“Being excited about my work is the most important thing about my work,” laughs the Sydney-based illustrator Micke Lindebergh. “It may sound simple but it’s true." In the last couple of months alone, Micke’s exhibited his first solo show in Asia, Flowerpot at Hong Kong’s Odd One Out gallery, and launched a new book all about what it means to be a fun guy.
But it wasn’t until he moved to Australia a few years after graduating from London’s Camberwell College of Arts that Micke decided to make a career from his illustration work. “When I arrived in Sydney, I had three months to kill before my working visa kicked in so I had lots of free time and I started to draw like crazy,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I found my way back to pen and paper and started having lots of new ideas. That was a big turning point for me and I decided to only make things that I love.” With a newly adopted spirit for creative freedom, great opportunities started to open up for the illustrator.
On the quest to make some new friends in Sydney, Micke stumbled across a Risograph print collective Pinch Press and hastily joined the force as a volunteer. He rapidly learnt about the technical printing process which would soon become a major component of the illustrator’s aesthetic. In his recent show Flowerpot, Micke exhibited a series of screen prints and drawings inspired by the tropical wildlife seen throughout Australia and Asia. An edition of 70 art books were screen printed by hand onto cotton paper with the help of Phemie, the gallery’s owner in Hong Kong.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a gardener and have a big yellow Volvo full of flowers,” says Micke. “I’m still working on that dream” he jokes, and he has somewhat fulfilled it. But instead of a big yellow Volvo, his flowers plaster the walls of the white gallery space and take the form of pop coloured screen prints, drawings and t-shirts.
Micke’s most recent project That’s a Fun Guy! started out as an exercise in composition. He tasked himself with filling an entire page with shapes and colours and after a few drafts, a face emerged. “I thought to myself, that’s a fun guy and so I drew another one who was also a fun guy. So then I drew 100 haha.” The phrase spouts from Micke’s friend and fellow Pinch Press associate Alisa, “whenever she sees a fun looking character that I’ve drawn she always says ‘that’s such a fun guy’.”
Collating the 100 drawings into a book as a way to keep them altogether, Micke hopes the fun guy phenomenon will continue into a font and a colouring book at some point in the future. “I just love how they all have completely different facial expressions, I actually named most of them too haha. Bandy Boumount and Reinhart Riviera are some of my favourites.” Primarily based on friends, himself and some lovers as well, That’s a Fun Guy! and Flowerpots are testament to Micke’s self-proclaimed obsessiveness to repeatedly draw certain subjects once he lands on something he likes.