Finding artwork that makes me smile isn’t rare, but finding an artist like 40 year old Norwegian, Berit Somme is like finding a buried treasure. Well, her work is not buried, it’s right out there on the internet and used by high profile clients, it’s just simply a treasure to find such a broad, colorful talent on a routine search for exciting new images to enjoy and discover artists to be inspired by.
Somme has done illustrations for many companies including Amoco, Orange Soda UK, British Petroleum, Blankpaper, and more. Her style is bold, fearless, creative and addictive. Once I started looking around on her site, I couldn’t stop until I had exhausted my poor mousing finger. I aspire to be as productively creative, if there is such a term. I mean, I want to be able to really put as many ideas out onto paper, canvas, into reality as possible and explore any style or technique that I come across. I see in Somme’s work an almost childlike adventuresome charisma combined with a sense of humor and amazing technical skill. The execution of so many different approaches to color and design can sometimes become the proverbial “rut” that artists can fall into. Picking a look, a signature visual style that stamps their name all over their work even without an actual signature.
Berit, to me, is a pirate of sorts, forging her own individual style by exploring the world, human nature, art, and her own free spirit. I should not speak as though I know her, I do not. I have only had the pleasure of her generously participating in my Featured Artist interview. But, after reading her website I got the feeling she is not only a full time mother and wife, but creativity is in her blood and part of her lifestyle. I respect passion for ones work and if I may say so, passion is seeping from the images she has created. Illustration is overlooked by some of the more elite art snobs of the world…but we all know that the invention of an idea, the mental, emotional and physical investment of any creative venture is equally as important whether it be someone formulated landscape or projects like the ones you see in this article. Brilliant effort and devotion to design and personality is one way I can think of describing the body of work by Somme I have seen. She has tapped into a bright world of interesting characters, wonderful shapes, lines and compositions. It’s a gift to those of us who fall in love with every pencil/brush stroke (even every mouse movement for those computer generated creations) and concept.
I’m very grateful to Berit for her kind acceptance of being a part of my site, and hope to see more of her work for a long long time. Read below for the interview.
Cid: Where do you live?
Berit: Norway, Stavanger
Cid: How old are you?
Cid: Do you have formal art training or education?
Berit: Yes, I have studied art and graphic design.
Cid: When you were growing up, did you feel that your creativity got special attention?
Berit: Yes, I had parents that was found of creating things. Think I was about 7-8 years old when I started to lend my mothers sewing machine and my fathers workshop.
Cid: Are Art and Design the way you make a living?
Berit: I don’t consider my work as Art, I’m more like a craftsman; the Design stuff is done by my husbond, Petter. Even though it’s not always easy, I do make a living out of my work.
Cid: Have you been a part of the “art scene” where you live? Do you attend gallery openings, check out the latest offerings of local talent, hang out where the creative community migrate to? How would you describe the art community where you live.
Berit: I’m afraid I’m a bit slack on that front; I hang out with friends, wheter they call them self local creatives or not, wrilly don’t matter. The art community where I live? On www.somme.no there is some sort of story, based on an e-mail my husband got from one of his cyberspace-friends in Hong Kong, I think that Flash-movie could give a clue about the art community where I live: http://www.somme.no/nyheter/illustrasjoner5/hola.html. We moved to Stavanger for about five years ago, from Bergen, in Bergen we used to visit galleries and exhibitions rather frequently.
Cid: I read on your site that you have children. How many kids do you have and how old are they? Do they show an interest in artistic ventures?
Berit: I have two children, both boys, seven and ten years old. The youngest show interests in drawing and painting, the oldest is more a literature-guy.
Cid: As an artist, do you feel people see you in any certain stereotypical way?
Berit: I think people often think stereotypical about a lot of things; who would have thought that the great writer Robert Musil originally was a engineer?
Cid: Do you feel there is a stigma or blessing attached to being an artist amongst the “normal” people of the world? Hahaha
Berit: I feel rather normal, however There is some sort of blessing with the fact that I don’t have a boss hanging over my shoulder, telling me how to do things.
Cid: Are you an adventurous artist, trying new tools, mediums, ideas to keep your passion for creating alive? Or, are you reserved, preferring to stick with what you know, what makes you feel comfortable and safe in your skill “zone”?
Berit: I like to try out new techniques. But of course I have my skill zone; illustrations, whether I make them this or that way, is not always so important. I must also make considerations about the commissions I get: for example If the illustrations are intended for use in a Flash-movie, I must, or the customer prefer, to get them delivered as vector drawings et cetera.
Cid: Are you interested in computers and the internet? If yes, how does the technological world come together with your creative thinking?
Berit: Can’t say I’m especially interested in computers and the internet; I have a rather pragmatic relationship to those phenomenon. Again it is my husbond that work with those tasks. He is rather handy, agree?
Cid: What plans do you have for the future? Any new mediums or areas of the artistic world that you would like to explore?
Berit: Hope to get more time to do paintings and illustrations for children’s books.
Thanks so much to Somme Berit for being a Featured Artist on Cidtalk.com! I’m hoping to find out more about Petter Somme (Berit’s Husband) in a future article.