Esra Røise Interview

Keba: Age? Location?
Esra: 28, Pushing 29, living and working in Oslo, Norway.

K: Has art always played a major role in your life?
E: Definitely!  I know it sounds corny, but ever since I was just a little kid, playing around with my crayons, I knew it was something that I wanted to work with.  I’ve thought of drawing mainly as a hobby for many years though, and it wasn’t until just a couple of years back when I realized that I could actually make it my job.  Art in all its forms is so endlessly inspiring, be it music or graphic design. I feed off it.

K: Does music contribute to your creative process?
E: Absolutely. I am such a geek when it comes to music.  I love how it can set the tone for an entire piece of work; change it from what you thought it would be, and inspire you to make something totally different.  I always listen to music when I work.  I find it both relaxing and inspiring.  Gad, I sound like such a cheeseball here, but it’s true.

K:  What records have you been listening to lately?
E: Lately I just can’t seem to get enough of Bat for Lashes’ album Fur and Gold, and Cat Power’s Greatest Hits is so addictive as well.  I’m also rediscovering old favorites like Brian Eno and Todd Rungren.

K: What images inspire you?
E: Everything and nothing, really.  But mostly awkward images. Out of focus and blurry images. Bad cropping.  Ordinary pictures of ordinary people doing...well, ordinary stuff.  I’m really fascinated by the whole snapshot aesthetic, where nothing is planned, but I also love arranged photography and graphic design and old school oil paintings, which I consider pretty far away from my own style.

K: What mediums do you love to use?
E: I love old school pencil the most and watercolor.  I like painting too, but I have no patience for oil, sadly.

K: When you’re not drawing, what are you doing?
E: I read—a lot.—books and magazines and comics. And I listen to music, go to gigs, have drinks and silly dance with my hands over my head.  Watch movies, go to shows, or just hang out with my friends and my hub.

K: Have you been formally trained in art?
E: I’ve spent two years at the Einar Granum School of arts in Oslo, which is like a two year long “pre-school”, and I’m now working on a bachelor degree in visual arts at the academy of arts in Oslo.  So yeah, formally and classically trained.

K: What was your first big job revolving around art?
E: My first really big job was four years ago when I was selected to illustrate a children’s book by an independent publishing company here in Norway called Gan Aschehoug.  It was nerve-wrecking, and way much more of a job than I had imagined, but nothing beats the feeling of seeing your own drawings in a hard cover book. Fantastic.

K: Any advice for other artists?
E: Uhm, that’s a difficult one.  Just be true to yourself and keep doing your own thing and don’t care too much about what’s “hip” or not, I guess.  That’s what helped me anyways.  And read. And watch movies, and travel. That’s about it. haha.