Luca Schenardi and Lina Mueller’s collaborative illustrations capture the spirit of the mountains
Together, Swiss illustrators Luca Schenardi and Lina Mueller have formed a delicate line-based style that is radically different to their individual practices – proof that collaboration and travel can inspire work you would never have come to alone.
- Laura Snoad
- 5 December 2019
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Sometimes the act of collaborating with another creative can help push your work into a new direction that you would have never stumbled upon alone. This has very much been the case with Swiss illustrators Luca Schenardi and Lina Mueller, whose delicate black and white line work is dramatically different from each of their solo practices, whether its Luca’s colourful digital work or Lina’s paintings. The pair began working together during a three-month journey through France and Spain, funded by winning a camping car grant, where they sketched in the woods, at the sea, on cliffs and on beaches and conducted drawing experiments while on the open road.
Once back at home the pair published their first collaborative book, Berri Jazz, which means New Jaxx in Basque. “The work we developed there is very different from our commercial illustration,” says Luca. “It tells stories of time, patience and drifting far away. Things you often miss working on illustrations in the studio, with pressure on your back, time limits and stress.”
It was the start of a very fruitful collaboration that has led the pair on many illustration-fuelled road trips. “Most of our black and white collaborations are deeply inspired by more or less wild nature, its enormous spectrum of species, the shape of clouds, rocks, trees and so on,” says Lina. “We love spending time out there, hiking, observing wildlife, picking mushrooms and just enjoying the mood. There are so many types of beautiful places all over the world.”
GalleryLuca Schenardi and Lina Mueller: Storm from Rio
In 2016 and again in 2018, the duo captured the endless taiga (or boreal forest) and tundra of Scandinavia, leading to the publication Solvik which was later completed in an alpine cabin owned by Luca’s family. “The surroundings of the alpine cabin joined the Scandinavian memories,” says Luca. “Solvik became more and more a trip through different realities, captured by hundreds of black pen lines and even more dots. The pair’s The Storm from Rio, a story about catastrophes in the mountains, was also made in the cabin but cities are also important to the duo in terms of inspiration. Their series Bob Secret was produced during a four-month stint in New York, for example. “We regularly doubt whether we want to live in the city or far out there in the mountains,” says Luca. “Luckily, in Switzerland, everything is quite close together.”
The start of most of their projects is in choosing where it will take place, whether in the mountain cabin in the alps or at an international residency that will inspire them in a new and different way. “As long as one has enough time and a small table to work, one can start,” says Lina. “It is all quite spontaneous.” All of their black and white drawings are original works on paper, with Luca mostly using ink with a fountain pen and Lina felt pens with a high level of pigment. “Ideas occur during the process of drawing or while watching stones, pieces of woods or mushrooms,” says Luca. “Each of us is completely free in continuing the other one’s drawing. But sometimes, before putting the next line or dot we talk about it.”
Since creating Solvik Luca and Lina have been working on separate projects, such as Luca’s t-shirts for the band Tame Impala and a record cover for NYC-based label Patience, but next summer they plan to return to Sweden for more collaborative adventures. Luca adds, “We don’t have any concrete plans, but this is clear: we will draw and breathe the air of wilderness again.”