From the Norwegian mountains comes an illustrator that has chosen raw caricatures as her weapon of choice. With unassuming yet inimitable strokes, Marianne Engedal, also known as Skinkeape, does what she must.
All illustrations courtesy of Skinkeape
First off, who is Marianne, what does she do and what does skinkeape mean?
I’m a 31-year-old illustrator, chef and plant person from the Norwegian mountains. I have three cats, a bicycle, a coffee house, 78 plants and I currently work as a freelancer in Oslo.
The literal translation is ‘ham-monkey’ and it’s possible that some people think that it’s extremely odd that I’ve chosen this name for myself, but when I came across it, in 2007, I thought it was the funniest thing ever and I couldn’t stop saying it, until people eventually started calling me this. I still think it’s funny and plays the artist role to perfection, as it’s easy to remember, as well.
How did illustration emerge in your life?
I’ve always drawn, I always knew that drawing and art were my life and I always knew I’d become a serious artist and paint massive canvases and get into art school and start wearing bizarre clothes, but instead I chose to pursue Design and become an illustrator.
It was a coincidence, really, because I only applied because one of my friends was applying and I ended up doing it as well, because I didn’t know what I was going to do that year. I got in, she didn’t. She got into an arts course and became an artist and now owns a studio where she paints massive canvases and wears bizarre clothes.
“I’m one of those people who thinks that thinking is boring. I hate thinking about what I’m going to draw, I don’t like plans, at all.”
Your language and strokes are very specific, very raw, very it is what it is. How did you come to all of this?
I’m one of those people who thinks that thinking is boring. I hate thinking about what I’m going to draw, I don’t like plans, at all.
Usually, my ideas come to me when I’m sleeping or when I’m about to fall asleep. When I’m out of ideas, I like to start drawing without thinking about anything and let the drawing speak for itself.
I also believe that my drawings are that unassuming and raw because I get bored easily, so I stop drawing when I think they’re good enough. I like the simple things. That’s why I never had a goal for my identity or style, it just happens. I don’t want people to study my illustrations to understand them, I just want that they look at them and get their meaning on the spot and just move on.
“When I’m out of ideas, I like to start drawing without thinking about anything and let the drawing speak for itself.”
“I don’t want people to study my illustrations to understand them, I just want that they look at them and get their meaning on the spot and just move on.”
How would you describe your art and your process as a whole?
I think that the process is quite clear on some of the things I do — and that happens on purpose.
When I draw with pencil, I like to erase it as soon as I’m done, but not the whole thing, even if I like it or not, so I can just draw it again with a couple of different details so that people can see the old and the new on the same drawing. I don’t know why I started doing this, but I really enjoy it.
What do you think about the art scene in Norway today?
It seems like 60% of Norwegian are illustrators, artists or graphic designers. There’s so many amazing illustrators here! I think it’s increasingly become more popular to be an illustrator or artist here, just like the rest of the world.
Ever since times changed and people no longer need to have amazing drawing skills to be successful, there are people with great ideas who’re becoming illustrators.
The most important thing used to be a perfect drawing and talent, but today it doesn’t matter as much, which means there’s more competition.
“I believe my drawings are that unassuming and raw because I get bored easily, so I stop drawing when I think they’re good enough.”