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  • Eva LindströmIllustrator–Sweden

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With watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, Eva Lindström has created simple but enticing visual spaces in which to tell stories about connection: the forging of new friendships, the loss of old ones, and the fluid relations between people, animals, and nature. Lindström composes hybrid scenes and characters that are both familiar and unfamiliar, abstract in their flattened perspective and yet accented by recognizable details. In her world, translucent landscapes and floating objects without shadows add another interpretive dimension to the written words.

Lindström was born in 1952 in Västerås. There she studied for a year at the recently founded art school, in 1968, before moving to the academy in Stockholm (Konstfack), where she specialized in painting. Finding her creative niche took some time, but she had been inspired by the comics of Oskar "OA" Andersson and soon produced her own comics, enjoying the interplay between words and images. Her first book, Cat Hat, was published in 1988 and drew heavily on this influence, using strong colors and bold black outlines. Lindström's visual style would eventually change, becoming more free and painterly through her use of different materials.

Establishing a strong setting or environment where the story will take place is important for Lindström's process. It provides the foundation from which she begins to write and sketch. Like her prose, the rooms and landscapes she represents are often sparse, and it is this sense of space that invites readers to find a special spot for themselves on the page. This can be experienced, for example, in the opening scenes from Olli and Mo (2012), where Mo has decided to take Olli on a Sunday excursion. As they prepare to leave, an empty sofa set marks the living room, and again, two empty chairs are on the deck outside the house. Should we take a seat? Olli does not want to go out, and perhaps we do not either? Similarly, in The Monkey and I (2011), when "I" sits alone at the table after having made a special banana meal for his lost friend, the second plate faces us. Should we have taken Monkey's place?

In one way or another, there is always space for the reader. [End Page 63]



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