Bendik Kaltenborn is a name many of you will recognise. Maybe from the regular praise we give him on this very website, maybe it’s the visual language he has applied to Todd Terje releases, or even work for commercial clients such as Aesop. The illustrator has been freelance for the past ten years, and while studying for a Phd at the National Academy of Arts in Oslo he has taken the chance to reflect. “I wanted to take the opportunity to look back and try to figure out what the heck I’ve actually been doing,” he tells It’s Nice That.
“I’m a chaotic and messy person without rituals, and I credit most of my work to pure gut feeling and impulse,” Bendik explains. “Still, I wanted to see if I could find any thread or pattern in my working process by gathering all my work and writing about it.” The illustrator compiled a lot — 368 pages worth — intermixed with a large selection of his work alongside “commentaries running through the book where I talk about processes, mistakes, joy, scandal and small anecdotes”. The result is a retrospective tome documenting his career titled Tenning, Form og Farge, which Google translate tells us is, Drawings, Shape and Colour.
The book has been designed together with Aslak Rønsen of design studio Yokoland, who has also conducted an interview with the illustrator. “It’s been crucial to have his great designer’s mind during this process; when we first collected all my work and just threw it initially into InDesign we suddenly sat with over 500 pages! Then the huge task of taking out stuff and sorting everything began, shaping it into a chronological order, dividing it into chapters with early posters, moving through my work with Todd Terje and sections of New Yorker illustrations and older works,” Bendik explains of the book’s content. “It also contains some step by step processes and sketches, in addition to the constant babbling.”
Alongside the book is an exhibition celebrating Bendik’s work at Grafill gallery, Oslo. Displaying a small section of the book’s contents, Bendik’s video for Todd Terje’s Alfonso Muskedunder with Espen Friberg alongside “our big pile of sketches for it”, and even “some old silly paintings that I just found by accident while putting the show together”.
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