Here at Glommable, we’re always looking to bring our readers fresh and beautiful content—and if it’s book related, all the better! So when we stumbled across the work of Swedish graphic designer and artist Henrik Franklin, we couldn’t wait to share his stuff with you. In an installation last year for Gallery 1:10 in a Stockholm subway station, he created sculptures of miniature libraries and books that are as stunningly detailed as they are just plain cute. Read on for Henrik’s thoughts on inspiration, literature, and creativity.
Fictional literary volumes were the focus of your miniature exhibition as well as your earlier illustrations. Why books?
Drawing books is a fun way to work with image, text and graphic design all in the same work. It is also an opportunity to illustrate ideas and opinions that I myself personally may not stand for, then the book cover becomes a good middleman so to speak. I imagine that there is a distance between me as the creator and what is said on the book jacket. I also think that you as a recipient reads in a fictional sender, and maybe even a potential target audience when looking at the covers.
In addition to books, I have also drawn stuff like t-shirts, packaging and other products where image and text can be included in similar ways. I’ve done this for a few years now through a project I call “Continuous Catalogue.” I want these items to become like small stories where the “main characters” are unportrayed, out of the picture, so to speak. I have for some years experimented with different types of image and text narrative which involve unportrayed characters as a way to avoid having what is said to be influenced by beliefs about age, gender and such things. Which easily becomes part of the reading of depicted characters.
How does miniature art differ from more traditionally sized art?
I have previously made a similar installation in the scale of 1 to 1, which did not attract the same attention as the collaboration with Gallery 1:10 did. So there seems to be something with the miniature format that attracts interest. Maybe because it shows the craft behind the work in an obvious way, or maybe it becomes more evident that the depicted object is an abstracted representation? Sculptures and installations that depict very out-sized items seem to fascinate people in the same way.
Where do the titles for the books come from?
Most often they come from vagaries that I write down in my cell phone. I then go through these notes and make a selection from which I start thinking about the images. Sometimes the images come first though, and sometimes I come up with the image and title simultaneously.
What are you inspired and influenced by?
I mainly get inspired by other peoples work. Here’s a list of some of my sources of inspiration (both current and previous):
Text and images: Nina Hemmingsson, Åsa Grennvall, Nina Canell, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michael Haneke, Gunna Grähs, Gunnar Lundqvist, Linda Spåman, David Shrigley, Eva Lindström, Bendik Kaltenborn
Images: Milano Chow, Santtu Mustonen, Kyuhyung Cho, Karin Cyrén, George Grosz, Siri Ahmed Backström, Cynthia Daignault, Rui Tenreiro, Lilli Carré, Jesper Waldersten
Text: Ulf Karl Ove Nilsson, Kristina Lugn, Aase Berg, Linus Gårdfeldt, Martin Luuk, Ida Börjel, JohanJönson
Blogs: It’s nice that, Contemporary Art Daily, Manystuff
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Maybe to really consume current culture, preferably from multiple fields. I think it is a good way to develop your own work, and to orient yourself in your own time. I also think that it is easier to do interesting things if you take part of what is going on and what is available. And what has already been done. Collaborating with others can also be a good way to further develop your work. This installation is an example of how this previously drawn project of mine became something else through the invitation from Anna Lidberg and Gallery 1: 10. For me, it became and a new way to work with the Continuous Catalogue project.