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20th July 2017

Zander K: Q&A with Jesper Waldersten

Collaboration is at the heart of De Bergenske’s creative approach. Take Zander K, the hotel chain’s latest project, as an example. Claesson Koivisto Rune has overseen its design, Henrik Nygren masterminded its graphic identity, and Jesper Waldersten was tasked with creating a series of bespoke artworks. The hotel is a hotbed for prolific creatives.
Jesper Waldersten started his career in the bright lights of advertising but realising that he was being sucked in by the financial rewards, and wanting to pursue his own creative projects, he decided to quit. It’s unlikely that he’s ever looked back. Today Jesper is known as one of Sweden’s most prominent illustrators and for years his illustrations have occupied the pages of daily Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Jesper has also published over a dozen books, directed a music video, and his work features in a impressive number of Swedish public collections.
For Zander K, Jesper created a series of artworks inspired by the rain. The artworks feature throughout the hotel, as well as on the sleeve of the hotel’s book.
With such an unconventional career trajectory, and an instantly likeable no-nonsense approach, we’re eager to quiz Jesper about his creative process…
Waldersten's drawing grace the walls of Zander K.
What appealed to you about the commission?

Henrik Nygren, who is the best graphic designer in Sweden, kindly asked me so I said yes. I take about one commission a year and this year it was Zander K.
The project brief was to create illustrations based on the theme of rain. Were you otherwise given carte blanche?

Both yes and no. Like, "do what you want. A LOT!"
Did you visit Zander K prior to producing the drawings? 

Me and my wife will go there this fall and see if my pictures were on target or not. I love rain, specially if I’m inside.
What was the process of creating the artworks?

When you get to do ”whatever you want,” you have to start everywhere. You have to be broad, stretch your creativity into every corner and then slowly drag it into the centre to find the core, the spine. My attack is ”how has nobody drawn rain before?” Then pull!
Your body of work is hugely diverse: you’ve created work for album covers, illustrations for newspapers and books. Is there any particular project that stands out as a highlight? 

I prefer the artworks which I don't quite know how I created them. The ones that I ask ‘where did they come from?’ It´s like for a split second touching another dimension. Another world. A space not yet intellectualised.
You’ve also worked as an art director, published several books and directed a music video. Why is it important for you to work across so many different disciplines? 

I don’t want to get bored. It’s like there’s a nine-year-old boy inside of me that needs to be fed with imagination, love, pain and failure. He is very curious and if I lose him I´m dead as an artist.
For five years you worked for one of Sweden’s leading ad firms but resigned to pursue your interest in illustration. Was this a difficult decision?

Not really, I was done. I figured that the money was trying to pull me in so I simply said: ‘I’m off, I need to be free.” I thought out a strategy and then I left. I started to draw a series of pictures that I called Drawings You Don´t Want Your Kids to Bring to Family Therapy. My wife, who was then my girlfriend, told me to go to Dagens Nyheter [a Swedish newspaper] with them so I did. I worked with them for more than ten years after that meeting.
Find out more about Bergen's most 'moderne hotell' via www.zanderk.no.
Contact:

Studio 3
De Beauvoir Block
92 De Beauvoir Road
N1 4EN

hello@zetteler.co.uk
+44 (0)20 3735 5855