By interweaving fragments of Victorian engravings with contemporary illustration and colouring, Kristjana S Williams creates magical landscapes filled with impossible, exotic creatures.
Born in Iceland, and a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, Kristjana’s award-winning illustration work has gained widespread critical acclaim in the realms of fashion, homewares and art prints.
Kristjana S Williams studied graphic design and illustration at Central St Martins and quickly gained critical acclaim as Creative Director of Beyond the Valley for 8 years.
Williams’ work has become well known throughout the industry, 2013 saw the studio Highly Commended for ‘Best Use of Colour’ at the Dulux Colour Awards. In 2014 Kristjana has already won a D&AD award, a New York Festivals Grand Prix & First Prize and lastly shortlisted for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
Kristjana’s recent work with The Partners on London’s Connaught Hotel’s brand identity won an In Book award and was nominated for a Yellow Pencil at this years D&AD Professional Awards. The same project also won the Grand Prize Award at the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards.
Her first book for children and families publishes this September: The Wonder Garden, from Wide Eyed Editions. It celebrates the diversity of the natural world through an exploration of five habitats, collected in this virtual ‘garden’: The Amazon, The Great Barrier Reef, The Chihuahuan Desert, the Himalayas and the Black Forest. Published in a large, oversized format with text by natural history expert Jenny Broom, readers the chance to get up close to real animals that evolved to survive the harshest environments, outlive predators, or find a new mate.
Kristjana Williams talked to Eleni Zimaraki Tzortzi.
E.Z. You were born in Iceland; what are the images you always carry with you from your birthplace?
Black sandy beaches and the frozen sea.
E.Z. Your work is distinguished by its sheer elegance and beauty; what is the value of those qualities in today’s world, in our lives?
I think the world is so different now – and working with the old Victorian engravings to create collage art work is possibly a direct insight how we like to do things today – what I most appreciate about today is the shared knowledge and inclusivity for everyone to learn and apply your self with what ever you want to do – if its to shoot a film on your phone edit it and publish it all from your living room – I think there is great beauty in that.
E.Z. Over the last years you have been involved in various interesting projects; how would you define your artistic identity?
Interesting question – I am very driven by narrative as I think in a selfish way it pushes your boundaries and gives you creative content to play with so essentially I am a collage artist.
E.Z. What are your main influences in terms of form and content?
In form I think I am endlessly inspired by the landscape of London – its architecture museums music and energy.
E.Z. You have recently collaborated with Jenny Broom for the book The Wonder Garden…
She was amazing and her and Rachel where lovely to collaborate with as they are sharp cool and with a great eye for synergy
E.Z. What were the challenging and also the rewarding elements of The Wonder Garden?
It was such a huge epic project I do not thing I understood it to begin with – but with more of a overview now it feels more digestible – the most rewarding thing was to hold the hard book final in your hands
E.Z. Could you share you feelings and thoughts regarding The Wonder Garden’s reception by the public?
I am over whelmed and just so incredibly happy – I feel incredibly lucky and inspired but the positivity
E.Z. What is your most inspiring project so far?
The Shard, The Connaught hotel & Wondergarden.
E.Z. The future plans you would like to share with us?
God so many thing har har har – doing a incredibly exiting interactive project with the Shard with Caroline Sellar whom is a great inspiring woman, in the future I see large mobiles chandelier installations – further electronic applications and sounds.
E.Z. Your dream project is?
I would love to collaborate with someone like Norman Foster.
Kristjana S Williams, http://www.kristjanaswilliams.com