’t tried making art while being drunk, I kind of like the thought of doing it, but I have a strong feeling it would end in disaster so I probably won’t do it! Haha
What inspired your totally awesome, totally funky and psychedelic color palette?
A lot of different things! I discovered Hattie Stewart’s art before I moved to London to study illustration at Kingston University, it was my first meeting with posca pens and I think this is how it really started. It was something I’d never seen before, so weird and so great. But I never really drew with posca pens until I was back in Oslo after finishing my bachelor degree. Almost three years ago now! I’m also a big Piet Parra fan, I’m in love with everything he creates. I think anything weird and colourful is inspiring. Things don’t always have to make sense in my opinion, at least not when you’re creating personal projects. And then there’s music! I’m a big 80’s music fan, so I think the colour palette has a bit of the 80’s in there somewhere too.
Was there a distinct moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Were you ever unsure?
Not really! I’ve always loved to draw, but I also really love to sing. So when I was in my teens I studied music for a while, and during that period I didn’t draw at all. I started drawing again when I was 20 or so, I think. My first meeting with the term ‘illustration’ was during my time at Strykejernet Art School in Oslo. I’d never heard of it before, but it sounded like something I’d love to do. And that’s when I decided to become an illustrator!
Life as an artist isn’t easy, so I guess there will always be ups and downs. But it’s important to keep going and do your thing and not forget why you started it in the first place.
What are your favorite art supplies? Are there any mediums that intimidate you?
I love posca pens! I also really love working with adobe illustrator, which is what I’ve been using most of the time lately. I guess I’m a bit scared of oil painting. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but I don’t think I know how to use it properly and I’m way too impatient.
Do you collect anything?
Not really! I love plants though, so maybe I’ll become a plant collector during this year. I’m trying to turn my studio into a jungle at the moment. I guess I need a few dinosaur plastic toys too to set the atmosphere. I think I’ve secretly always dreamt of being a dinosaur plastic toy collector to be honest.
And, lastly: What makes you happiest in life?
I feel like a cliché for writing this, but it’s true! Good friends, great music, colourful art and really nice weather. Oh, and finding the perfect avocado, it doesn’t happen too often (maybe I’m just a bad avocado hunter). Meeting a friendly dog can also definitely make my day!
Shop Madelen Foss‘ supernatural, super colorful drawings at Society6 & Etsy.
Shop apparel at Print All Over Me Online.
And Stalk her progress on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook.