Monday, September 8, 2008

Katrin Schwulst ... Dresden, Germany

Artist: Katrin Schwulst
Business: seasprayblue
Web sites:,, seasprayblue.dawanda.deLocation: Dresden, Germany

What do you create?
I create Illustrations and offer them as prints, cards and compiled into a calendar at the end of the year.

Where and when do you do your creative work?
Whenever I have a new image in mind and have some time, I go to my couch. I turn on the TV and look for some useless TV-shows. This is the best position and the best surrounding for me to concentrate on my drawings.

Do you have another "day job"?
I work in an architectural office and am busy with drawing construction plans and doing calculations all day. It sounds boring but for me, not at all. When I was in school I was addicted to math. Also I’ve always dreamed of designing a tiny house for me and my family some day.

Where and what did you study?
I’m not an architect, although I really would like to be one. I studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Dresden with a focus on environmental planning and sustainable infrastucture. I know it sounds naive, but I always wanted to make the world little nicer and healthier to live in.

Where do you find inspiration?
Most of my inspirations come from listening to music or happen in the very moment when I close my eyes before falling asleep. The most impressive pictures I keep in mind until I wake up. I also find new images while going for a walk or when I’m on the train.

What motivates you?
As an artist I find it very motivating to finish a new illustration and find a great title for it. Receiving positive feedback from others is very motivating too.

When did you start doing this?
I created my first image in august 2007. By September I found myself lying on the couch each evening creating a new illustration.

Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I remember one picture I made in kindergarten. Each kid had to paint a tree. I drew a birch tree that really caught the eye of my teacher. She was so impressed that two of the branches crossed each other – so she really celebrated it. I didn’t tell her that this only happened because my brush slipped.

When and why did you decide to start your own business?
In summer 2007 I had a lot of time together with my 8-month-old son. So I borrowed some magazines from the local library. I skimmed through the pages and found in one edition of “PAGE” a story about the ‘Seven Web Wonders'. Number three on that list was Etsy. I was so impressed by this platform where everybody can offer his own handmade products. I got so excited and decided that I wanted to be part of this community. In July 2008 I registered to sell on both Etsy and Dawanda (the European version). It’s strange, but after that I never heard or read anything about Etsy or Dawanda in the press again. I guess that is was just a fantastic coincidence.

How did you choose the name for your business?
The name ‘seasprayblue’ was chosen long before I started my art business. In 2000 I had a crush on a boy who was studying in the same class that I was. Part of my strategy of getting to know him was writing him an email. Of course, I needed a very special and well chosen new email address to write him this note. So I rememberd a few words from the song that we had to dance to in our modern dance course. They came from the song “Ode to the Sea” written by Pablo Neruda: ...says yes – in blue – in sea spray – raging... The name stuck with me through the years.

A book you love:
Actually I don’t read that many books. Sometimes it takes ages just to finish one. But I love murder mysteries – especially from the Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason. Some years ago I read The Catcher in the Rye from Salinger, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol – from A to B and back again from Warhol himself and The Hotel New Hampshire from John Irving and loved them all.

What is the most interesting thing about you?
I speak Swedish.

What achievement are you most proud of?
There isn’t just one thing. I am proud of my University degree, my little son and the fact that I haven’t drawn a lot in the past but am now getting such huge amounts of positive feedback.

What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Everyone has potential to create something special. Before you start find out what it is and then try, try, try! You will get better at it with time. Also, when you’re going through a dry spell, you should look back on your achievements and develop fresh, new ideas.

What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Writing messages for my illustrations. I love to make people laugh, smile, dream and think about my images.

What do you love to do in your free time?
I like drawing, meeting good friends for ice cream, listening to music, biking, laughing with my son, watching movies, going out to dance, reading. The last two things I haven’t done for ages.

What are you working on right now?
Another artist interview for Dawanda (I hope that I will finish that one faster). I’m designing my own web site, and fortunately I have a little helper for that. I’m also developing ideas for Christmas illustrations and creating a cover image for the legendary Moleskine books. I collaborate with Modofly who sell these designed Moleskine books on Etsy. I also was asked by an indie band from California if I could design the cover of their next album. I wish that my days were two hours longer than everyone else’s days; that would be great. Could someone please arrange that for me?

What do you hope to achieve next?
I would like to attend a workshop in screen printing and doing something in that field too. And as a mother I think about creating a small zine for kids, which I could offer in several languages.